For years, many professionals’ education began by keeping up the grades, going to a good school, getting that degree and finding a great job. Then, for many, learning stopped. The acceleration of the modern workplace makes education obsolete on a daily basis. Today’s degree is often obsolete before the ink is dry. This doesn’t put down the value of higher education, but the purpose of it is changing. One of the great benefits of higher education is that people learn how to learn.
Today’s active learners grow their knowledge exponentially. This is necessary because the average college graduate will change careers, not jobs, 4-6 times.
Accelerating change is raising the value of talent management and development. What does that mean for CEOs and Talent Executives?
It is extremely costly to hire individuals without active learning skills. With organizations that are not building active learning into their talent strategy, it is fairly common to lay-off obsolete workers. That rarely happens in cultures that hire and develop active learners.
In fact, when we examine employers that go through change with little turnover, we find cultures that promote active learning.
When we expand active learning to a country, the results can be spectacular. In Germany, robust apprenticeship programs have all but eliminated underemployment in manufacturing. The country promotes and subsidizes apprenticeships to keep employment high. Employers routinely look to training as a way to keep all line workers up-to-date and valuable. While many American companies bring in technology and show obsolete workers the door, German companies train line workers to become problem solvers and to become strategic managers.
Here are a few suggestions in launching an active learning program at your organization:
- Make active learning part of your hiring approach. Send a message to everyone that the company expects its talent to learn and grow. Don’t hire people who haven’t demonstrated the ability to apply learnings from one situation to the next.
- Start a book club focused on learning. Ask employees to nominate entries. Give participants gift certificates for books or online learning programs. When a book captures a big issue within your company and/or industry ask that everyone read the book and send in a review.
- Offer monthly innovation awards. Ask employees to bring an innovation they find online or in their community.
What is the personal payoff from active learning? It is growth. In fact, we no longer find security in our jobs, we find security in our ability to grow. That kind of outlook will make everyone’s life better, more interesting, and more exciting.
Brought to you by Jackson Lynch, President – 90 Consulting
P: (832) 930-7449 / E: jackson@90Consulting.com
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