Rethinking the purpose of learning – sustainable employability
Everyday, we help companies translate their general goals into behavioural actions. If a company needs to change to keep their customers, often it means the culture or behaviour of their employees needs to change to. It is a big task, but one that every company will face sooner or later; and considering the ever-faster changing work life it is probably sooner than later. In this article, we rethink the purpose of learning and how it applies today!
The new generation of employees ask for more responsibilities, more decision-making power within their own role. Even more so, they want to take the lead in shaping their own future. This phenomenon is encouraged by companies, because it helps them to be more flexible, more future-proof and more efficient. Personalised learning is particularly useful for both companies and employees to fit their needs and wishes.
Here, if you cannot be certain that you can work 50 years at the same company, it only means that you have not made sure to continue learning beyond your schooling years; or only learn when your boss says so. You need to be proactive and self-motivated in your pursuit of knowledge. This will not only help your employability and competitiveness, but also your personal development, social inclusion and self-sustainability.
Lifelong learning is different compared to the traditional way of learning, where knowledge and skills are acquired through a conscious process of studying in the classroom or online; it is something you do day-to-day as an integral part of your work, by learning from both online and offline resources and through contact with other people.
It’s about continuously acquiring small pieces of information or skills, often unconsciously, that over time build up into a large body of knowledge or experience. This means that you become proficient in your job and is knowledgeable about your industry or profession. It is your own responsibility to constantly challenge and improve yourself.
For companies and managers, this completely changes their Learning and Development (L&D) ideas. In the past, L&D goals were aimed at controlling and managing the learning and development activities of the employees. Today, it should aim to helping individuals take responsibility for themselves. They should not only log their learning activities themselves, but more importantly, they must do it for themselves.
Managers have a different role too. They have to focus in encouraging their people to become self-organised “learning workers”. It also means that managers need to understand that as their team learn from one another in the course of their daily work, it can provide a safe space for the sharing of knowledge and experiences which works best for themselves within their daily work environment.
All this helps employees and organisations to ensure that everyone enhances his or her sustainable employability. Both individuals and employers have the responsibility to make sure people will work in a fun and engaging yet healthy and safe way. For companies this means that if they want or have to change their business, they need to have a workforce that is capable of deciding for themselves what fun, engaging, healthy and safe means to them. They must ensure that employees have enough self-knowledge and are empowered to ask questions, and grab opportunities when they appear. This creates a flexible, motivated workforce that’s future-proof!
We hope that we have triggered some thoughts and gave you new insights into the purpose of learning. These ideas reflect our philosophy when it comes to work – we encourage managers and individuals to make sure they learn and develop themselves every day!