Reflections on workplace learning

Office worker with their reflection in a screen

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Amid one of the greatest workforce transformations we’ve ever seen, we’re also seeing a dramatic shift from employers. Organizations are waking up to the needs of employees and making the necessary changes to provide for those needs. And the biggest need is workforce transformation rooted in learning.

Why? Employees don’t just want jobs, they want opportunities to continuously learn—and in the current hiring environment, workers can be selective. People want opportunities for growth, and they want to work for employers who are willing to make investments in their growth. Upskilling is not just about making sure people can simply do their jobs, but also investing in your team so you can retain talent.

At Emergn, we’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest companies to implement learning programs that enable teams to acquire new skills and capabilities without undermining performance. One of the most important qualities an employee brings is their capacity for continuous learning and improvement. I want to share five key considerations as you think about how to make learning part of your organization’s ethos:

  • Close the expectation gap. Employees are increasingly coming into roles with growth expectations and stagnation within an organization is a major red flag to workers hungry for new skills and new challenges. Smart leaders will take steps to understand and close the gap that exists between their current learning offerings and employee appetite.
  • Make learning part of employees’ work-based objectives. When learning is baked into what success looks like in any given role, the transition to becoming a true learning organization begins.
  • Ensure learning is personalized to individual roles with content that is highly tailored to the employee and their work. Learning often fails because the skills taught are rarely applied and soon forgotten. This level of customization ensures employees can quickly put what they learn to use in their daily work.
  • Allow opportunities for people to learn together through community-based learning so they can share challenges, ideas and opportunities.
  • Provide “just-in-time” learning that gives employees the chance to gain knowledge and skills exactly when they need them. Gone are the days of courses that lack flexibility in scheduling and pull employees away from their work. On-demand learning means work will not slow down or stop and workers have access to training when they need it most.

Employee expectations and learning best practices are constantly changing. That means we must learn to keep up or be stuck in the past. Leaders must create an environment in which learning new things is encouraged if they want to build their teams’ skillsets – and ultimately deliver better outcomes for their business. Amidst the ongoing skills gap and the Great Resignation, fostering employee growth is the only way organizations will have the talent they need to thrive. Successful leaders will invest in their employees’ capabilities and ensure skills stick with effective learning strategies.