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It’s tough staying relevant in today’s market. What goes for businesses also goes for employees. Skills and knowledge, you considered relevant, or maybe even ‘ahead of the pack’ 3-4 years ago can be utterly outdated tomorrow. It’s no wonder that companies have put emphasis on continuous learning as part of employee development trajectories. Even on an individual level, it seems that there some form of pressure to make sure that you keep learning. There has been an explosion of online resources such as free or pay-for online courses and degrees.
No one is really expecting his or her degree or craft to stay relevant for the rest of their lives. Unless you are a carpenter or plumber, chances are you will be forced to learn something new on regular intervals. Businesses are being taught this lesson sometimes in drastic ways. For example, see how Amazon has disrupted traditional stores and how ride-hailing apps have forced the taxi industry to evolve. It’s literally adapt or die as the motto for any industry. Even industries that traditionally seem to be immune to the test of time, such as the finance industry, are getting a run for their money from a new breed of so-called ‘fintech‘ companies. And as companies need to learn new things and be agile and creative, so do their employees.
That’s why you can no longer look at your employees as predictable input and output. Those direct instructions will result in linear production. As businesses demand their employees to be more engaged, committed, and creative in work, so does the power dynamic. As real conveyor belt work is disappearing through irrelevance or automation, the jobs that are left are for humans who create value with their hands and heads. The danger of this is that if your employees walk away from your business, your business effectively ceases to exist.
Therefore, businesses need to both keep their employees happy as motivated to push their boundaries and continuously learn. This has led to coaching becoming more part of business-as-usual as 180 degrees feedback. As businesses are focusing less on the contents to pass on to employees, they are now focusing on teaching skills to learn. Companies no longer tell their employees what they should know. Instead, they now ask their employees what they want to learn. Learning becomes a reward for the work and part of the rewards package.
This means that any business who has not thoroughly thought through their employee development plan should get into gear. The first part of getting good workers in is your payment and reward, the second part is offering plenty of opportunities for development. An excellent overarching employee development scheme supported by a robust performance management solution such as ELMO Software is key to provide your employees with the right infrastructure where they can thrive.
And although employees need to continuously learn and always be on the lookout for developments in their field, it does mean that they are now holding all the cards. Employers who don’t value their employees simply won’t survive.