The latest report in FYA’S New Work Order research series predicts that we will spend 30% more time learning on the job and using that learning to apply new knowledge to our daily tasks. To succeed in this changing environment we will need to be ‘smart learners’, prepared to continually analyse and interpret new information, in particular with relation to technological development.
To help prepare the workplace, employers could consider what capabilities their workforce might need to meet the demands from customers or society in the future, and how these can be developed on the job.
Fortunately there are three simple things we can start doing today in our workplace to foster a smart learning environment:
- Staff engagement
- Peer-to-peer learning
- Lunchtime learning
FYA’s Deputy CEO, Alecia Rathbone, says FYA has developed a skills and capabilities framework to help support staff skill development and increase employee longevity and productivity.
“At FYA, we are working to shift our approach to a more agile structure where employees have the opportunity to continuously learn. Importantly, we have a workforce who are largely in early-career stage roles, which requires us to invest in their learning and development, and make sure that we are building the capabilities that we need for the organisation.”
The skills and capabilities framework provides a way for employers to promote self-assessment and direction in their workers’ ongoing learning. It gives employees the opportunity to reflect on what they do, what skills they require, and influence their development over time. This may be through external professional development or supporting project team work in an area outside their normal job description.
“We utilise a theory called seventy-twenty-ten around our staff learning and development. Employees identify key areas where they want to learn with the support and consultation of their people leader. We keep in mind that 70% of learning is by doing, meaning you just need to go and try things, like learning on the job. Then 20% is learning from other people and 10% through formal study,” Alecia explains.
“By creating the opportunity for staff to work across a number of different project teams it means that in some, you may be the expert and the leader of the project and sharing your knowledge so that others can learn, and in others you may be the one learning in an area you know little about.”
Providing an effective environment for your staff to be able to explore their interests and grow their knowledge and skills is key to preparing for the future of work. However, the individual plays an important role in smart learning too.
“We promote peer-to-peer learning at FYA where team members are asked if they would be interested in mentoring someone else, or if they’d like a mentor. The idea behind this is that people can find a mentor or mentee from any level of the organisation based on what they want to learn.”
“We also encourage all of our team to run a lunchtime learning. These are informal sessions on anything that someone might like to learn about. It provides the presenter valuable experience in presenting, particularly when they don’t always get a chance to do that in their jobs.”
These three simple practices build staff capabilities, and this creates a positive work environment where your employees will develop deeper ties to their workplace.
“You can see it as a retention strategy. By investing in your people they are engaged, there are peer-to-peer opportunities and there is a team that get along really well, and that value each other and respect each other. You create an environment where people will want to stay,” Alecia says.
Smart learning will be a critical in order to navigate future careers. Whether you have a big budget for extra training and professional development or you’re a small organisation, there are plenty of ways to encourage continued learning.
To find out more about the New Work Order research series you can download all five reports here.
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