The best jobs of today did not exist ten years ago. With the world changing faster than ever before and new skills driving the types of jobs we hold; without constant learning, we risk obsolescence. Mark Zuckerberg recently showed off his fluency in Mandarin at a Q&A session at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. Many were astounded at his ability to switch language; whilst we have been wasting time on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has been learning a new skill.
Perhaps we ought to take a leaf out of Zuckerberg’s book and spend more time developing new skills to better equip us for what the future might bring. But what do we need to learn? It is apparent that choosing the subject matter for future-proofing our career relies on predicting what we will need to know, and that itself is difficult. Many professionals know what technology and software they need to know, but acquiring the freedom to study for subjects outside of their immediate job role can be hard to negotiate.
Investment in people is unquestionably the best way to maximise the abilities of your team and keep your business moving forward. The first step to developing our skills set might be increasing accessibility and facilities for study. Maximising learning means making education digital. With education digitally available, any spare time an individual might have could be used as additional studying time. The coffee-shop break might become an opportunity to catch up on a lecture.
Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, has recently digitised all its learning facilities and resources to improve flexibility for its staff. This means that time allocations for study are flexible and the old scheduled timetables have been replaced with a learner-chosen model.
Leading companies have also found that teaching staff skills relevant to their role and then broadening the curriculum enables them to future-proof their workforce. This is most apparent with the short courses in coding which have enabled staff to diversify their skills and awareness, even if they do not deal with software immediately. This also applies to soft skills, ensuring that your team is ready for the future and potential future roles. Mental health has become increasingly present in staff development programmes. For example, the ICAEW is working with advice centre CABA to provide tuition in skills such as resilience, balancing family life and dealing with stress.
It has become very clear that employers will need to offer training if they want to hold onto their most talented personnel. It is reported that 70% of 22-25 year olds would list training opportunities as one of their main reasons to move jobs.
Anyone that wants to stay relevant and remain ahead of the game needs to be engaged with constant learning.
So, what do we suggest?
- Establish an in-house school or training academy
- Introduce a training programme for new and existing clients
- Organise a mentoring programme to coach staff how to be their best
- Offer a variety of course types to accommodate the different ways people learn