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A shift to employee-led learning in the workplace demonstrates that some companies are empowering employees to take responsibility for their own professional development. Employee-led learning allows workers to create their own learning experiences and learn more efficiently and effectively. The shift to employee-led learning is driven in part by the recognition that employees have different learning needs, efforts to keep pace with the changing workplace, and agile workplaces leading the way with on-demand information and adaptability. By having control of their own learning paths, employees can personalize skill building and professional development, and focus on readily accessible, relevant resources. It’s worth noting that employee-led learning doesn’t mean employers should be completely hands-off. Organizational responsibility should include both employees and executives, as well as L&D. Managers can help monitor employee learning journeys without being restrictive, and guidelines can provide needed structure. “To inspire self-direction, a culture of continuous learning and development must come from the highest levels of the organization.” Agreed.
A Cadence of Success
With one-third of the workforce disengaged at work, improving employee engagement is high on the list for organizations focused on adapting for the future of work. In an article for Training Industry, our co-founder and VP of Customer Engagement Emily Foote writes that employees can feel engaged when they are empowered to tie work to personal and professional purpose, but “if companies are not well-equipped to provide the support required for employees to meaningfully succeed in engaging work, the cycle of workplace drudgery continues.” How can companies provide the right kind of support? With the critical need to continually improve soft skills, employees will expect employers to provide opportunities to help them build these skills. To help employees develop their soft skills, companies can create a culture of continuous learning and feedback, teach employees to provide constructive feedback, and ensure leaders are involved in promoting a true culture of learning. Then, “in an environment where employees are constantly learning, they are empowered to create a cadence of success in the workplace.”
The growth mindset, which is the idea that people can develop and improve their talents and skills through dedication and hard work, has grown in popularity in the workplace. However, the growth mindset is often misinterpreted. To learn how leaders create a growth mindset in their organizations, the NeuroLeadership Institute interviewed HR practitioners on their work and talent processes, and as a result, revealed several common misconceptions around the growth mindset. Having a growth mindset doesn’t mean striving for business growth — “it is much larger than the objective of improving earnings.” A growth mindset does not include limitless possibilities, nor should employees feel they need to behave as if they have infinite resources and exhibit a constant “can-do” attitude. Instead, leaders must still realistically consider employees’ cognitive capacity. Here’s a reminder of what having a growth mindset really means: “a culture that fosters a growth mindset is a culture in which all employees are seen as possessing potential, are encouraged to develop, and are acknowledged and rewarded for improvement.” The survey found that leaders who closely follow the science of the growth mindset are “weaving it into the employee experience across onboarding to talent acquisition and succession planning, to leadership development and career development.” To learn more about creating a true growth mindset, see Bersin’s report on creating a growth mindset within a continuous learning culture.
Foster the People
According to Fast Company, modern HR “requires broader capabilities and job skills than have typically been demanded of HR professionals in the past” in order to keep pace with the rapidly evolving nature of work. So what skills should HR leaders focus on? With over 24,000 HR tools on the market, HR leaders need to be able to harness emerging tech to “execute an effective people strategy.” To help attract top talent, HR must also ensure that their organization’s people narratives remain consistent with consumer branding. According to a recent HR Open Source report, people analytics will have the highest increase in impact among HR professionals. As a result, HR leaders need a strong grasp on how to collect and analyze their data on employee satisfaction, performance, retention, recruitment, and more. Finally, to to help keep people engaged internally and externally and support the company mission and purpose, the ability to skillfully “articulate an organization’s value propositions as an employer” will be extremely valuable. It’s worth noting that these are not the only necessary skills for HR leaders in the future, but a starting point that will help drive companies forward as HR’s role continues to expand.
The number of millennials in management roles is increasing, but many of them feel they don’t measure up due to the current state of L&D programs. Harvard Business Publishing’s 2018 State of Leadership Development report shows that L&D programs must evolve to meet transformational business needs. How can organizations improve their L&D offerings while considering the needs of millennials and help develop millennials to take on management roles? The report indicates that millennials are accustomed to choice and more autonomy, and see a larger role for “technology in leadership development and view technology as a natural extension of development programs.” Millennials are also driven by purpose and collaborating with a team. To provide more engaging learning opportunities, employers might consider encouraging embracing trial and error — and iterating “quickly in a safe environment.” Creating a culture of learning that includes immediate feedback, micro-reflections, and self-awareness can help employees develop their leadership skills. If employers focus on how the next generation of leaders learns best, millennial leaders will be better equipped to help transform the workplace.