Learnability: The Key to Success for Organizations and Individuals
Improving people’s learnability and employability is a win-win proposition: it gives businesses access to a wider pool of quality talent, while ensuring individuals have the in-demand skills they'll need to drive their careers.
Recently I was a guest speaker at the Hogan Innovation Summit in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hogan Assessment is an industry leader in personality assessment and leadership development, and valued partner to Right Management and ManpowerGroup. There were attendees from 58 countries, and I may have been the only person in the room without a degree in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. It was a little intimidating, but in a good way.
I was there to share Right Management’s view on managing talent in a work world being radically transformed by four “future forces:” shifting demographics, technological disruption, career-ism, and growing consumer sophistication. In the past, the jobs and skills required for success seemed clear-cut in most industries. Today, that certainty is gone. Organizations are rethinking the kind of talent they need to meet evolving consumer preferences and emerging competition, while individuals are taking career development into their own hands.
In our view, sustainable businesses—the ones who crack the code on talent acquisition and retention—will be built around three tenets: ensuring people are work-ready when they leave education, helping them stay relevant by continuously building in-demand skills, and nurturing diversity and inclusion in the workplace to draw from the largest pool of talent.
The key concept, I told the group, is “learnability” – agile organizations will need to be “learnable” to grow and evolve, while individuals with high learnability will be focused on developing flexible skills to meet the changing workforce or market requirements. The talk was very well-received. But what was most fascinating were the reactions of people who came up afterwards to talk to me. One woman worked with youth in South Africa, helping them develop skills to be business-ready. A man from the UK told me how difficult it was to change executives’ perceptions on how to hire people. Others spoke with me about how they could measure learnability and the potential impact on creating a more inclusive, diverse, and future-ready workforce.
Their responses speak to the universal nature of the “future forces” and how these trends are driving business behaviors and stressors globally. Whether it’s skilling up youth in Africa or changing executive attitudes in Great Britain, sustainable business performance will increasingly depend on creating a culture of high performing, collaborative learning in a diverse, purpose-driven organization.
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Improving people’s learnability and employability is a win-win proposition: it gives businesses access to a wider pool of quality talent while ensuring individuals have in-demand skills that give them more control and choice throughout their careers. For more on that, I invite you to check out ManpowerGroup’s Sustainability Report: Doing Well by Doing Good
. It contains inspiring examples of learnability in action around the globe—from Junior Achievement projects that give young people a strong start on sustainable careers to innovative up-skilling programs that provide assessment, coaching, and development tools so people can learn while they earn and advance their careers in growing sectors like finance and IT.
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