How employees can remain agile in their careers

by L&D02 May 2016
Tym Lawrence is the proud father of two kids, aged nine and seven, who have taught him an interesting insight about learning.
“They are the most agile people of all because they are always learning,” said the Director, Solutions Architect at SumTotal a Skillsoft company.
“And the same goes for careers - if we want career mobility we have to be ready and able to learn continuously.”
Continuous learning is one of two areas where Lawrence can see the greatest potential impact of HR technology on the employee’s ability to be agile.
The other area is better development planning. But for the time being, let’s stick with continuous learning.
“You can’t have continuous learning if you don’t have a good learning culture, said Lawrence.
“And this is not just important for employees and their ability to remain agile and satisfied in their jobs. It’s also important for business.”
Lawrence cited a statistic from Bersin by Deloitte in 2015 which showed that 46% of overall business outcomes are directly impacted by a learning culture in your business.

This then leads to finding out the best ways of supporting continuous learning.
“One is you embed it in performance and other processes,” said Lawrence.
“So if I am doing a performance assessment I should be able to work out the learning that I need in order to remain agile in my career and be ready for my next one.”
Then you need to make it easy to find and consume learning, he said.
“I want to have really smart searching, I want to have proactive recommendations and I want to make sure that the learning I have got is microlearning.”
Lawrence added that workers have on average 24 minutes a month to dedicate to learning, so learning has to be efficient and easy to find.
The second area is better development planning which is also crucial to remain agile in your career.
“You need development plans that can handle both your personal and your company-directed development,” he said.
“And also to be able to support that 70:20:10 model – where 70% of your development might be related to challenging assignments. So I need to be able to log activity which might be demonstrating a new skill or doing a presentation.”
He added that the 20% is related to developmental relationships and mentoring.
“So I need to be able to add activities such as speaking to my peers, and then finally I have to be able to add learning activities directly from a learning catalogue for the 10% of coursework and training,” said Lawrence.
“So clearly HR tech is there to enable both continuous learning and better development planning.”