If there is a phrase to encapsulate the true spirit of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is – ‘Hyper Transformation’. With technological developments, it has become a near-impossible task to accurately predict all the jobs of the future.

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The skill gaps are so blatant that by 2022, every employee would need an extra 101 days of learning annually. Another report from Cisco predicts that in the US alone, more than 4.3 million workers will be displaced while an additional 2.2 million will be disrupted. 6.5 million job moves by 2027 are also anticipated.

This is driving organizations to focus more on perpetual learning. Technological bombardment in the corporate space has introduced a rather interesting variable into the mix. Some technologies are becoming obsolete even before they hit their entire potential adoption curves. While this is causing organizations to constantly explore new avenues of revenue generation, it is also compelling the workforce to constantly upskill.

The Onset of Perpetual Learning

Learners today have caught up with market expectations and understood the importance of continuous development and learning. At the operational level, this is being reinforced by the shifting attitude to performance management – leading to a symbiotic relationship between performance and development. This is where perpetual learning comes in to function as a bridge between the two.

Benefits of Perpetual Learning

Building a culture of constant learning has never been more relevant for leaders. Here is what perpetual learning brings to the table for all stakeholders:

1. Maintaining Workforce Relevance: By constantly tapping into new skill sets, the workforce has a better chance of being relevant in the industry. This saves organizations the costs of hiring and replacements.

2. Broader Avenues of Functioning: With a diverse and updated pool of skill sets, the employees are much more equipped to handle varied projects and deliverables. Such a culture motivates the workforce to take on new opportunities.

3. Reduced Skill Gaps: Business growth breeds natural skill gaps in the employee base. with soaring skill demands in different business departments, perpetual learning opens an opportunity to fill these gaps. With a strong learning culture, organizations are better equipped to train existing employees and fulfill niche skill demands.

4. Gaining a Competitive Edge: Constant learning can lead to as much as a 50% uptick in net sales per employee. It is also linked with faster ‘time-to-market’ for the products and services and services, better employee productivity, quicker response to customer needs, and a better ability to meet future marketplace demands.

5. Creating a Productive Workplace Environment: Perpetual learning induces a productive, enjoyable, and innovative work environment. It makes the employees feel valued and secure, and helps them fit into the existing infrastructure of the company. In such cases, employees are 30-50% more likely to keep working for their current employer.

How Can You Create a Culture for Perpetual Learning?

It takes constant commitment, dedicated resources, and expert coaching to foster a pan-organization learning culture. One of the major pitfalls is the relentless need for employees to focus on the task at hand. Engaging in learning sessions can also be viewed as a waste of time during work hours.

Here are some ways to mitigate this:

  • Following a Top-down Approach: Perpetual learning as a culture can only begin at the top. It is imperative that employees witness their managers be entirely engaged in and supportive of learning activities. This will eliminate the stigma and fear of moving away from daily tasks and investing time in additional activities.
  • Have a Learning Plan: Having an actionable plan around such activities along with a blueprint of their impact will build a stronger case for adaptation.
  • Setting Aside Appropriate Resources and Time: The management needs to make available the right amount of time and resources to employees. This includes setting up team workshops or events, providing easy access to professional resources, and creating learning task forces to implement the action plans.
  • Having a Perpetual Content Strategy: Ensuring the availability of rich content and resources for rapidly changing skills sets. These should be available for consumption in digital formats such as videos, podcasts, eBooks, learning based games, and more.
  • Personalized Learning: The foundation of a reliable learning experience is directly proportional to how personalized every individual’s learning plan is. This can be achieved by sourcing micro learning blocks and knowledge points via curation from leading content providers for generic content like soft skills. On the other hand, content for specific and custom learning fields for the organization can be created internally by the Learning and Development (L&D) team or outsourced to capable external vendors.

At Zensar, we curate content from both internal and external sources. Internally – our surging L&D requirements are met by deploying the existing repository of content to train the employees. Externally – we are competent providers of tailored L&D content for our numerous clients.

The Takeaway

A modern workplace requires employees to adapt and expand their skill sets in the quest to deliver better performance.  Training and upskilling can no longer be considered as one-off events. Instead, organizations need to invest in and develop avenues of ceaseless learning that must continue throughout an individual’s employment lifecycle.  

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Dipankar Sarkar

Posted by Dipankar Sarkar

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