by Tim Waldo, UT CIS Workforce Consultant
Workforce development is actually people development. That fact seems sort of obvious, but words and phrases can often lose the power behind their meaning through overuse that leads to a dulling familiarity. We hear about workforce development all the time. The workforce is lacking key skills. The workforce is unprepared for the future of work. Employers are not doing enough to train the workforce. Perhaps it might help to stop on occasion and remember that included in that workforce are our friends and family, neighbors, and fellow citizens. People. What do the people in our workforce need in order to be successful in the jobs of the future? What do they want in a career?
For one thing, people want to learn. This seems to be an important need. Just a couple of years ago, Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends published an insightful report that expanded upon their previous study of a newer form of enterprise, the social enterprise. It points to yet another need that people have; the need to do meaningful work within companies that feel responsible for more than just profits. The report confirmed what other studies have repeatedly found – many people value the opportunity to learn. The presence of that opportunity ranks as one of the top reasons people accept a job according to Deloitte. It seems reasonable that the absence of that opportunity might tend to rank highly as one of the top reasons that people will leave a job as well.
The authors, clearly pointing to the key role that employers must play, boldly pronounce, “The number one trend for 2019 is the need for organizations to change the way people learn” (p. 7). The report highlighted three new trends that the researchers discovered regarding how learning is changing, it is becoming more integrated with work; it is becoming more personal; and it is shifting toward lifelong models. Of course, this was before COVID-19 moved the conversation about change to a whole new level. These three trends seem all the more important now.
UT Center for Industrial Services (CIS) utilizes Smart Talent Systems to help Tennessee manufacturers address these important trends. Smart Talent Systems focuses on three key areas of learning – cognitive development around peoples’ capacity to think and solve problems; skills development that helps companies consistently and efficiently train to their unique processes; and continuous improvement that unleashes the whole team’s creativity and innovative energies. Smart Talent Systems thinking makes learning a part of the work, promotes personalized development plans, and seeks to sustain a culture that encourages individuals to become lifelong learners.
A culture of learning can give your organization a competitive advantage in finding, training, and retaining the talent needed to fulfill your business objectives. The next Smart Talent Systems virtual workshops begin in May. Click HERE for more information and to register. Or, call Tim Waldo at 865-974-5015 if you have additional questions.