Back in March I attended the Training Industry Inc, Future of the Workforce Conference, and had the pleasure of attending the session led by Sonia Malik @ IBM. Sonia presented on automation, the future of work, and building a skills revolution inside of IBM – her presentation was informative and very relevant for learning organizations today. If you are interested, you should check out the recording here. But I digress.
What inspired this post, what part of Sonia’s discussion- and her referring to herself as a human Venn diagram – that she – as a human – was made up of overlapping interests, passions, and skills – which she related she came to learn about in a great podcast called The Limit Does Not Exist – also totally worth checking out.
If Humans Are Venn Diagrams – Why Isn’t Your Organizational Learning Strategy?
So if we understand humans are Venn diagrams – and are made up of overlapping interests, passions, skills, and abilities, why do our organizational learning strategies not align with this reality?
I believe that organizations need to embrace their roles as facilitators of life long learning – and to create, adopt, and support life long learning policies that fundamentally are geared not just to the learning the organization needs in order to remain competitive – but also on the learning will ultimately enable their employees to progress in their lives in a more meaningful way.
What Does A Humans As A Venn Diagram Learning Strategy Look Like?
While there is no one right answer to this question, I believe that there are three components to build a learning strategy that supports humans as a Venn diagram: intention, open-mindedness, and access.
As an organization, you need to have a declared intention to be a life long learning organization and to recognize that employees at all levels (entry-level to senior leadership – hiPos and average performers) need to continuously develop their skills.
Secondly, there needs to be an open mind in the organization when it comes to learning. Too often the mindset in organizations is that learning should be limited to just those areas/topics that are related to one’s job or to the needs of the organization.
Being open-minded and broad in what the organization will support in terms of life long learning will ultimately build engagement with your employees, contribute to building a diverse skill capability in the organization, and be a powerful component of your employer brand.
The final component, access, really means democratizing learning in the organization and ensuring that employees at all levels of the organization need to have access to learning. Use this understanding to create specific policies to address the education and learning needs of the different employee populations in your organization – rather than one size fit most policies – and consider the types of wrap-around services that certainly segments of your workforce, like your front line workers, might need in order to be successful.
Machines May Be Doing It, But When It Comes To Your Learning Strategy – Keep It Human
The past few months have turned the world on its head – and as learning leaders, we are going to begin grappling with the new world of work in the coming weeks and months. Organizations are going to be grappling with issues of space/place, digitalization, and automation. Discussions about access to technology and connectivity, especially for frontline workers who may have historically not have had such access will come front in center. In all of those discussions, it is important to remember that no matter how technology-enabled learning your learning is or will be – there will always be a human element – so keep it human.
What is your Human as a Venn Diagram Learning Strategy? We would love to hear from you because we are all on this journey together, and as we say around here, together we learn.