Most of the readers of this blog can clearly remember our grade school days when we were so eager for school to “just be over already.” We just wanted a rest from all the learning. Then came college, or some other form of post-graduate education. More learning. Then came on-the-job training. More learning. New technology. More learning. New certifications. More learning.
So for those with all kinds of degrees, seminars, conferences and certifications, it may seem there is finally, at last, a reprieve from all of the seemingly endless learning that has occurred over the years. But the wise understand that living is all about learning; it is necessary for our growth, as well as for our acclimation to the changing world around us.
As it is for the individual, so, too, it is also true that organizations must engage in ongoing learning to remain competitive in the rapidly changing world around them. Thriving organizations are learning organizations. This is increasingly important in a global environment. For example, workers who learn another language not only benefit personally, but become a more valuable asset to their organization, particularly when that language is used when interacting with colleagues and/or clients from other cultures. Stacie Nevadomski Berdan (2014) of the New York Times states: “Today many Americans work abroad, competing with global graduates proficient in three to four languages and ever-stronger emerging market talent pools. Companies want globally competent employees – including multilanguage competency. … Monolinguals conversing only with the English-fluent, or via machines, lose the important human touch and can’t learn or work as effectively as those chatting easily with native speakers, reading local papers, interpreting the subtleties.” (Berdan, 2014) Clayton Lewis (2012) echoes this viewpoint, declaring: “Years of learning a language, as well as the history and society of places where that language is spoken, develops a student with a truly multicultural outlook. Our global society is increasingly in need of individuals who look at issues with a broad perspective.” (Lewis, 2012)
Among the ten predictions Josh Bersin (2015) makes for organizations in 2015, are anticipated changes in organizational learning. He states: “2015 will likely be a tumultuous and transformational year in many areas of corporate talent. The global economic recovery, changing demographics and rapid changes in the technology landscape have come together to redefine the entire nature of work.” (Bersin, 2015) The report, “Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for a Rapidly Changing World,” describes “key developments and critical insights to help guide … HR, learning and talent strategies in the new year, including how:
- Engagement, retention, culture and inclusion have become front burner issues;
- The redesign of performance management will likely continue; and
- Skills are now currency: corporate learning will take on increasing importance.” (Bersin, 2015)
These skills are essential in our fast-paced, global environment. Bersin (2015) comments: “We interact with people all over the world easily, and we have tools and technologies at our fingertips to find information, write, communicate, and analyze data like never before.” (Bersin, 2015) Among the “five fundamental shifts which dramatically impact corporate talent, leadership, and HR strategies” is the prediction that “learning, capabilities, and skills are the currency of success.” (Bersin, 2015) According to Bersin (2015) [and I concur]: “From both an individual and organizational standpoint, technical and professional capabilities are now the currency of success. If you can attract or develop better scientists, engineers, sales people, or functional experts you will beat your competition. And once you attract these people you must give them a compelling learning environment to stay current, as technology advances at an accelerating rate. L&D organizations and strategies have not kept up, and we are in an era where corporate learning is going through as much change is we witnessed in the early 2000s when e-learning hit the scene.” (Bersin, 2015)
In my opinion, however, this is not just a trend for 2015, but also at least for the next several years. Learning is vital to growth. So, let’s all settle in for lots more learning.
Berdan, Stacie Nevadomski. (2012) Being Monolingual Is No Longer an Option. New York Times. (May 12, 2014) Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/29/is-learning-a-language-other-than-english-worthwhile/being-monolingual-is-no-longer-an-option
Lewis, Clayton. (2012) ‘Getting By’ With Languages Isn’t Enough. New York Times. (January 29, 2012) Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/29/is-learning-a-language-other-than-english-worthwhile/getting-by-with-languages-isnt-enough
Bersin, Josh. (2015) Predictions for 2015: Redesigning the Organization for A Rapidly Changing World (January 6, 2015) Retrieved from: http://www.bersin.com/blog/post/Predictions-for-2015–Redesigning-the-Organization-for-A-Rapidly-Changing-World.aspx