Lifelong learning is no longer negotiable. Digitalisation will change many job profiles and the way we work. We cannot stand still and believe that our current skills, experiences and knowledge will still be sufficient and competitive in 5 years.
The only dilemma is that employees often lack the time to learn during work or are not offered the right training. However, some companies simply lack the money to invest more in personnel development. Our tip is to break the rules and think out-of-the-box – otherwise we won’t be able to integrate lifelong learning into our everyday work. Here are a few ideas from us:
There are no longer just two stages of life: work and retirement. Additional to the working phase, employees today want to experience more phases of life, such as long periods of travel or timeout. Moreover, the one career in life is becoming rare, for example, employees may get tired of their jobs, want to change them, and build second careers. Employees may even have to re-skill because of later retirement ages. In the future, careers will change steadily and will be rebuilt more frequently.
Companies should be open to these changes in life and careers: the classic résumé will no longer exist in the future. However, every newly integrated phase of life or every career change means that employees will learn and develop even further.
One solution for lifelong learning in the future could be to change jobs regularly. For most, job hopping still has negative connotations: no stamina, no loyalty, no discipline. However, perhaps that’s no longer the case: if job hoppers can explain and promote what they’ve learned in each job, learning can even outweigh perceived benefits such as loyalty, stability, perseverance and discipline.
To expand further, although they have not been in the position for very long but show commitment to each project, learning new areas and skill sets to develop, then ultimately this work style can be deemed positive.
It is utopian to think that learning takes an additional place within busy schedules. Learning should fit within the flow of daily work life. Organisations need to create a learning-for-all culture where people are encouraged and take responsibility to continue learning as part of their everyday work.
For example, sharing knowledge should be part of the DNA of every company allowing knowledge to flow so that everyone can benefit. Companies should offer employees the opportunity to learn from one another across different hierarchies, areas of competence, responsibilities and departments. Lifelong learning thus develops automatically and dynamically.
Coffee or lunch breaks are also ideal places of education as discussions and exchanges are sparked here. Companies should encourage central physical meeting places to encourage personal knowledge transfer. In addition, digital learning and experience rooms can also help with lifelong learning as technologies such as virtual reality enable employees to have new experiences playfully.
Moreover, companies should create small spaces during working hours so that there is time for self-reflection. 10 minutes is enough. Only those who have self-critically reflected on their work once a day can improve and develop it. In this way, employees can also recognise what skills and knowledge they are lacking and can compensate for these deficits through training.
We need to look for realistic ways to integrate our lifelong learning into our daily work schedules. That’s why it is so important that lifelong learning will become a natural part of our daily work life and of our vita, says our Managing Partner Marie Kanellopulos.