HR Leads Business

Apr 26, 2018 | Barry Lawrence, MBA, aPHR, HRCI Staff Writer

Self-Learning Now Required to Avoid Career Obsolescence

We live in an age of obsolescence. It’s apparent in the cars, smartphones and televisions that become outmoded the moment we purchase them. It’s also become the norm for our professions in the face of much change and technological revolution.

To avoid irrelevance, we must now embrace continuous learning and training throughout our career lifecycles. Ongoing development is the investment in our personal R&D that keeps us modern and out of the scrap heap.

Training and development leaders understand this trend and are looking for new ways to infuse continuous learning into the lifeblood of each employee. In fact, organizations now view learning as a strategic business advantage.

"Organizations that learn better and faster can adapt more quickly to increase demands for capable knowledge workers in a technologically advanced, rapid changing global economy," Holly Burkett, Ph.D., SPHR, CPT, tells HR Leads Business. Burkett is the author of Learning for the Long Run. "Adapt through learning and assessment or run the risk of extinction."

A Culture of Learning

Sharlyn Lauby, the creator of the HR Bartender blog, believes organizations must provide workers with a larger pallet of what she calls "learning path options" and motivate employees to take charge of learning new skills.

"Company-driven training exists and honestly I think there’s a place and need for it," she writes. "However, there’s much conversation in today’s learning environment about the need for individuals to embrace their own learning."

It’s also essential for organizations to create learning champions, Burkett says. Such champions ensure that teams "learn how to learn" so that just-in-time e-learning, facilitator-led learning and other learning options maintain traction and, collectively, are sources of strategic business advantage.

"For learning paths to really become a part of organizational culture, employees need to buy into them," Lauby adds. "That means emphasizing, from hire to retire, the concept of learning. Being a lifelong learner isn’t some trend du jour. It’s how individuals and businesses stay competitive."

Tips to Avoid Career Obsolescence

As a professional, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people are like algorithms. Think of yourself as a computer or iPhone. Without upgrades, you quickly become obsolete. Faster speeds, increased reliability and new applications are expected of you around every corner. But unlike hardware, we are organic and able to constantly evolve our operating systems and application strengths.

"I believe that anyone can succeed if they prepare themselves for the next level in their careers," writes Joel Trammel, CEO of Khorus Software, for Inc. online. Trammel provides 10 tips for avoiding professional stagnation. "To do so, you must exploit every opportunity to learn."

Today, you must always be in learning mode to provide the latest competencies that organizations want. Such learning must include both the technical and "soft” skills that are equally important to business success.

New Learning and Assessment From HRCI

At HRCI, we are proud to introduce HRCI upSkill, a new suite of on-demand e-learning and assessment through a unique online platform to instruct and recognize HR and non-HR professionals for people management excellence.

Effective management — getting things done through by engaging people — is an essential but often overlooked competency for professionals. Managers often end up in their roles not because they are great people managers, but often because they’ve delivered good individual results in the past and are promoted to direct others.

HRCI upSkill, beginning with a focus on workforce analytics, will help professionals explore and be recognized for people management practices that mitigate workplace risk, engage workers and drive business results.

Make every day a day of learning.