Encouraging your people to excel: creating a learning culture in the workplace


How often do you hear the phrase ‘skills shortage’? And how has it affected your experience of recruiting? In 2018, candidates seem to be at an all time low. There just aren’t enough talented people to fill the roles available, and recruitment managers are reporting that hiring is harder than ever.

Katherine Wiid, Career Management and Recruitment Coach comments: 

In my experience we’re looking at the skills shortage problem from the wrong angle. 

First problem: job descriptions focus on the wrong things 

Job descriptions typically focus on a long list of skills, education and experience. But when technology is advancing at such a rapid pace the skills you need are constantly changing. By being too prescriptive you may find it almost impossible to find candidates who tick all those boxes. 

UK organisations are lagging behind European companies when considering transferable skills such as problem solving and critical thinking according to Cornerstone (download their Building a Culture of Innovation report here). Job descriptions don’t focus enough on soft skills, motivations, or other factors that contribute to whether a candidate will truly be a good fit or have the potential to grow with you. 

Yes, someone who matches the skills and experience list may be able to do the job (if you can find them!). But will they excel in that role? Will they be flexible, solve unique problems or push for exciting new developments? 

Second problem: how to skill up your employees 

It’s becoming clear that our workforce isn’t keeping up with technological and geopolitical changes such as AI and Brexit. The answer? Learning new skills needs to be made a priority because if you’re not proactively encouraging learning within the workplace, you can expect your people to be gradually left behind (and your company too). 

Creating a learning culture 

One fantastic example of a company prioritising learning in the workplace, is C3 IoT. As an American tech company, you would expect them to be embracing change. And they are! They incentivise learning by offering cash bonuses to employees who take training courses from their approved list, in fact $1000+ per course. Good for the company (staff are ahead of the game and have the skills required to use all the latest software so they don’t need to recruit new talent) but also good for their people (employees feel valued, challenged and motivated to become the best in their industry). 

How could your company encourage learning among your employees? If you’re about to restructure and make certain roles redundant, do your employees have the potential to be retrained and re-positioned within the company? Do your people have skills that are lying dormant (that you may not know about), or that they haven’t had the opportunity to use yet? Retaining talent in the skills shortages we are facing is a better option than recruiting!   

Offering learning opportunities also acts as a workplace benefit that will attract top talent to your company. Prioritising learning and development in the workplace also demonstrates that you’re an organisation that values their talent, and wants their employees to develop and grow as their business does… whilst keeping ahead of the competition! 

If you would like to find out more about Career Management Coaching to retain and upskill your employees, get in touch with Katherine Wiid of Career Ambitions, part of Recrion Ltd.


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Based in Cambridge, Career Ambitions has a strong reputation for enabling highly-trained and talented individuals to get through major career change, redundancy and/or indecision to realise their career potential and meet their ambitions.

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