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So You Think You Can Learn?”: Understanding ‘Learnability in the workplace

So You Think You Can Learn?”: Understanding ‘Learnability in the workplace

So You Think You Can Learn?”: Understanding ‘Learnability in the workplace

Date: 20/12/2019 | Posted by: Meghana Jitendra | Category: General


There are several competencies required in a candidate that are assessed while hiring. Today’s employability relies heavily on measuring knowledge, skills and abilities. These, of course are important, but there is one quality in an employee which not only surpasses the importance of all of these competencies, but also drives them: Willingness to learn.

A competency map for any role would be incomplete without measuring the agility or learnability of a candidate / employee who has to cope with the periodically changing job requirements and thereby the skills / abilities that one has to use to successfully complete a given job. This may require them to master new skills, update knowledge and adapt to situations. Learning is key here.

A study on companies in the US(Robert Half, 2019)revealed that 84 percent of companies are willing to hire and train a candidate who lacks required skills[i]. In light of this trend, learnability of job applicants becomes of paramount consideration. One can give classroom lectures and top-notch reading material, but learning cannot be imposed or forced; it is self-motivated to a large extent. With high willingness to learn, a candidate/employee can be assisted or trained to develop the required skills, not only for the job they are hired for, but also for any changes in their roles in the future.

Organizations that are in a continuous learning phase, can endure and prolong their existence in a highly competitive global economy. Thus, to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn become key differentiators of high performing individuals, teams and organisations.

So, what is ‘Learnability’?

Willingness to learn can be defined as a drive to learn more and stay abreast with latest information. In a workplace, the emphasis is on updating oneself on knowledge related to one’s work as well as honing skills required for better job performance. There are key behavioural indicators of learnability.

  • Demonstrating an Interest in Learning
    • Demonstrates an interest in personal learning and development
    • Seeks feedback from multiple sources about how to improve and develop, and modifies behavior based on feedback or self-analysis of past mistakes
    • Treats unexpected circumstances as opportunities to learn
  • Participating in Training
    • Identifies when it is necessary to acquire new knowledge and skills
    • Takes steps to develop and maintain knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to achieve positive results
    • Participates fully in relevant training programs and actively pursues other opportunities to develop knowledge and skills
  • Identifying Career Interests
    • Takes charge of personal career development by identifying occupational interests, strengths, options and opportunities
    • Makes insightful career planning decisions based on integration and consideration of others' feedback, and seeks out additional training to pursue career goals
  • Integration and Application
    • Integrates newly learned knowledge and skills with existing knowledge and skills
    • Uses newly learned knowledge and skills to complete specific tasks
    • Uses newly learned knowledge and skills in new or unfamiliar situations

 

In today’s VUCA business environment, learning is not optional anymore. Learnability or willingness to learn is the new-age competency that every successful professional, team and business needs. Change is the only constant, after all.

 

[i]Robert Half, 2019. Survey: 42 Percent Of Job Applicants Don't Meet Skills Requirements, But Companies Are Willing To Train Up. [Online]
Available at: http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2019-03-19-Survey-42-Percent-Of-Job-Applicant...
[Accessed November 2019].