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POLICY AND ISSUES
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Resources for Journalists. There are five principles for HR professionals as they support the ongoing development of talent. Principle 1—The primary purpose of training is to teach people how to self-learn rather than teaching them content. Some businesses have identified lifelong learning as a critical success factor.
If people are always learning and are open to learning from others, the culture will be more agile and change will be more readily accepted. Business leaders will also find that ongoing learning will help them with decision-making. Business leaders must have the opportunity to learn continuously in order to be able to deal with the ambiguity and uncertainty of making decisions.
Ongoing learning is also essential for all employees. Businesses should be creating. When HR creates an environment that supports continuous learning, the nature of what people learn changes. The purpose is not to impart the content. People should be able to learn the content continuously and independently.
The emphasis is on teaching people how to learn—how to stay current and up-to-date on a day-by-day basis. They no longer have to wait for a course to be presented. They are taught the learning skills so that they can access the tools online and learn by themselves. Principle 2—Business leaders are accountable for creating an ongoing learning environment. While HR can be accountable for continuous learning in the business overall, HR should guide business leaders to take responsibility for ongoing learning opportunities in their work units.
Business leaders as people leaders have a major accountability for the ongoing education of employees.
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In addition, business leaders become sharper and more knowledgeable in their own areas of expertise when they articulate knowledge and share ideas with employees. Principle 3—All employees are accountable for their own learning. The first and second principles set the climate for employees to recognize that they are held accountable for their own learning.
Employees need to have access to the appropriate sources of knowledge, and they need to take responsibility for their own continual learning—no one can do it for them.
In Their Own Write
In the old working environment, knowledge was power. In the new working environment, knowledge is a shared resource. Since all knowledge is accessible, except perhaps specific strategic information, all employees have the opportunity to learn as well as to add value to discussions. It is essential for HR to respect the intellectual capacity of every employee to correctly grasp and comprehend this information in order for employees to be accountable for their own learning.
This principle also has many spin-off effects. When employees take responsibility for their own learning, they tend to share. Cross-functionality of teams is encouraged because people can contribute ideas to other areas even if they are not experts in them. HR can set the stage for this learning environment by creating group and learning settings meant for participation by all employees, not just those with the most seniority or the highest positions in the business. With just-in-time learning, people are able to adapt more quickly to changes.
In the optimum environment, everyone is able to access knowledge that is readily available when they have a compelling need for it. Through the use of online technology, shared knowledge can come just in time. The prerequisite is for people to be willing to share information freely and openly and to have people prepared to self-learn. The principle of teaching people how to learn rather than teaching them content is based on employees getting information when they actually need to learn and not when they are scheduled to attend a course. Here is an example of just-in-time learning in a traditional manufacturing environment: Consider a manufacturing plant where an inventive plant manager decides to facilitate just-in-time learning.
In this work environment, stopping the workflow for a brief period of time will not put a severe dent in efficiency. He places a flip chart in each work unit and then instructs each manager to stop everyone in his or her unit from working when something goes wrong and ask them to gather around the flip chart.
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The manager uses the flip chart to illustrate the scenario and to facilitate a discussion about how to do it right the next time. Learning in this plant environment is designed to happen as the need to learn occurs. Principle 5—The entire organization shares what has been learned. On a much broader scale, the entire organization can share what they learn about effective and ineffective practices. If everyone knows what others know, the organization will have a wealth of knowledge. Also, the organization can lose a lot of knowledge when a person. It is important to discover ongoing ways to map what people know and ensure that the intellectual capital remains with the organization as much as possible.
The idea of sharing information about ineffective practices may be even more important than sharing information about what is effective. The work environment should support sharing about what to lighten up so that others know what no longer applies and should not be done. By following these five principles, HR can transform the role of training and development to an essential element of talent management that delivers value for the business.
The talent management outcome also includes identifying successors for positions that may become vacant in the future. In particular, HR should focus on talent management solutions for critical business positions that need successor candidates. Most businesses have very few positions that could be considered critical positions.
Critical positions1 are defined as positions that have two features: 1.
The position is essential to the strategic direction of the business. See David S. Once the critical positions are identified, then the business allocates specialized funding for the targeted development of internal candidates to be the successors for these positions especially for positions where the incumbent is likely to leave the business. The other non-critical senior positions still have identified candidates who are ready to replace them in the event of a sudden or planned departure.
However, it is clearly understood that in most cases these candidates are interim replacements and not formal successors for the positions. A different kind of problem appears in building future succession capacity in owner-operated businesses. Also, owners often select one of their children to be the next leader even when that child may not be the best qualified or their selection process may create family problems that carry well beyond the workplace.
Succession in owner-operated businesses often operates with a model of concentric circles. The owner is in the center. The immediate family is often in the next circle outside the center. In the third circle are the trusted, long-standing colleagues regardless of their positions in the business. The other circles are for the rest of the employees.