Article: Democratized learning is the new standard at work: Jacob Morgan

Learning & Development

Democratized learning is the new standard at work: Jacob Morgan

Any employee can teach or learn from anyone else, says Jacob Morgan - the founder of Future of Work University, while talking about the learning in an era of AI and automation, in an interaction with People Matters.
Democratized learning is the new standard at work: Jacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan is one of the world's leading authorities on leadership, employee experience, and the future of work. He is a 4x best-selling author, speaker, and professionally trained futurist. He is also the founder of The Future of Work University, an online education and training platform.

Here are the excerpts of the interview with Jacob.

Albert Einstein famously said, 'Once you stop learning, you start dying.' How true is this in the context of the workplace in an age dominated by technologies such as AI and automation?

It's never been more important, especially in a world driven by AI and automation. The best way for each of us to future proof our lives and careers is by becoming super perpetual learners - meaning learning new things and applying them in our lives and organizations all the time. This includes everything from coding and development to empathy and self-awareness. The world is changing quickly which means we need to change along with it.

What's new in learning & development and why businesses should embrace them?

First, learning is no longer just being done by a specific team or department. Any employee can teach or learn from anyone else. Democratized learning is becoming the new standard at work. Next, we are seeing changes around what is being taught with a huge emphasis on what was traditionally known as "soft skills." Things like empathy, self-awareness, etc. Third, is how these programs are being delivered. It's no longer about sitting in a dimly lit room for hours. Today the platforms that we have access to are amazing, and many of them are free. Just think of all of things you can learn on something like YouTube!

How do you create an organization where everyone is engaged in learning given that engagement is a top challenge as far as learning is concerned?

You help employees understand why this important and you make them accountable for it. The CEO of AT&T basically went in front of his entire company and told his hundreds of thousands of employees that if they weren't willing to be perpetual learners then they should quit! Organizations need to of course support these efforts but also make sure employees are accountable. One way to do this is by providing transparency to employees in the future of their careers. If an employee knows that the company is planning on automating some of their job, then that will serve as great motivation to learn something new. But you can't just tell employees to "learn all the time" without explaining to them what they are learning for and how these things can be applied.

Millennials own the workforce these days, which means it's time to figure out what they want out of their jobs. How can organizations cater to their learning needs?

I think focusing on a single generation is a bit overhyped. It's true millennials are the majority of the workforce demographic but we would be naive to think that they are the only ones who care about learning in a modern way. I don't think this is as much of a generational thing as much as it is a mindset thing.

How can organizations embark on a journey of lifelong learning and create a culture of continual learning?

I'd focus it down to more specific areas which are: 1) Committing to a dedicated learning strategy. 2) Holding employees and leaders accountable for that strategy. 3) Being transparent with employees and helping them understand the future of their jobs/careers. 4) Investing in the right technologies to enable learning. 5) Leading by example. 6) Creating a culture of learning.

What are the one or two factors inhibiting the L&D from shifting the needle from intervention to reinvention?

Lots of people in HR and L&D are traditionally focused on the traditional aspects of their jobs. I think the number one factor here is about mindset and understanding that you are now in the business of human transformation and then taking a step back and asking, what can you do to help the people at your company transform? That's a very different way to think. Another component here is assuming that you are designing programs for other employees but the reality is that you should be designing things with them!

What kind of impact will the 4th industrial revolution have on the workforce and the skilling scenario?

Routine jobs will certainly be at risk but the biggest impact isn't so much around jobs being replaced as much as it is about how jobs will change. I'm optimistic about the future but this optimism rests on two assumptions. The first is that organizations will invest in various programs to help train and upskill their people and the second is that we as individuals will play a more active role in our own personal and professional development. Meaning we become perpetual learners who acknowledge that we can't always rely on educational institutions or companies to teach us everything we need to know to be successful at work and in life. If those two things happen, then we should be good!

Can re-skilling employees (instead of hiring new employees) help companies save money and stay competitive at the same time?

I think every organization needs both of these things. Of course, you need to make sure that your current workforce can adapt to the changes we are seeing and continue to stay relevant. On the other hand, if your company is growing, entering new markets, etc then you typically need to bring in new employees to assist with that growth. It's not a question of picking one of these things, it's a matter of doing both of them in a modern way.

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Topics: Learning & Development, #ExpertViews

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