Tag Archives: Training

Updates from McKinsey

Redefining the role of the leader in the reskilling era
To enable continuous learning, leaders will need to think and act differently.
By Lynda Gratton, Joe Voelker, Tim Welsh and David Rock – ontinuous learning in the workplace must become the new norm if individuals and organizations want to stay ahead. This places more demand than ever on leaders to take on a new role they might initially find unfamiliar—that of learning facilitator-in-chief.

It’s harder to learn new things as an adult; the pain of making mistakes doesn’t roll off as quickly as it might have when we were younger. So how can leaders foster an environment of psychological safety where employees are supported but still productively challenged? The members discussing this problem concluded that part of the solution may be for leaders to dial up their levels of empathy and humility and focus more on enabling the best in their people, rather than commanding it from them.

When we think about reskilling, our minds immediately go to the idea that you do a program or a course, something concrete that upskills you. Actually, for most people, their capacity to reskill comes from the job itself. So the crucial role for leaders is to be thoughtful about the way they design jobs, how they allow their people to move across different types of positions at the company, and allowing those employees to build their skills and forge a navigable path.

Because for most people, it’s likely that the job they’re in now will not exist in the future—or at least not in the same form. So leaders need to provide ongoing momentum for people to use their agency to decide for themselves, “What am I going to do next?

To give employees the insights they need to make informed decisions, it’s also important for leaders to help people in their organization understand what’s happening in the world—maybe not in 30 years’ time, but certainly in three years’ time. Data show clearly that people want some sort of insight about where they might be going in their organization and what role they might play in it or not. Leaders need to be transparent and honest about those changes, engaging in an adult conversation about what might realistically happen in the future and how it could affect employees. more>

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Everyone wants to “teach a man to fish.” But skills training alone doesn’t help the world’s poor.

By Kelsey Piper – Skills training programs take a lot of forms, but there are generally two kinds: programs aimed at individuals, which try to teach them everything they’ll need to take higher-paying local jobs, and programs aimed at business owners and prospective business owners, which try to teach them skills to run a business more efficiently and expand their operations.

Their objectives are laudable, but there’s just one problem: They largely don’t work.

Participation rates in the programs aren’t very high. People who do participate often drop out, if the program lasts more than a few days, and unsurprisingly, it’s hard to teach important results in that time. For that matter, participants might be right to ignore the program or drop out, as research suggests that the programs don’t reliably increase income.

This isn’t to say every skills training program is ineffective. But even the programs that do show results often don’t stand up to cost-benefit analysis: The results they get are worse than if they just gave people the money that is spent on training them.

That said, recent research has found cost-effective results for programs that take a combined approach: training and mentoring, plus direct grants of assets. Those programs, more than just pure skill-training approaches, look to be worth further study and investment going forward. more>

The Costly Zero Sum Game That’s Fueling The Skills Gap

By Jake Schwartz – Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates suggest, for example, that there will be 1 million more computing jobs than applicants to fill them by 2020.

Of course, the skills gap is about more than just supply and demand. It stems from what economists call “friction,” exacerbated by megatrends like the shrinking shelf life of skills and persistent equity gaps in K-12 and higher education systems struggling to keep up with the pace of change. But it also reflects decades of self-inflicted wounds within corporate America.

I’ve observed three troubling drivers of the economic friction fueling the skills gap:

  1. a surprising lack of visibility and long-term planning around concrete skill and talent needs within the enterprise;
  2. incredible inertia around and adherence to old-school hiring practices that perpetuate growing equity gaps through a search for new skills in conventional places; and
  3. a tendency to misplace hope that our higher education and workforce development systems can somehow “solve” the problem with minimal corporate involvement or responsibility.

Imagine the possibilities if just a fraction of that spending was allocated to investments in re-skilling existing workers.

And yet, corporate training fads, from an obsession with online training (it’s cheaper), to a belief that all employees should spend their off-hours being “self-guided learners,” only exacerbate the delta between average investments in talent acquisition ($20,000 to $40,000 per head) and corporate training ($1,000 per person per year). more>

The geography of desperation in America

By Carol Graham, Sergio Pinto, and John Juneau II – America today is as divided as it has ever been, in terms of incomes and opportunities, politics, and, perhaps most importantly, hopes and dreams.

Hope matters.

As our earlier work shows, individuals who do not believe in their futures are much less likely to invest in them—as in education, health, and job training. This increases the odds of America becoming even more unequal in the future. These divisions are corrosive to our society, our polity, our civic discourse, and to our health.

There are high costs to falling behind—and losing hope—in a very wealthy society that prides itself on being a meritocracy (even though the reality is far from the reputation). The starkest marker of these costs is the increase in premature mortality among significant sectors of our society—due to preventable deaths such as suicide, opioid, and other drug overdoses, and heart, liver, and lung diseases.

These deaths are most prevalent among uneducated middle-aged whites in rural areas, but the latest (2015) data show increased prevalence across a wider range of ages, races, and places. more> https://goo.gl/a3478E

Will robots make job training (and workers) obsolete?

By Harry J. Holzer – Automation eliminates the number of workers needed per unit of good or service produced. By reducing unit costs it raises productivity and, in a competitive market, product prices should decline. All else equal, this will raise consumer demand for the good or service in question.

Whether or not this rise in product demand is sufficiently large to raise overall employment for the product depends on whether the fall in workers needed per unit of production is proportionately lesser or greater than the rise in the numbers of units demanded; if lesser, than product demand will rise.

Labor economists believe that workers mostly pay for general skill development (often in the form of lower wages, when the training occurs on the job), while employers are willing to share more in the costs of developing worker skills more specific to their needs.6 A shift away from specific towards more general skill training will thus involve a shift of the costs of training away from employers towards workers (or the public), and less sharing of any risks involved in whether the market rewards those skills over time.

Some workers whose tasks can mostly be performed by machines will be displaced, while demand is enhanced for others who can work along with the new machines—perhaps as technicians or engineers but also in a range of newer tasks that the machines cannot perform, including more complex analysis or social interactions with customers and coworkers. more> https://goo.gl/pveH2W

Training to Become a Better Manager? Here’s Why It Might Fail You

By Marla Gottschal – We may be hurting future managers/leaders — because they may feel completely prepared, when in fact, they are not.

One key failing may be the narrow contextual focus of managerial training, or in other words, if training can be readily applied to our own work. When we train for a specific situation or even a certain set of variables, training can fall short. The content may not translate to, or mirror, what we experience back in the real world. This limits the impact of training upon our future performance.

One opportunity is developing the elements that comprise psychological capital— a construct that emphasizes feelings of hope, self-efficacy, resiliency and optimism (The HERO variables). Developing resiliency is a perfect illustration. more> http://goo.gl/F98FvG

Why You Don’t Need To Spend A Dime On Training New Hires

By Avi Singer – Here are some hidden assets companies might not know they have.

Allow your area experts to develop training materials. These could include checklists, written guides, or even video demos that can be shared online. Then allow trainees to rate their trainers based on qualities like communication skills, knowledge, and friendliness.

The more opportunities employees have to communicate with one another and share knowledge, the more learning will take place. more> http://tinyurl.com/namqelz

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Why Germany is so much better at training its workers

By Tamar Jacoby – Both employers and employees want more from an apprenticeship than short-term training. Our group heard the same thing in plant after plant: We’re teaching more than skills.

“In the future, there will be robots to turn the screws,” one educator told us. “We don’t need workers for that. What we need are people who can solve problems”

-— skilled, thoughtful, self-reliant employees who understand the company’s goals and methods and can improvise when things go wrong or when they see an opportunity to make something work better. more> http://tinyurl.com/nljv4ae

Space Shuttle Update (2)

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SPACE WATCH – NASA TV
Boeing:
Slide show · Book (pdf)

T-38 Silhouette
NASA – A T-38 jet is silhouetted against the sun in flight. NASA astronauts train in the T-38s to prepare for flying the space shuttle. Credit: NASA/Terry Virts

The T-38 remains a fixture for astronaut training more than 30 years later because the sleek, white jets make pilots and mission specialists think quickly in changing situations, mental experiences the astronauts say are critical to practicing for the rigors of spaceflight.

T-38s diving
Powered by two afterburning General Electric J85 engines, a T-38 can fly supersonic, faster than the speed of sound, and soar above 40,000 feet, about 10,000 feet higher than airliners typically cruise. The plane can wrench its pilots through more than seven Gs, or seven times the force of gravity. That’s enough to make simply lifting hands a feat of strength and breathing a labored chore. It’ll make one’s neck feel like it is balancing a cinder block. It’s also more than enough to make the average person black out. more> http://twurl.nl/8ghnt2