What does Job Ready Mean?

I read a really interesting Blog post today from HRNinja entitled:

Do Job ready Programs Work?

It got me thinking again about a range of issues around new staff starting a role in an organisation, be they entry  or executive level or anywhere in between, but in particular what is it we mean by job ready.  Now of course the content of what we mean by job ready for a senior executive, is going to be different from a long term unemployed person looking to gain an entry level position in an organisation, but to me it comes down to the idea that the person is ready and able to step into the role they are taking on and that the organisation is able to provide them with the information, technology and support that they need to do the role.

There is a lot of noise made by training organisations both public and private (at the entry level) that their programs produce staff who are Job Ready, unfortunately in most cases that is not the case in a significant amount of cases.  I suppose that I should add for clarity sake here that I am primary talking about those programs that are not connected to organisations, where members f the general public sign up to undertake a course in say Aged Care, because for what ever reason they want a job in Aged Care and the provider has told them this course will provide them with the skills that they need.

Whereas in reality, in some circumstances, the training provider is more interested in getting the person through the course as quickly as possible in order to make sure they get their relevant funding payments, than in actually ensuring that the person has the skills.  Even when it is the case that the program focuses on the skills of the participant, they still often come out of the program thinking that they are ready for employment only to find that they are under prepared for the workplace they are entering.  Employers also I think fall into the same trap in a number of ways, they hire people of the strength of their qualifications only to find that they need to do a substantial amount of work in order to ensure that the person is able to do the role they have been hired for, or they send people to training in the hope that when they come back they will have the skills and knowledge they need for their new role.  The problem is again that this in a lot of cases simply doesn’t happen for a range of reasons.

So why is this such an issue, well because of the costs involved, if a new hire is not, for various reasons, able to do the role that they have been hired for, for a period of time, then this costs the organisation money.  If individuals ‘spend’ their training funding on courses which they expect, mainly due to advertising, will get them a vocation and then find out that they can’t get a job, this costs the government or the individual money and disadvantages the person who has undertaken the course.

Now I understand that training providers are preparing participants against a generic set of industry standard performance criteria, but I think that they can do better, particularly if they build strong links with organisations and industry, create opportunities for participants to undertake real work-placements rather than competency assessment in simulated environments and just work a bit harder to make sure that they are producing what industry needs.

Of course if it is difficult to ensure that people being training to undertake specific rolls, even entry level ones, are job ready, then what do we mean by job ready in the more workforce participation sense, where the skills and knowledge that are being providing to participants are those preparatory style skills.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t be running these types of programs, we need to do things that assist people to be able to participate in the workplace, but we need to be doing the right things and again we need to ensure that the skills that are being taught to these participants are actually worthwhile and will produce someone who in at least some sense of the word could be called ‘Job Ready’.

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You can lead a horse to the water but you cannot make him enjoy the view

I think this is a great little article, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. L&D is responsible for the content and the delivery, but the individual learners and the managers who send them are responsible for engagement and understanding of why the person is on this particular course at this particular time and transfer of learning when they get back to the workplace.

Musings of a French OD consultant in India

horse water

“How can you assure us that every participant will be engaged in your workshop?” was asking a client recently. “I can’t assure you of that, I am afraid. My role is to create the conditions for each style of learner to feel comfortable in engaging, but at the end of the day it also depends on the willingness of each of them.” was my answer.

Learner engagement is critical to successful training but who is responsible for it? The facilitator, the learner HR, the business? In my opinion, it is everyone’s responsibility.

The facilitator’s responsibility is to ensure that content is relevant to the audience, the facilitation techniques are varied enough to create a certain rhythm to the session, the mix between activities, debriefs, facilitated discussions and content download is balanced in a way that satisfy all learning styles and to create a compelling story that links back to the…

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Accountability, Innovation, Agility and the skills Gap

So yesterday I went to a fantastic presentation from Denise Myerson and the MCI Team including the wonderful Natasha Wright about their recent

trip to the recent SHRM Conference in the US and the themes and trends that came out of it.  The four major themes (see the title of this blog post) were

  1. Accountability
  2. Innovation
  3. Agility
  4. Skills Gap

Now what I found really interesting about the afternoon was the fact that these four issues or challenges if you will resonate quite strongly both personally and organisationally, in particularly agility and the skills gaps.  When I look at the way the landscape has changed over the last few years, in the not-for-profit and government sectors, in Learning and Development and HR and in the business world in general, Accountability and the ability to respond in an Agile manner to the myriad of challenges which face us every day do call for innovative solutions.  The real problem I see is the skills gap, when I look at the health and community services sector, the mining and industry sectors we are all crying out for staff who have the right skills, attributes and behaviours to meet the needs of industry, particularly at entry level positions, and in highly technical areas.

We seem to have a situation at least in my opinion where we have plenty of  people who skills that are not relevant to the needs of industry, who aren’t interested in entry level positions, who are unwilling to do something that is outside of their vocation or to be retrained and we seem to pander to these attitudes.   If we don’t find ways to address the skills gap, if we don’t have people with the right skills and behaviours in the right roles then how can we possibly hope to respond in Accountable, innovative and agile ways to the next challenge that comes along.

In Learning, It’s Okay to be a Rule-Breaker

I really like Michelle’s blog post about thinking outside the square and breaking some rules when it comes to learning experiences. Sometimes, particularly with very senior people, they have done all of the iterations of learning presentation before and if you can find something different, they will engage on a much deeper level.

learning-rulebreaker

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. When it comes to developing learning programs, I’m a bit of a rule-breaker. There are smarties out there who have developed complex models on how adults learn, where adults learn and why we should follow these rules.  I respect them. And sure, they have merit. But the rigidity is where I’m left shaking my head. Every organization is unique. People, industries and priorities vary. How can we expect this one-size-fits-all approach to be effective?

Today, my mind goes to the humble training session.  Namely, mind-numbing training sessions, where PowerPoint reigns supreme. Tell me, how can a facilitator believe that spewing dozens of wordy slides at participants equates a learning experience?

Not long ago, I was talking to a colleague about this very topic. He told me about some creative things his team was doing, which sent my mind spinning…

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Being your best self at work

Another insightful piece from Sukh Pabial – I also enjoy reading what you write. Keep up the good work

Thinking About Learning

Us L&Ders, we talk a foreign language most of the time. It’s all about personal development, self awareness, learning, skills, competencies, and more. It’s a language unique to the profession, and often needs explaining to the other parts of the business. We’re not the only ones guilty of that. Marketing have their communications, PR and messaging. Operations have their opportunity cost, rate cards and utilisation targets. Sales have their… erm… sales targets?

In a post not long ago, I wrote about soft skills not being soft, and Meg Peppin wrote a post about how we’re not pink and fluffy.

Let’s follow this through a bit.

I want and believe can be their best self. But what is that? Be your best self. It’s such an alien phrase in everyday language, and doesn’t mean a lot to most people. What do you mean be my best self? Is my…

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Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and VET education

Is Education Snobbery still alive and well in Australia?

As some of you might know one of my first posts on this blog was about Academic snobbery and the perceived value of VET qualifications, where I talked about the ‘I have a degree, why would I want a workplace (VET) qualification?’ and what it said about the perception of the value of VET sector qualifications.

This whole idea of the VET and organisational learning sectors, not being as professional, rigorous, or just plain good, as the ‘Teaching and Academic sectors’ has risen up in a number of conversations I have had with people recently.  This time however it has been the ‘But that just training’ or ‘They are just a trainer, I’m a teacher/lecturer’  commentary.  What I find really interesting about this is that I almost never here this language from people in the organisational learning and VET sectors only from those in the teaching and university sectors.  The other thing that I find interesting is this (and I am going to generalise here so beware);

Teachers are experts in practice of teaching, they are not for the most part subject matter experts;

Lecturers and Academics are subject matter experts, and not for the most part experts in the practice of teaching;

VET and organisation learning practitioners are expected to be both, they must have subject matter knowledge and expertise and they must hold training qualifications.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that practitioners in the VET and organisational learning sector are better or more qualified than those in other sectors.   I have known over the years outstanding teacher, lecturers and trainers, I have also known some, in all three sectors, that were downright awful and made me wonder how they managed to continue to be employed.

So  lets stop this petty bickering about who or what sector is best, applaud great talent where we find it and work together to ensure that the people we educate get the best outcomes they can regardless of the sector they are in.

Increasing revenue per available wallet – the L&D challenge

I found this article from Yana, a really interesting take on where L&D should be focusing its interventions. It is something that I have been banging on about for a while, unless L&D is actively contributing to the bottom line of the organisation we seriously risk being seen as less relevant.

Nice Article Yana

yanaabakeliya

Background
If you were to picture a journey of our average guest in a hotel as a journey through a supermarket with a shopping trolley, at the check-out you will see he has purchased a wonderful comfortable bed, possibly a delicious Full English breakfast, most likely Wi-Fi and maybe even a G&T or two from the bar. “Not a very exciting shopping list” – myself and our Director of Operations thought, while pondering on the whole subject of being ‘commercially aware’ and what did that actually mean to us, to the front line team members and how can they become these ‘commercially aware’ gurus. How do you measure commercial awareness? Better still, how do you teach and motivate your core workforce to become “aware”. And then the ultimate question of how do we use this commercial awareness to drive our revenues?

The Challenge
I was about to be tasked with…

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