L&D / HR Should Be The Architects Of Lifelong Learning

L&D / HR Should Be The Architects Of Lifelong Learning
Summary: LearningCafe conducted a survey on "Should L&D/HR be Architects of Lifelong Learning in the Workforce?". Results so far indicate that there is lot of support from HR and Learning and Development for supporting lifelong learning in the workforce.

Why L&D And HR Should Be The Architects Of Lifelong Learning

At LearningCafe and CapabilityCafe, we believe that organizations should actively support employees to become lifelong learners and that HR and Learning and Development should be the architects and evangelists to make this happen.

Lifelong Learning Is Essential For Long Term Employability

The need for lifelong learning is coming to the front, due to rapid changes in jobs and the skills required. The Economist dedicated the January 2017 issue to lifelong learning, and recommended that the Government step in to provide lifelong learning by funding and providing access to citizens. They also acknowledged that this will otherwise be difficult to achieve.

"The classic model of education —a burst at the start and top-ups through company training— is breaking down" - Economist

3 Benefits Of Lifelong Learning For Organizations

Organizations will benefit from encouraging lifelong learning in the following ways:

1. Workforce That Are Nimble And Flexible Learners

Helping your employees to be continuous learners creates a mindset and capability that overcomes the "learning inertia" to pick up new skills required for changing business requirements. This reduces the time and risk of failure of new business initiatives, products, and services.

2. Increases Employee Engagement

The days when employees stayed with an organizations for many years and decades are numbered. Organizations are increasingly moving to a contingent workforce of part time and contractors, which allows them to react quicker to changing market. The downside of this is the decreasing loyalty and engagement of employees with their employer. Why bother doing your best when there is an increasing chance that you will be let go.

While organizations cannot ensure long term jobs, they can actively help them prepare for long term "employability" i.e.we recognize that we can't give you a job for that long but we are interested in your welfare and will help you to pick up skills that you will require after this job or the next one.

3. Fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility

In helping employees become Lifelong Learners, organizations are contributing directly to making the nations workforce more competitive and ready for the future. They will also benefit from being able to recruit from a better skill pool.

Survey Results

We conducted a survey for our upcoming webinar on Thurs, 25th May, 12 - 1 pm Sydney time on "Should L&D/HR be Architects of Lifelong Learning in the Workforce?". Results so far indicate that there is a lot of support from HR &L&D for supporting lifelong learning in the workforce.Lifelong Learning in the Workforce - Survey Results LearningCafe

  • 65% responded that supporting lifelong learning is a core value of HR/L&D, as the main motivation. A further 30% were motivated by better business outcomes accruing.
  • One third of the respondents identified continuous skill improvement as the main benefit to organizations. Another third identified increased employee engagement and 27% as helping adapt to change, as the main benefit.

Lifelong Learning in the Workforce - Survey Results

  • 63% of the respondents identified themselves as lifelong learners and 32% as occasional.
  • 73% of the respondents identified coaching and support as the best method while another 18% said it was access to courses.


  • There is lot of support for helping employees become lifelong learners. It did appeal to the core values of HR/L&D of human/employee development.
  • HR/L&D could see the business benefits of supporting lifelong learning. They now need to put up a convincing business case for funding and support from senior management.
  • Many of the HR/L&D respondents considered themselves Lifelong Learners. A case of HR/L&D walking the talk.
  • Coaching and support for lifelong learning was considered the best way to support lifelong learning.

Should HR/L&D Be The Architects Of Lifelong Learning?

HR and L&D are best placed to lead the charge and here is a summary.

  • Provide their employees opportunities to consume learning on wide ranging topics through classroom courses or online content, even it don't relate to their current or future role. For example by providing basic accounting courses to call center reps, they can be prepared to start their own business when the need arises.
  • Structure workplace policies that help lifelong learning including increasing funding for workforce to pursue further education and giving them some time to pursue learning during work time.
  • Teach employees "how to learn" to help them overcome the "learning inertia" and become more effective learners.
  • Scan for learning opportunities outside of the workplace and bring it to the attention of employees e.g classes conducted by the local council or community college.
  • Provide a platform for people to plan access and track learning by using your Learning Management System (LMS) or content curation platform.