Learnability: A Scorecard For Success
A couple of weeks ago, with the Olympics in full swing, I read an article about gymnastic champion Simone Biles. It discussed what makes her so good, and one part in particular stood out for me: “According to her coach, she will learn a new skill in three days, while most gymnasts take months or years to master a move”.
This ability to quickly master new moves gives her a real edge over her competitors. There are lots of reasons why Simone has achieved such an impressive haul of medals at Rio 2016. But her heightened ability to learn is a key one.
‘Learnability’ isn’t just important for Olympians though. Having the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt your skill set is essential, no matter what your job is. After all, higher learnability correlates with being more educated, better prepared for employment, and higher pay. What’s more, people with high learnability tend to continue learning, so the benefits grow over time.
We decided to dig into this a bit deeper. We interviewed 19,000 Millennials, and found that they have varying degrees of desire, capability and commitment to learning. We identified three different levels of learnability – and what you do to motivate and upskill an individual needs to align with the stage they’re at. Let’s look at the three levels of learnability in more detail:
These are workers who are positive about their job prospects, and take responsibility for their own training and development. They’re eager to learn, and would even consider moving jobs for skills training. So employers need to focus on creating opportunities to keep these individuals engaged.
Potential Learners recognise that training and development will lead to career success, but they’re not quite High Learners yet. By offering safe learning environments and regularly talking about their future career, you’ll help them to map out attainable development goals with clear pathways and outcomes.
Our research found that 7% of the workforce are ‘Low Learners’. They don’t have much of an appetite for training at all. It may be a challenge to move this group up. So employers should assess learnability factors early-on and make them a part of the initial hiring discussion.
Why do employers need to nurture learnability?
In the past, employers had more time, managers and resources to develop people. But that’s not the case anymore. Today, they want faster time-to-value and need to move people on and up from Potential to High Learner quicker.
Understanding an individual’s learnability potential is a key indicator of the support they’ll need to succeed. Employers need to recognise and reward learnability. They need to nurture it, or they’ll risk losing out or lacking critical skills in their workforce.
For a more detailed look at learnability and the preferences of Millennials around the world, take a look at our recent report Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision.