Once upon a time, employees received encouragement to become the singular best at their craft by focusing their energies on becoming experts in their fields. This was part of a business culture that celebrated subject matter experts who maintained the status quo by enrolling in annual training that reinforces the they very skills they’ve known all of their professional lives. Consequently, some employees received recognition for being solely dedicated to one’s industry and business acumen.
During my parents’ generation, people often stayed within the same career field with a singular focus on their craft. As a result a lot of people retired from work after 20 or 30 years in the same field with a great sense of accomplishment. Now, there is nothing wrong with this type of career focus. However, a “career singular sensation paradox” can occur when an employee becomes complacent and no longer focuses on learning new things at work. Which begs the question: what happens when you reach the pinnacle of your career field?
Overtime, the emergence of the global market place sparked a newer, nimble type of employee who continues to evolve as the marketplace continues to change. According to a Harvard Business Review article titled It’s the Company’s Job to Help Employees Learn, “people’s employability is not based on what they already know, it’s their ability to learn.” It helps to know that there are more opportunities for continuous learning through one’s career. The goal is for employees to explore a variety of educational opportunities outside of their current level of ability. In addition, access to learning opportunities at work may generate a feeling of empowerment among employees because they can see that their work efforts are not running on “auto-pilot”.
Moreover, according to an Entrepreuner.com article, when employees feel empowered at work they focus on becoming “organizational innovators.” These innovators will generate new ideas, share knowledge and bring others along for the journey. Part of the process includes encouraging employees to take on new roles in the organization where they enhance their problem-solving skills, applying newly learned skill sets and network with others outside of their usual work groups.