Put your employees in the driving seat of their sustainable employability

HR/learning in organisations

Sustainable employability is increasingly the subject of discussion in collective labor agreement negotiations. But what is it really?

Developments are going at a rapid pace. Technology, globalisation and unexpected situations such as a pandemic require organisations to be always alert. If you're not paying attention, you'll be overtaken by an ever-awake competitor who has gone along with the issues of the day.

Then, as a company, you may have just missed the boat.

But with razor-sharp management and an enthusiastic marketing and product development department alone, you're not there yet. The employees in the workplace must also move along.

After all, they are the engine of the company. If the staff gets too hung up on old habits and yesterday's knowledge, an organisation will slowly but surely sink in.

So the motto is: make sure that your workforce remains agile, valuable and vital at least until retirement age. That is what sustainable employability is all about.

But it's not always easy to make this happen.

A Raet HR Benchmark shows that as many as 51% of employers are seriously concerned about the competencies of their staff.

That these concerns are not for nothing is evident from the 30% of the employees interviewed, who say they do nothing about their own development.

Admittedly, 53% of the other employees do attend education or training, but this is mainly focused on being able to maintain their current position.

So we're not talking about growth, development or using new talents in a future position (now hip, labeled as 'second skilling').

How do you really put your employees in the right position for action?

We'd like to share a few tried and tested tips with you to get employees excited about sustainable employability in your organisation.

1. Give everyone a personal development budget

More and more collective agreements have already made agreements about this, but that usually boils down to some generalities.

It is therefore important to design an arrangement tailored to your organisation that is easy to read, easy to implement and easily accessible to everyone.

Please note: we are not just talking about a training budget for higher management. In fact, it's also about middle management colleagues and people in the workplace.

This group is not always used to studying or thinking about mobility. Moreover, it is often precisely those who carry out the core business in physically demanding or monotonous positions. Therefore, pay extra attention to reaching and training these pillars of the organisation.

2. Develop a common vision of sustainable employability

For many people, the term “sustainable employability” is a somewhat elusive buzzword. It seems like a long way from their bed show, yet it is an essential prerequisite, not only for the survival of the organisation, but also for their own job satisfaction.

Lower that threshold by inviting colleagues to think together about a vision for sustainable employability.

  • What do they understand by this and what do they find important, both for themselves and for the company?
  • What strategic choices could be made to ensure that everyone can stay healthy and happy at work?

Incorporate the results of this joint inventory into the business strategy and, above all, don't forget to take concrete actions. In this way, the beautiful plans are actually realised in practice. And that's what it's about, of course.

3. Have forward-looking career talks

Of course, an HR department can provide support and contribute ideas, but the real players in a career interview are really the manager and employee themselves. It is important that both discuss career wishes and vitality in a good way at least once a year.

Extra conversation skills training is not an unnecessary luxury for many managers. A career interview should not leave any of the interlocutors feeling like a mandatory number or a leap of faith.

It's about real personal attention in a safe setting. If someone has complaints, is cautiously thinking about another job, or if there are private problems that intersect with a career, these issues must be able to be discussed.

4. Select the right tools

Consider what is needed within the organisation in terms of training, knowledge bases and other forms of support, such as assessments and career checks. The best thing is when the ideas for this come from the employees themselves, so feel free to launch a small survey organisation-wide.

Also ask the MT about future plans and market trends, and link learning paths to them. Make the offer as varied as possible: from knowledge snacks to complete courses, from 'need to know'to'nice to have'.

This is followed by the next challenge: setting up a learning platform or “learning house”. Opt for a not too complicated setup with an obvious menu, especially don't make a maze where people won't get out and drop out.

Your own learning platform? Get started with Pluvo for free!

This blog is about the employee's own direction: so it is important that someone is intrinsically motivated to 'shop' in the learning environment. Then there must also be something relevant, funny, surprising or interesting to find.

So fill this internal knowledge source with the most diverse options so that there is something for everyone (see our first tip: offer training courses at all levels, from senior management to household workers and everything in between).

Make the learning environment accessible via an app that works smoothly from the phone or tablet so that you can study and reflect anytime, anywhere.

5. Create opportunities

Sustainable employability is also about being able to retain employees to the organisation. This is different from tying an employee to the current office chair.

Give everyone development opportunities and mobility. It is precisely offering future prospects that will contribute to the fact that an employee will want to stay connected to the organisation.

Make clear agreements about vacancy, recruitment and selection. Don't look outside immediately for suitable candidates, but let internal applicants come first.

If there are employees with a priority position, such as relocators due to health problems or reorganisation, do not hide them, but give them a fair chance of a new job that is appropriate.

Does someone have ambitions to grow, but are there no prospects within the organisation? Above all, don't close the door, but think along with the employee.

A pleasant completion of employment, preferably with a warm transfer to the successor, is so nice for all parties.

The world is small: you may just meet again in the future. Then it's nice if you can both look back on the past with a good feeling.

Need more ideas?

That is certainly possible! As an expert in online learning environments, we are happy to think along with you. So feel free to contact us for an informal informative conversation!

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