“Learning is the human capital accelerant of the enterprise,” writes Michael E. Echols, Vice-President of strategic initiatives at Bellevue University, in the April 2016 issue of CLOmedia.com. According to Echols, a significant segment of the country’s corporate culture believes that human capital formation only includes the process of training or developing new employees. Echols contends that if recruitment and retention were added to the quotient, the country wouldn’t have such a large gap between job applicants’ skills and unfilled positions.

Echols is referring to the U.S. Labor Department statistic of 5.6 million unfilled jobs at the end of December 2015. This gap reveals a serious problem in aligning job applicants’ skills with company employment needs—and here’s where learning skills comes into play, says Echols.

In the past, the major reason for the gap could be traced to the scarcity of job applicants with advanced technical skills. This appears to be no longer the case. According to Burning Glass Technologies, a company which describes itself as “Developing the World’s Leading Technologies for Matching People with Jobs,” employers report a need for “soft or baseline skills”—writing, communication, problem-solving and organization.[1]

This current job alignment gap provides an excellent opportunity for learning leaders to expand their purview beyond merely training and developing new employees. Behind the policy of restricting new employer activities to merely training them to assume their new position may be the self-limiting fear that once employees have been trained for long-term employment, they will leave. Learning practices sourced from fear and issues of insecurity are doomed at the outset.

Echols advises making learning and development a recruitment and retention tool. If recruiters effectively match applicants with their job skills at the outset and provide ample training and coaching thereafter, searching for another position would rarely if ever be an issue for consideration.

To ensure success and employment retention, Lean Learning has developed a carefully structured step-by-step process based on well-seasoned principles, rules, strategies, and tools. If employees are competently trained and the company’s learning environment encourages strong positive values leading to upward mobility, why would they want to leave? Utilization of Lean’s expert recruitment tools and a staff of Lean leaders trained in securing employee trust and on-the-job confidence are basic to any Lean organization. This type of workplace culture sets the stage for successful recruitment—and for a successful organization.

About Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.

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[1]Echols, Michael E., “Learning and Recruitment’s Partnership.” CLOMedia.com, April 2016.