Specialised learning agility

Finding employees who can learn your business

Humans have an instinctive and natural fear of the unknown. When we cannot understand something or do not know how to respond it can elicit intense feeling of anxiety and distress. It was this fear that drove our ancestors to discover fire, allowing them to fend off the unknown hidden in the darkness. Yet while this demonstrates the concept of learning agility, starting fires may not be right for your business – and certainly not the office. Cat Whitford, VP of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at NCH Europe, explores the idea of specialised learning agility.

Any business operating in a fast-paced environment innately generates the need for its people to be able to adjust to changes quickly and effectively, maintaining momentum in a shifting work landscape. This disposition and mentality not only benefits businesses but is also a strong factor in the professional success of individuals.

These qualities form the basis of learning agility, a concept that demonstrates the ability of an individual to manage change and adopt new knowledge or skills. However, this is such a broad blanket term that it can be difficult to measure in regards to industry relevance. After all, primitive man may have had the capacity to start a fire but it’s unlikely they could relay the importance of people management!

This is where specialised learning agility becomes important, as it enables businesses to choose the right employee every time. Put simply, this can be determined by looking at the interests and personality of the individual as opposed to just a skill set or background. Not only can this help in choosing a candidate who is the right cultural fit for a company, but also highlighting where their passions and abilities lie as well as offering insight into how they approach tasks.

For example, if an industrial maintenance company is advertising vacancies in its sales team, assessing a candidate's experience in operating in a sales environment may not quite go far enough in identifying their ability to tackle the role. While beneficial, sales experience may not go far enough if the person is not able to take on an understanding of the product or industry.

On the other hand, if the company were to interview a candidate and ascertain that they have a hands-on approach to DIY or spent their spare time working on their car or motorbike, they would probably be more capable in terms of understanding and demonstrating complex technical products.

At NCH Europe, we pride ourselves on both disrupting markets with our innovative solutions to industrial problems and our well-trained and knowledgeable sales teams. As many of our technologies are unique, this can only be achieved by finding people who are receptive to our technical information and have the learning agility to develop new knowledge. By viewing candidates and employees as people, as opposed to seeing them as numbers or accumulated skill sets, we can accurately determine how their abilities and talents align with our sector.

The mental agility of our ancestors enabled them to not just create a solution to confront their fears, but to lay the foundations for future development and success. Learning agility may not mean everybody has the potential to discover fire, but it does mean that businesses can discover the trailblazers they need to learn how to use it.