Intentional learning: Thriving in the present and the future
Intentional learning is pretty self explanatory. You set out to learn something specific. You discover a shortage of information—information preventing you from attaining status or accomplishing a goal, now and in the future, and you set out to learn, to gain knowledge or a useful skill that will serve in accomplishing these aims.
All industries, insurance included, will feel the effects of automation and the implementation of AI (artificial intelligence) in the future. Many are already witnessing what current technology can do in reference to the acquisition and handling of complex data. This technology may now only be visible as a ripple in the water but due to its efficiency and effectiveness in handling repetitive tasks and identifying trends in information, it will most likely become a wave that touches the majority of our economies and lives.
Combined with coming technologies and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, intentional learning will become essential to the continued development of a company’s workforce. Those advances and changes in workplace communication have been called a digital disruption, an increase in the overall digital presence and usage of digital communication in business. To be frank, not every company was ready for these changes and, as a result, those who could not adapt to working in a nontraditional setting suffered major setbacks, not excluding the shuttering of businesses.
These successes and failures can show the insurance industry two major points regarding intentional learning:
One, a work force does not have to be tech experts to function in a technological setting. Specialized training on specific technology can accomplish a satisfactory base level of proficiency or savviness that will allow the employees of an organization to maintain “business as usual.”
Two, technology is only half of the equation. We have talked about soft skills in the past, but now, more than ever, when communicating coworker to coworker or company to client, we must develop those skills that allow human beings to interact and communicate more effectively when the advantage of face-to-face is not an acceptable or available option.
So … how do you get started? Learning isn’t difficult. We do it every day without realizing it, but identifying the knowledge essential to your and your business’ success specifically requires more scrutiny and discipline to have the desired effect.
Identify your goal
Know the “why” of what you are doing. Education that is just part of your job or expected is not really enough to accomplish any lasting change. You have to have a goal, a point of success and accomplishment that you can call your own. Companies must encourage their workforce by creating a culture that rewards and enables those who value self improvement and continued education. Investing in the development of employees and enabling them to better meet future professional demands will leave both employee and company better equipped for potential challenges.
Have a plan
The key to an effective education and the ability to retain that information is diversity. Learning and retaining knowledge requires a system that presents and applies what an employee has learned in different ways. Through many different applications, technical knowledge and soft skills become a constant factor, a piece of that individual’s world, a cog in that individual’s process and eventually a part of that company’s culture.
Let time pass
As we engage in intentional learning and take the knowledge we have gained out into the world, using what we have learned changes our perspective and allows us new opportunities to see how the learning process has affected how we interact with those in our physical or virtual workspaces.
Pass it along
Intentional learning provides opportunities to further develop our usage of potentially essential technologies and to improve our interpersonal skills. Encouraging a workforce to utilize these services and devices, to learn how to increase the efficiency and opportunities for communication, will undoubtedly result in stronger professional bonds and more dynamic professional communities.
The James Allen Companies is always looking for ways to help our clients strengthen their companies by providing access to exceptional and specialized talent within the insurance industry and, through tools like intentional learning, strengthen the exceptional workforce they already possess.