Organisations and their leaders need encouragement. A list of shame will not encourage good behaviour. The latest immigration policy clanger from the Conservative government that organisations will have to name their workers from overseas and the unsurprising backlash by government fails to address a problem we have in the UK economy – training.
Enterprise training budgets are the first to be cut, if they existed in the first place. Many go through a career with barely any training at all. The University of life may have its strengths, but its syllabus is erratic and does not lead the student to reflect on the implications of actions.
Yet as we discuss on this title and at our forums on a regular basis, the environment business operate within is constantly shifting and requires new skills. Many CIOs find themselves having to move out old skill sets and then go on an arduous journey to find new skills. Lifelong learning is a cultural facet we as citizens; as business leaders; as organisations need to adopt. Only last week Mark Spelman of the World Economic Forum told business leaders organisations must have a responsibility to older generations; well why not re-educate them and then re-educate them again so your organisation can hold onto domain knowledge, grow loyalty and be at the forefront of change.
For this culture change to happen our government needs to encourage businesses, not shame them. The attitude of the political classes is to name and shame, “call it out” on Twitter, with no appreciation for the challenges of the vertical market or meeting a deadline are unhelpful and demonstrate their disconnect with reality. Government needs to do more to encourage training and development; look at how apprenticeships have taken off with Government support. But let’s go further; for years various premiers have promised support for organisations that invest in Research & Development (R&D), why are their not tax breaks for businesses that provide employee bus travel or rail ticket support and ease congestion and environmental pressure. As the UK economy moves into its most uncertain period of history, government encouragement could be the platform for training and ensuring CIOs have the skills they need at their disposal, and therefore so does the economy. A well trained and innovative workforce is something we can export, ending an over reliance on (very welcome) overseas talent.
A government that encouraged lifelong learning could also create the platform for training innovation. It is not easy to track down training at present and those organisational groups that perhaps should be filling the void (where are the trade unions in this helping their members adapt).
Trainline CTO Mark Holt recently told attendees to this title’s Innovation Leadership Summit that organisations should embrace and employ people who are working with languages like Go, he said these are the people, and these are the skills that will disrupt your organisation. It is far more powerful to encourage and develop your own talent pool to develop skills and bring them inside to help with disruption.
It is not all doom and gloom and you won’t find this title shaming its community. Organisations such as eSynergy, who partnered with Horizon publishers Icon Business Media to create the Innovation Leadership Summit, sponsor a number of education opportunities through SkillsMatter, the host partners of the Innovation Leadership Summit and I know that a number of CIOs appreciated the partnership Horizon created and are exploring next steps.
So I call on the government to stop trying to shift the blame for immigration on the shoulders of business, I call on the government to lead, to encourage and create the environment where business can constantly develop its people, to create the economic conditions where organisations feel they can do without a key resource for a day so that training can take place. Lists do little for anyone other than the list writer. We must create a culture of learning and self-development.