Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us
In previous years, companies created environments that allowed for lifelong employment within their organizations. Employees would often begin and end their careers within that company and earn a pension for their contributions. This economic construct has, for all intents and purposes, has been phased out and replaced by a new employment arrangement - lifelong employability. Individuals now compete within a global labor market, changing jobs every few years, and have the individual responsibility of being employable throughout their lives.

Without deliberate effort on the part of the employee and the employer, this new reality has the potential to hurt companies and employees alike, albeit in different ways. In a global marketplace, where everything is out-sourceable and the requirements for success are a moving target, employers and employees alike may find themselves without the requisite talent to succeed as a business or as an individual.

Employee-Employer Partnerships in Lifelong Employability

Companies who do not invest in their employees will always find themselves at a competitive disadvantage when market conditions force new skill requirements on their employee set. This means that either the company must play catch up in training, require their employees to shoulder the burden themselves (in which case they may just leave), or hire new employees who will cost the company time as the new employees are slowly incorporated into the company’s culture, workflow and market conditions.

Individuals who do not continually invest in their capabilities, training and credentialing run the risk that their current job may disappear, or change so radically in the requisite skills that they are no longer qualified to hold it. Continual training and credentialing, in new and relevant skills, act as a form of employment insurance for the employee. Prepare or perish.

A paradigm wherein the individual bears the entire burden of training serves neither the organization, nor the employee for the above stated reasons.

A partnership between companies and their employees is in order. Instead of guaranteeing lifelong employment, companies should now partner with their employees to enable lifelong employability. In this paradigm, companies cost-share the training that they want their employees to have. Companies would continually project skills and capability needs for present and future product lines or services. They would then offer their employees the relevant training, or cost share that training in some way. The employees who take the initiative and avail themselves of the opportunity get the training they need to stay relevant in the company and the company gets a better employee with a greater sense of loyalty to the company.

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The company offers opportunity, the employee offers effort, and together they benefit from a mutually beneficial arrangement. The company retains a high value employee with demonstrated dedication to excellence in their tradecraft, and does not lose momentum from having to rehire new employees. The individual has continual access to training and credentialing which make them relevant in their field, and particularly in their company. Win-win.

Do you need help reviewing your organization’s training plan? I would love to assist you! I can be contacted at [email protected]

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.