Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

How to Retrain for a Second Career

 -  1/14/13

When factored into learning design, understanding employees’ personalities and what motivates them at work can make it easier to retrain an individual.

Reader Reaction: Second Career Move?

We asked our LinkedIn followers: What should talent leaders be doing to retain and develop high-potential talent whose skills might be outdated? Here are some responses.

In today’s dynamic business landscape, many have defined their career and success by their job title and skills, only to wake up one morning obsolete. This unsettling sensation may be the case with many high-performing employees due to fear of being laid off in an effort to trim the fat.

Evidence is amassing that such downsizing is counterproductive. Researcher Wayne Cascio of the University of Colorado Denver, for example, won a 2010 Losey Award for his work indicating that unforeseen fallout from downsizing frequently produces negative financial returns. Rather than dismiss valuable staff whose skills might be outdated and scrambling to fill new positions, some companies are retraining those who have already demonstrated their dedication and competence. The question is: can management be confident they’ll perform as well in a new role?

If managed correctly, the retraining process offers an opportunity to boost these employees’ engagement by placing them where they’ll perform with even more energy.

Who You Are, What You Do
The fact that an employee excelled in a previous function doesn’t necessarily mean the job was optimally suited to his or her natural style; many learn to perform well in roles that are less than ideal. For such individuals, retraining based entirely on previous experience may sell both the employee and the organization short.

The first step in retraining for a new role involves helping employees distinguish learned behaviors from natural preferences — innate mental processes that drive how people perceive information and make decisions. Psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of personality type, as presented by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument, identifies four such preferences:

• How people are energized and whether they tend to focus their cognitive energy externally (extroversion) or internally (introversion).
• Preference for taking in information, either through focusing on facts and details (sensing)
or big-picture orientation (intuition).
• How decisions are made, based on following objective logic (thinking) or personal values (feeling).
• How one is oriented toward the outside world, either through a planned and organized (judging) or a spontaneous, flexible approach (perceiving).


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