Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Technological changes can now provide us with a completely new business model. A model that most industries choose to adopt and those industries are changing every single day. The model is simple enough to understand yet rather difficult to implement.
What is the Model About?
Technology. The keyword on which the new business model is based on. SMEs, Startups, even larger companies are upgrading their current equipment, with modern versions. The aim is simple. Easier working environment, faster and more accurate results and of course an increase in profit.
However, there is a gap that has not yet been filled. And unfortunately, that gap is the reason why a large number of Startup companies and SMEs are failing to meet the market’s needs. They are being overrun by the competition and that usually has only one result. Bankruptcy. A word that no business owner out there wants to hear. But what is that gap? How was it created and what can businesses do to fill it?
The rapid pace with which technological achievements happen appears to be too fast for some employees or at times entire companies to follow. Sure, you can upgrade your technological equipment. And yes, you can start using modern data entry software or a flowchart program to simplify certain processes within the business. However, do your employees know how to use all these new “impressive” technological achievements?
And most importantly, are you giving them the time to properly learn how to use them? It is true that technology can help businesses take the next step towards innovation but technology can only do so much. Education for technological empowerment is also needed and this is the big gap.
How Was It Created?
This might be the easiest question in this article. Try to imagine the well-known tale about the race between the hare and the turtle. In this case, technology is the hare and company employees are the turtle. And yes, in the tale the turtle won because it was smarter. However, that was just a tale and in the real world of business, things are not as ideal.
Technology is evolving mind-numbingly fast. At the same time, studies have shown that as people grow older, their perceptive ability is decreasing. In other words, older employees are not able to completely comprehend the new technologies that are being added to the company’s action plan.
Meanwhile, younger employees are being bombarded by technological advancements. They can learn at a faster pace, sure. But younger generations do have a limit as well. There is only so much that a person can learn. And most importantly, employees do not always have the time to devote to studying, outside of the workplace.
Filling the Gap
In every case, a solution must be found. Not adding new technological advancements in a business is not an option, of course. However, if company employees are not able to support the latest technology due to a lack of education, that will lead to a vicious cycle that will end up badly for the company.
It appears that the most optimal solution is education. But not basic education in the most generic sense. The main goal is a specific educational model tailored to suit the needs and preferences of the companies using it. We are of course talking about an educational model of work-based learning, focused on technological advancements.
The Work-based Learning Model
It is true that education plays perhaps the most important role in people’s lives. On a personal and professional level, education is able to provide us with opportunities that we could never imagine.
In regards to technological achievements, education is the right path to follow if we wish to improve our technical and employability skills and set strong foundations that will support the continuing education we will need to receive in the future.
The vast majority of business owners out there know, however, that no employee is happy when they have to devote personal time to educate themselves on matters of the company. From those who do, a large percentage is actually afraid of being let go due to the lack of technical skills that were not really a requirement when they applied for the position.
Moreover, by “forcing” employees to devote personal time to this matter, a company is not helping them cultivate a spirit of collaboration and devotion to the company. At the end of the day, an employee that will need or “be forced” in a way, to give personal time to be educated on matters of the company, will most likely search for better options.
As an employer, we know what you might be thinking. This is not just an effort done for the company. This is something that will benefit them on a personal level as well. So why devote working hours to it? Well, the answer is simple.
Cultivating the Spirit of Collaboration and Devotion for the Company!
The work-based learning model is growing more and more popular recently and for a good reason.
Employees that know they are being given time by the company itself, to educate themselves on the new technological advancements adopted, are focusing on the following important aspects:
- They are given the opportunity to evolve on a professional level.
- They are valued by the company as important members of the team.
- They are going to be part of the company’s action plan for future development.
- They will start believing in themselves more as their skills and competencies evolve, resulting in better outcomes for the company.
These four points alone are enough to motivate any employee to learn.
According to research conducted by the European Commission on the work-based learning model, the percentage of employees in work-based learning programs has been increasing rapidly since 2016 across all the European Countries.
As a result, the European market is becoming an even stronger stakeholder in worldwide trade. Most importantly, it appears that work-based learning focused on technological achievements is more effective in startup companies and SMEs.
Smaller companies might have a smaller budget but they do have the opportunity to evolve. Especially when it comes to adopting and learning about new technological challenges that can give them a real competitive edge.
Startups and SMEs are after all the backbone of the European Economy. So it is only reasonable to assume that the focus is on them.
Why Won’t Employers Promote Work-based Learning?
We talked about the education gap that appears between technological advancements and the skills and competencies of the employees. We referred to the work-based learning model and how it can help employees feel like a strong and important part of the company. Something that will motivate them to work harder and aim to improve themselves thus improving the company.
So now, it is time to analyze the main reason why a lot of business owners are not promoting the work-based learning model within their business. There are two key factors in this particular case.
1) Wasted Time
The first one is what most business executives call “wasted time”. In many different cases, employers are not able to understand how devoting time to doing something other than work can be beneficial for their business.
There are tasks that need to be completed. There are deadlines that need to be met. The company is using technological advancements to make these processes even faster. If the employees take time out of their work to “study” basically, how will that help the company?
Well, isn’t all this time devoted to learning something that the employees are going to use for helping the company? Aren’t they going to apply all of their newly found skills and competencies, as soon as they learn them? Education and training on new technological achievements are not going to take years to complete.
The work-based learning model has been specifically built for companies. That means that the time devoted to learning is not going to be taken away from important processes of the employees or the business. At the same time, work-based learning curricula have been structured in such a way that they can be applied to a company’s processes once the employee goes through the curriculum.
Employees are not wasting their time when receiving education within the business. All the newly acquired skills are immediately applied in the business processes.
2) Not Enough Budget
Another big issue for a lot of employers out there is the fact that work-based learning curricula require a certain budget to be organized. In most cases and especially in the technological advancement education, companies will need to bring in professionals to teach the employees. And those professionals do need to get paid.
Bigger companies might actually have the budget to support such activities. However, SMEs or startups most likely will not. This can be a pretty big setback, especially considering that most of them are unable to take the next step towards innovation in the labor market without skilled and educated staff.
In this case, startup and SME owners are actually in luck. Due to the fact that work-based learning is so important, there are many different programs out there that support companies in their effort to adopt the model. And there is no better support than financial support.
In Europe, all companies have the opportunity to adapt to the work-based learning model without financing the processes on their own. Through big European financial frameworks, like the Erasmus+, companies are able to become part of teams and consortia that are being funded to adopt new work-based learning models.
At the same time, companies in Europe have the opportunity to organize educational trips and study visits for their employees, through these frameworks. During those, the employees have the opportunity to learn new things that revolve around their field of action. They also have the opportunity to reach the next level for their skills and competencies.
3) Young Professionals and Technological Education
Although new technological advancements are easier to be comprehended by young people, it is no surprise that a large number of youth workers are actually not very familiar with some of the new terms or processes.
In Europe, most of these programs do focus on youth. The Erasmus+ program is, after all, a massively known program that, although is funded by the European Union, is spreading all over the world helping people and companies.
Every country has equally strong or even stronger programs.
For example, the U.S. Department of Education is able to provide companies across the U.S with a toolkit that gives access to local and state program administrators. These are able to provide companies with important information on all the key components of work-based learning. At the same time, it can give them an instructional strategy that can enhance the bond between the classroom and the workplace.
Technology will continue to rise. Employees might spend their personal time receiving the education they need in order to be able to keep up with all the changes. However, this is not something that the employers should base their decisions on.
A company has the responsibility to educate the employees through work-based learning. They can ensure the proper training of the employees and enhance the spirit of devotion within the business.
Startup companies and small and medium enterprises have a lot to gain from work-based learning activities. They can build successful teams with advanced skills and competencies, a strong sense of collaboration and the motive to work harder and help the business step up to the next level. Startups that will adopt this innovative way of operation, they sure have a bright future ahead.
Always remember that, regardless of your sector or the influence of your business, continuous education is the key to personal and professional evolution.