One of the unspoken purposes of work and companies is that they continue where education left in the socialisation of people. If we look at schools and education systems in general, they (should) prepare us for the wider world in terms of tolerance/ acceptance, exposing us to new ideas and peoples and providing a structure which we may all of us to succeed.
Work and organisations carry on this purpose: filling in the soft skills gaps where we’re lacking. For me, the best organisations do not just provide access to tacit knowledge or indeed technical expertise, but actively invest in softer skills which are often more difficult, and necessary, to cultivate. Though I often support teams and individuals with finding technology specific training, by far the most important skills are soft or people skills — communication, empathy, time management, leadership and creativity. Few, if any, of these are taught as ‘direct’ modules within schools, we’re expected to ‘develop’ them organically.
But, this organic development doesn’t always happen and organisations meet the shortfall through various in-house training (e.g. leadership, cross-cultural or inclusion, communication training etc.), careful induction programmes and lastly reprimanding systems. When I think of it this way, I begin to realise just how vital a role learning and development plays in not only shaping companies, individuals, but to a lesser extent, society.