Learnability: Is LQ the new IQ?

The concepts of IQ and EQ (emotional quotient) are well known by HR leaders, but should they be focusing their attention on LQ, or learnability quotient? Chris Gray explains its importance. 

Technology is transforming the business landscape. Advancements in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping businesses improve output and increase revenues. But how does such rapid development impact employees and hiring practices?

Media scaremongering has led some to believe that new technologies are here to replace human workers, when in fact the opposite is true. This is supported by research from Gartner, which indicates that AI will create more jobs than it replaces, adding 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million jobs globally.

Nevertheless, these technologies still shift the emphasis in assessment and recruitment. This means that employers should increasingly look for a new trait that will help them build teams to get the most from new technologies – and that’s LQ, or learnability quotient.

What is LQ?

While the terms IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) are well known by global employers, LQ is a new measurement gaining in recognition.

LQ refers to an individual’s desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt their skillset to remain employable throughout their working life.

Increasingly, professional success is determined by an individual’s ability to adapt to new challenges, change their mindset when dealing with different tasks and their willingness to take charge of their own career progression.

LQ represents a new way for employers and employees to assess their learning styles and recognises an individual’s ability to learn new skills and adapt quickly – you can even test your own LQ online.

How can we use LQ at work?

The speed of change within the modern workplace, largely driven by the constant introduction of new and evolving technologies, is making the capacity to learn ever more important.

Employers want people who are agile enough to thrive in their working environment now and in the future. At the same time, employees are looking to learn and accumulate new skills in a bid to remain relevant, employable and mobile.

What’s more, with skills shortages at a 12-year high and new areas of expertise appearing as quickly as old ones are made redundant, companies are developing talent as a way of future-proofing.

Our Skills Revolution 4.0 research revealed that by 2020, 84% of employers will be upskilling their workforce to keep up with innovation.

Organisations can no longer rely on finding talent to do the job just in time. Instead, they have to ensure the people they already have on board are able to learn the new skills required to keep up with competitors.

Learnability can also be an indicator of career mobility. An individual who shows signs of being a quick learner is likely to be agile and work their way up in a company. As organisations seek to invest and develop their best talent, having insight into learnability metrics will provide guidance on how best to enhance performance.

Those who can learn quickly will not only prove instrumental in growing the business, they can also work with other members of the team to demonstrate the value of LQ in the workplace.

Demand for digital

Demand for IT skills is growing, and rapidly. Almost two-thirds of companies are planning to increase headcount in IT roles, but at the same time, tech talent is scarce.

Furthermore, with technology evolving at pace, employers are trying to build a pipeline of talent ready to work with emerging technologies. Anticipating what the skills of the future might be is critical if organisations are going to build a sustainable pipeline of talent.

Finding people that are eager and have the capacity to learn is going to be essential if employers want to keep up with the pace of digital change. However, employers also have a role to play in equipping their people.

Establishing clear training programmes that upskill teams, or even appointing a Chief Learning Officer can help set a business apart from its competitors when it comes to embracing new technologies.

As the workplace continues to evolve, employability has become less about what you already know and more about your capacity to learn. While a CV can show an employer the background and existing knowledge of an individual, their ability to learn is ultimately going to be more important. If you can build a team that is hungry to learn and grow, so too will your business.

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Chris Gray

About Chris Gray

Chris Gray is brand leader at Manpower UK
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