Lifelong employment… and engagement!

Having a job is one challenge. Keeping your job is another. What about going to work with a smile on your face every single day? UMIO, the executive branch of Maastricht University School of Business and Economics gathered a broad range of representatives from the professional and public domain and a group of academics, to talk about sustainable employability. How do we create a durable and fruitful job market? Through an intensive design challenge, they looked at what is desired, what is necessary and what is viable.

Safety is key

Feeling safe at the workplace is an important prerequisite for having fun and being successful at work, says one of the participants in the dialogue session. To get ahead, you need to be able to experiment and not be afraid to make mistakes. As an employee, the only way to get to that stage is if you feel stimulated and supported by your manager. Yet that manager also needs to feel safe and secure, backed up by a robust organisation. You need to have long-term prospects apart from day-to-day routines. You need people that are motivated to go the extra mile.

Lifelong learning means lifelong fun

You may expect that employees who possess the right knowledge and skills are also more productive. Research by Maastricht University indicates that professionals learn most from their efforts at the workplace. Still it is important to complement informal learning with more formal education (professional development) and that you operate in teams that possess high levels of diversity. Do you work in a team which makes you feel at home? A team that represents a multitude of disciplines? A good employer acknowledges these aspects and takes care of a balanced mix of professional and educational backgrounds.

Who is responsible?

After this exploration, participants engaged in the next challenge: what are the required building blocks to design a sustainable job market? And an obviously related question: whose responsibility is it? Gordon Miesen, Manager Business Development & Client Relations at UMIO, summarised the afternoon’s conclusions:

“It is clear that we can all use a practical framework that both organisations and individuals can apply together. Our university can offer some necessary support but we need to work together with business people to determine the details and make this work.”