H&R Block Believes in Lifetime Learning as a Business Driving Force

Change happens around us every moment, making the future seem vague and mysterious. But is it that blurry? We shouldn’t forget that the majority of changes are people-driven. We create new technology to facilitate every aspect of our life, we improve medicine which results in increased life expectancy, creating an astonishingly diverse workplace with five generations working together. Along with that, we want to live our life to its fullest, raising the question of work-life balance and resorting to flexible work schedules, remote work, and the gig economy.

Of course, there are some consequences we can’t predict, but we can prepare for action in advance. Kip Knight, senior vice president at H&R Block, the world’s leading tax preparation company, knows that there’s nothing more important in business than developing your employees on a daily basis, bringing passion and meaning to the work they do. This is a sure-fire way to stay competitive in the future. In this interview, we would like to shed more light on what the future holds for companies by digging into Kip Knight’s thoughtful viewpoint.

The future of work is lifetime learning and data-based talent development

Finding the right talent can be quite a challenge, but at H&R Block, they strive to enrich their workers and nurture talent within their company. Besides constantly updating employees’ knowledge and skills, it’s important to make them feel like they are part of a family. This requires a deep understanding of the company culture. Everything starts with the hiring process and merges into a day-to-day life at work. “Developing a better understanding of the types of new hires most likely to be successful in various roles is going to continue to be a high priority, since it not only helps the company who’s doing the hiring, but also improves the odds of success for someone who’s interested in a specific role,” explains Kip Knight, adding that with the use of relevant data, HR analytics can also help organizations better predict future staffing needs.

One way for companies to attract the right talent, from Knight’s point of view, is by making their current employees feel like their work is meaningful and will ultimately turn out to be beneficial to society. He believes that employers who recognize this need and capitalize upon it will go farther in attracting and keeping promising employees, thus staying ahead of their competitors.

With Millennials and Generation Z on board, a work-life balance together with the employee reward and recognition system greatly contributes to a favorable company culture. Kip Knight emphasizes these two things when talking about changes in the workplace:

We see this already with the talent we work with at H&R Block–younger workers prefer a flexible schedule they can adjust to their needs and wants (not the other way around). In addition, a review of the organizations’ extrinsic rewards may need to be evaluated to ensure alignment.  

According to the Gallup study, 90% of companies that invest their time and money in employees’ strengths development see increased profit (14% to 29%), improved employee engagement (9% to 15%), reduced turnover (26% to 72%), among other benefits. As we can see, learning and development is a key element in making any business profitable. Moreover, this is a way to reinforce company culture.

There is going to be much more “lifetime” learning–both in terms of what’s available as well as what’s expected from employees. Technology and society are changing too rapidly to expect anyone is ever “done” with their professional development–the more an employee learns and develops for their skill set, the more valuable they will be to their employer (as well as their own value).

With the advancement of AI and machine learning, a lot of jobs can be automated. According to the report, 2025: People, economy and the future of tax, “a future world in which service industry professionals such as accountants will be replaced by robots and the size of revenue authorities will shrink.” Machines are becoming smarter, posing an actual threat to outperform people. At the same time, technology is important in terms of reskilling employees and preparing them for the new realities of the workplace. Knight supports this idea by adding that there will be an increased emphasis on utilizing technology to expedite the development of new skills.

In other words, continuous training with the right learning technology will become the main allies for any organization that wants to thrive in the future, since only a constant refreshment of knowledge and skills will keep businesses on the safe side.

H&R Block on how to get ready for jobs that don’t exist today

It’s no surprise that 65% of children who enter primary school today will be working in job categories that don’t exist now. So how can we get ready for the unknown?

Kip Knight offers several ways that will definitely come in handy:

First, companies can stay on top of the overall trends in business in terms of customer support as well as information technology. Second, they should encourage various teams and individuals to continue to reinvent and innovate their roles and how they work together. Additionally, companies should continually be monitoring and surveying their employees to get their feedback on what’s working (and not working) in their current roles so adjustments are made on a continuous (rather than a crisis) basis.

In other words, happy customers, modern training technology, continuous feedback, streamline communication, and space for employees’ creativity are constituents of a future-proof company.

Your learning and development strategy is a tool that can enhance employees’ work. Well-trained employees and services of high quality make customers satisfied. The use of modern learning platforms facilitates the learning process and help to develop in-house talent. Communication and feedback tools influence how we foster learning, making it more effective and targeted. Customized learning paths let employees achieve their full potential and have a positive impact on 21st century skills, including creative thinking.

Three Predictions for the Future of Work in 2028 by Kip Knight

  1. More “gig” employees. It’s what more employees want (especially younger ones) and it’s what gives employees greater flexibility to work as much or as little as they like.
  2. Increasing demand from employees on “portable” benefits. Given the growth in the gig economy, employees also need some assurance that they will have the resources to take care of themselves and their families. This will probably mean more government mandated programs, especially in the areas of health care and retirement.
  3. Less on-site “work”. There will be a shift towards doing the work wherever and whenever it works for employees (as opposed to coming to an office Monday-Friday from 9 to 5). Technology will make this even more seamless and convenient which will make working remotely even more financially attractive to employees and employers alike.

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