DJHP /Leaders
As roughly one-third of Boomers prepare to exit the workforce, companies are fast becoming aware of need for next generation of workers: Millennials. In fact, an estimated 86 million of them will be part of the workforce by 2020. That’s 40 percent of the total working population.
This impacts both business and education alike. We’re working harder and faster than ever to figure out effective ways to educate and train this new batch of workers in the skills necessary for tomorrow’s workforce.
Working closely with educational systems is important to develop long-term strategies, but what do we do in the interim? How do we ensure that we’re meeting the demands placed on businesses by the ever-changing marketplace.
For the near future, what you can do is develop one strong solid part of your strategy to create a learning environment and consider the medical school residency model — which is education by apprenticeship — as an approach.
Core Characteristics of the Apprenticeship Model
TV shows like Code Black or the early days of Grey’s Anatomy capture some of this model. In the “emergency room setting,” they role-play a culture in which medical residents and doctors are all working from the same values and intent toward the same outcome. They’re individually and collectively:
Hell-bent on learning, intense growth, and teamwork.Continuously reminded — implicitly and explicitly — of their higher purpose. They know their work matters.Given the tools, structure, and support around each task.Know that wisdom and experience is responsible for the development of the new.Forced out of the nest to perform. Not abandoned, but asked to step up in their role to experience their own independence, skill, and competency.Pushed and expected — not coddled — to achieve individual potential, and it’s clear that individual achievement is positively or negatively reflected on the whole.Challenged to grow as experts and practice appropriate professional behavior when in difficult situations.Grapple with failure, keeping in mind that it’s something to learn from to better your skills and experience.Aware that not even those at the top always have the answers, and it takes a willingness to put forth ideas and try new approaches to achieve success.
The same rules apply to business, and it often requires some experimentation on leadership’s end to find what works for your team. But it’s well worth the efforts.
Instituting the Apprenticeship Model in Business
So how are you to implement an apprenticeship model that matters?
Conduct self-assessments within the organization.
A medical residency apprentice model is one based on tough love. There’s an expectation of growth — not to mention an expectation in a desire to grow.

How does your company compare? Where do you want employees to grow? Once defined, ask individuals to do a little self-reflection and goal setting. This will inform career development plans in light of the company’s big picture direction.
Demand excellence and participation of one another. Assume everyone wants to step up and participate instead of resist this model. Then, work with your team to create expectations for involvement based on your company’s brand, future, and each team member’s ability to step up to the plate.
Spread the word. Talk about the medical school apprenticeship model with your staff. Share ideas of how to implement in goal setting, coaching, mentoring and training activities. If needs be, establish small subcommittees around various aspects of your business, such as diversity, engagement, customer service, and sales. Look for ways to move the company into the future.
Create a buzz. Don’t just get people excited internally. Focus some of your attention on the public. Put out white papers talking about your experiment, detailing how the process is going. Get the word out on social media. Share what’s working and how your team is tackling the challenges together to come up with solutions.
Involve all generations in the workplace. With any new initiative, it’s critical to involve more than the newbies. Otherwise, you risk isolating your more established team members, who are essential to mentorship and knowledge sharing. Ask everyone for their input, include both young and old in the conversation, and set expectations for involvement company-wide. Make it a culture of apprenticeship to mastery at all stages.
Small and mid-sized businesses are probably in the best position, as they’re often more nimble and flexible. But larger companies can still take advantage of this apprenticeship model. It just takes strong future-thinking leadership to see it through.
Dr. Jan Hoistad
Lead Coach. Business Development Consultant. Thought Leader. Entrepreneur. Author. Dr. Jan Hoistad is passionate about helping professionals, business owners, partners, and teams develop the skills necessary to achieve success and fulfillment in both their occupational pursuits and personal lives.With 35 years of experience, Dr. Hoistad has been a pioneer in the field of professional coaching. She’s advised countless CEO’s, executives, business group heads, emerging leaders, partners, teams, and professionals in career transition and business development, teaching them how to dig deep, and sometimes loosen up, so they can start living by their values, finding their purpose, and achieving their professional and personal goals with intent and confidence.By helping professionals see that personal wholeness is a means to achieving optimum professional performance, Dr. Hoistad provides her clients the tools to become catalysts for change in their own businesses, careers and lives. They learn to leverage their strengths, build on their expertise, and expand their influence to become true innovators in their fields.
Dr. Jan Hoistad