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From Lifetime Employment to Lifetime Employability How L&D Can Help You Make That Change

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my dentist’s clinic waiting for my turn to have a root canal. During the wait, I couldn’t help but notice the many certificates of continuing dental education that hung on the walls of the lobby and inner walls of his clinic.

Curious, I went closer to thesewalls and realized that he had accumulated certificates one after another almost every year and from very prestigious academic institutions from the U.S., Europe and Japan. Then suddenly it hit me.

"Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival."– W. Edwards Deming"

My dentist is in his late 50s (if not early 60s) but his clinic is buzzing with business and clients (old and young). I don’t see him retiring even at the age of 65 (Japan’s compulsory retirement age) and obviously he’s not worried about lifetime employment because he has made himself quite simply “lifetime employable.”

How? Answer: Through continuous learning and development. He has made a lifelong commitment to learn and constantly improve his craft by keeping abreast with the latest in dental technology and practices, connecting with his professional peers and expanding his network, and getting professional certifications.

Now imagine if employees or salarymen and salarywomen could develop that mindset of making themselves lifetime employable rather than clinging to the concept of lifetime employment: as Fujitsu’s slogan says, “The possibilities are infinite…” Think about it. Doesn’t it make sense?

Setting the Example

As HR professionals, we are again in a unique position to lead and set an example for the rest of our organizations’ employees to develop a “culture of learning” by committing ourselves to continuously learn and improve our profession through continuing HR education, certification, networking and connecting with our HR peers inside and outside of Japan.

For Japan-based HR professionals, The JHRS Academy, the continuing HR education and certification arm of The Japan HR Society (JHRS), offers various opportunities to make this happen.

Since 2009, the Academy has partnered with worldclass institutions such as eCornell, Temple University Japan and most recently with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR organization, to provide continuing HR education both online and classroom based. In addition, the Academy also offers HR courses designed in-house covering various HR disciplines such as employment law, talent acquisition, training and development, compensation and benefits, performance management, and many more.

In 2013, the Academy strategically partnered with the HR Certification Institute to help Japan-focused HR professional gain business-relevant and globally-recognized HR credentials such as HRMP, HRBP and GPHR and be at par with our global HR counterparts. Both certification preparation and recertification courses are now offered by the Academy as well.

If you are like me (or my dentist for that matter), passionate about learning and being lifetime employable, I highly encourage you to visit the aforementioned links to learn more about the many options of courses and schedules you can choose from. And as usual, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at and I am happy to help you in any way I can. Happy learning!

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