One of my “must-reads” during the year is the annual IBM Global CEO Study. If you haven’t seen this year’s, you can get a copy here.
A concept mentioned in the report that intrigued me was the idea of the “future-proof” employee.
With unemployment still considered high and lots of talk about skills gaps, there’s considerable energy being spent in telling individuals to keep their skills current. If you’re a job seeker, you better be keeping up or you will be left behind. Staying relevant is important.
Keeping up with your current skills involves training. I define training as providing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed in current jobs. It should really be a no-brainer that individuals need training in order to successfully complete their current responsibilities.
But the answer to getting future-proof employees is development (not training). Development is about preparing people for future jobs (preferably at your company). And the concept applies to companies too.
- Does your current workforce have the skills they need to keep up with the company’s plans for the future?
- If not, how are they going to remain relevant for your organization?
I get that employees need to own some of their professional development. But if I’m an employee and I’m responsible for my own professional development, then won’t I choose the development that I believe gets me ahead? That may or may not be what the company needs to get ahead.
Companies are in search of future-proof employees – those who will be able to stay current and relevant no matter what organization they work at. This mandates an evolution in professional development toward a partnership between the company and the individual. Development becomes a blend of the employees’ and company’s needs.
In order for companies to meet the demands of the future, they have to continuously re-invent the way they do business. In turn, employees have to regularly re-invent themselves.
I’m curious. How does an individual demonstrate they have the ability to be “future-proof”? If you were a candidate, how would you respond to “Tell me about a time when you had to re-invent yourself to provide value in a new, emerging market for your company.”?
Whatever the answer… are you or your company doing that right now?
Image courtesy of Deirdre Honner