In a recent study of more than 10,000 workers, Harnessing Revolution: Creating the Workforce, researchers found that more than 95% of people say they need to develop new skills if they want to stay relevant in the workplace. The study’s authors, Ellyn Shook and Mark Knickrehm, report that digital has disrupted our work and will continue to do so. Work is being redefined, thanks to technology.
What this means for individuals of color that are building careers and businesses around their expertise, is that they must be proactive in harnessing digital technology to carve our their space in the work world. If they aren’t, there may be a disconnect with how their superior skills and expertise are being properly utilized or simply even acknowledged. They may get relegated to the sidelines and labeled as irrelevant—a.k.a experience career death.
Embracing digital isn’t just for tech company IPOs. Small business owners and professionals seeking to grow their careers and businesses need to also embrace all existing and emerging technology. To ignore digital, including the specific area of social media, will not work. Those who embrace and use technology effectively can leverage it in ways that benefit their careers and businesses.
Digital can be an amplifier of abilities, and, in many cases, can serve as a connector to more opportunities. The psychologist who embraces digital, for instance, can amplify her message by creating and using podcasts, videos, and messaging apps to reach new prospects. The owner of a construction company can use digital technology as a platform for real-time sharing, and this type of collaboration can help ultimately reduce inefficiencies and cost overruns. The talented creative can use social media to market unique creations to a worldwide audience.
In all of these instances, fully embracing digital may mean new skill acquisition. Rather than wait for changes to force you to adjust, look at how you can embrace digital technology now to boost your brand and stand out, so you attract the coming opportunities.
Here are three skills you may need to embrace in the growing digital landscape:
1. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a key means of promoting brands and businesses today. If you are a small business owner or even a professional, then learning digital marketing may help you become more effective at standing out. Digital marketing helps you not only promote yourself and your brand, but it also allows you to see what other promotions are working as well. Because there are so many options within digital marketing, find a channel that works for you and your brand to help you get in front of your audience.
2. Industry-Specific Digital Technology
Your particular industry may be rolling out certain digital technology that enhances efficiency, reduces costs, or helps to improve a company’s bottom line in another way. It may be beneficial to you to learn the newest industry-specific digital technology, so you can become more attractive to potential clients or employers. What is the new digital technology that is emerging in your field?
3. Inspired Thinking
Yes—inspired thinking is a skill—and it’s one you may need to cultivate in the digital age. You see, inspired thinking helps you see solutions that embrace digital, but may not be isolated to digital exclusively.
For instance, some organizations manage to incorporate a digital focus across the company, though they do not have specific digital officers or divisions. This goes beyond the technical skills necessary for a job. In a study titled Aligning the Organization for Its Digital Future, by MITSloan Management Review, almost 90% of the survey respondents, which consisted of managers and executives, expected digital to disrupt their workplaces. Developing your inspired thinking can help you be on the cutting edge of identifying solutions around digital.
In many ways, we are only now fully understanding how big of an impact digital has on the way we work and run businesses. This can give us pause, or even cause us to reject digital and instead stick to age-old technology and ways of doing things. However, this would be a mistake.
Proactively using digital technology can actually be part of your branding strategy, as you seek to stay current. Embracing digital technology is a way to expand your brand’s reach, in our changing global landscape.
How has digital affected the way you work?
Monica Carter Tagore is an author, personal branding consultant, and personal development mentor. A former newspaper journalist, she has been a small business owner for more than 15 years. She works with creative and purpose-driven entrepreneurs and professionals to help them tell their stories and build their brands as they use their gifts to make an impact in the lives of others.