The workplace is changing fast. Technology is changing even faster. Are universities keeping pace with either one? Is the U.S. moving fast enough to train and educate a workforce to compete in a global economy? The pressure to innovate within corporations and in small businesses has never been greater. The shift from industrial age thinking to an adaptive, digital, innovative culture will not just be the responsibility of the employer but the employee as well. The real question is: How fast are you changing?
In the U.S. workforce we are trained to think methodically with antiquated processes and tremendous uncertainty in the economy. We have experienced decades of success in industrial thinking and an education system that has been out paced by its foreign competitors. Are we now victims of our own success? What does this mean for the U.S. workforce? Here are four changes in the new economy workplace. —Hajj Flemings
2. Increasing Need to Adapt your Skills
How adaptable are you to change? Are your skills evolving? Are your skills transferable? If not how can you use your current job to gain skills for the next job? There are new education models that can be tapped to augment your skill set. For example, Code Academy, an interactive way to learn to code, and General Assembly, which is a campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship, are the new models for non-traditional educational learning. There are tons of educational resources online from podcasts to YouTube videos to upgrade and adapt your skills. Every person should have a personal training plan. Corporations are expecting employees to be self-trained and to hit the ground running with little to no training provided.
3. Changing the Technological Face of the Workplace
The digital behaviors of this generation are becoming deeply embedded in the culture of today’s workplace. Companies are working on creating cultures that reflect online social networks. For example Google and Facebook have designed their workspaces to provide social interaction with micro kitchens and other amenities, enabling workers to engage with each other in a more personal way.
According to a report published in 2011 by Jobvite, 89% of recruiters are using social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to recruit. Accessing social networks to screen potential employees gives corporations and recruiters the ability to get deeper incite on people they are looking to hire. This allows them to evaluate your judgment and make more informed decisions about you.
4. Building Your Network
Building your network is not a traditional skill that most people are taught. However, it is a soft skill that is needed to be successful in business today. There is tremendous value in your social network beyond bragging about the number of followers that you have. (1) Start building relationships that you could potentially tap for future job opportunities, (2) Identify strategic online connects and meet them offline in the real world, and (3) Use your social networks as a visual so you know who you are looking at in person (i.e. during a conference or networking event). Social networks like Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn are channels that can provide direct access to decision makers while providing valuable personal and professional information about someone before you meet them.
At the end of the day the world is changing fast and each person is going to have to adapt. You can no longer depend on your employer to put you on the fast track or employ you for the next 40-years. Your future is in your hands. Handle it well.