Professional Longevity: Are You a Future-Proof Employee?

Professional Longevity: Are You a Future-Proof Employee?

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The global workforce is changing faster than we have ever expected and can even anticipate. A particular degree may provide an invitation to interview—but it no longer guarantees longevity in a job or an industry. As much as companies are looking for expertise and skill, they are increasingly looking to attract professionals who possess a range of interpersonal and networking skills.

A report compiled from the 2012 IBM CEO study Leading Through Connections, in which 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries gathered to discuss market and business trends, found that how employees interact within their organizations will greatly impact how companies not only adapt to a fast moving environment, but how they thrive in it.

“It is difficult for organizations to predict the emerging capabilities they will need even just a few years from now—harder still to find and hire people with those areas of expertise,” the report indicates. “Instead, organizations need employees who are equipped to adapt–those who are collaborative, communicative, creative, and flexible. CEOs can’t teach employees to be ‘future proof,’ but they can create an environment where these traits develop more naturally.”

The best and most progressive companies will create environments allowing for employees to operate as follows:

Be receptive to unconventional teams. Diversity will play an even more important role in the composition of internal teams–not just in terms of ethnic and gender diversity, but in skill, expertise, and across departments. It will be important to move employees out of silos and have them exchange ideas and work practices.

Increase focus on experiential learning. CEOs will be looking to “broaden the range of situations and experiences that employees are exposed to in their normal work.” Employees will increasingly be expected to fully understand the dynamics of internal–and external relationships with partners and customers. This understanding should be based more on actual experiences and encounters at varying levels of the organization and less on theoretical practice and organizational reports.

Create a valuable network. Professionals have been trained to develop networks that will open up individual opportunities, but for high-value employees, those networks could prove beneficial to companies who seek collaborative partnerships, new market perspectives, and a broader customer base.