As corporations continue romanticizing the idea of automation, there is an underlying fear of losing a significant number of jobs to machines.
In recent times, growing number of employers have indulged in cost-cutting methodologies. The Lehman-crisis of 2008 and its resultant tsunami of pink-slips the world over have taught one thing – non-critical resources will be let go. Companies directly affected by the crisis did not shut down. Rather, the mass attrition got them ‘back in shape’. In other words, the crisis presented companies with an opportunity to press the hard-reset button.
In this year’s, it was heartening to hear the Finance Minister emphasize on the need for skill development. This is one of the most overlooked aspects within successful careers. So what does it take to be a valued employee, one who employers cling on to even in the worst of the times? Successful professionals world over have one thing in common – they all avoid the temptation of inertia within their jobs. To put it simply, they are students for life. In fact, one of my earliest managers ensured that his entire team - through regular certifications, was up to date with the advancements in their fields of expertise. This not only developed a sense of purpose within the fresh recruits but also saved them the ignominy of being let go during the recession-era.
In this article, we shall look at key ways to approach one’s career.
Reading remains a favorite past time among senior managers. A learner’s attitude helps develop an open-minded approach towards problem solving. As we live in a largely interconnected world, one has to stay abreast with the happenings within their industry. Consider iPhone, one of the most sophisticated devices released to public in 2007. However, it caught the imagination of most Indians only post 2010. One can term this as a lag-period between the developed and the developing world. Similarly, there are many more advances happening around the world. As a manager, it is one’s duty to be curious about changes within their fields. Alternatively, writing regularly helps one master the subject matter, develop critical thinking skills and enhances one’s communication skills.
Find a Mentor
This is probably the most under-appreciated option, but can work wonders for a career. It is heartbreaking to watch early professionals go about building their careers aimlessly. While students depend on their professors during studies, they are at sea upon graduating. A mentor - generally an experienced professional, not only acts as a guide, but also reigns in impractical expectations. Mentors help streamline one’s approach towards their career by setting them on a linear growth trajectory. They are candid in their advice, provide practical feedback and ensure their pupils remain grounded.
Past decisions are the best teachers in one’s professional career. No matter the impact, these decisions can teach a lot. Feedback is a common way to learn about what others think of one’s decisions. If genuine, feedback helps evolve a professional. One may seek feedback from their superiors, employees etc. In recent years, the trend of feed-forward has caught on. This two-way approach wherein subordinates can provide pre-feedback for their managers, evaluates a manager’s skills that are humane in nature. The emphasis is not only upon ensuring productivity but also on strengthening trust and employee-retention. Regularly evaluating one’s decisions, helps develop self-awareness within professionals.
Giving back to the team
Busy work schedules have ensured that today’s professionals spend more time with their colleagues than with family members. Thus, it is important that senior members within a team help train the relatively fresh team members. This not only builds mutual trust but also helps strengthen the culture within the team. Even though a team can survive with one or two performers, but the top-performing teams always work as a team. Teamwork is truly defined when the team grows together rather than every member fending for themselves. It is a manager’s foremost duty to raise their subordinates along with them. Such managers will always make great mentors.
Attend the Learning & Development Programs
Upskilling has become an important factor while deciding to stay back in an organization. Employees who are able to upgrade their skills regularly through in-house training programs have a higher degree of job-satisfaction. Regular participation in training programs helps avoid profile complacency and induces more confidence within professionals. Such training programs are a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals from within the organization.