Today’s guest blogger is Tim Lane founder and director of Park Lane Recruitment based near Manchester UK. Park Lane Recruitment is a specialist recruiting firm in the technology space with niche areas of cybersecurity, fintech, space and defense IT, as well as generic IT sales, tech and managerial. Tim is also an NPAworldwide Board Director with responsibility for the EMEA region and a 30+ year veteran of the recruiting industry.
Everyone has always had to learn to perform their job. Throughout the industrial ages and periods of time in history. From the beginning of industry to the dawn of the internet, the latest training has helped create the best employees. You would think therefore that there was always new teaching for new periods of time.
Far from it.
How many modern businesses are based on the models established at the start of the Industrial Revolution? Companies often still view work by the ‘input/output’ model established more than a century ago, measuring employees by their cost (input) and value (output).
Despite drastic changes to work over the past 100 years, this model has remained largely unchanged. As massive change and innovation continues and working practices rapidly evolve (Covid / remote working / Zoom anyone?), how much longer can we measure humans based purely on input and output?
Prioritising Agility and Adaptability in Employees
In the recent past, employees moved away from the idea of input/output by mastering a certain skill set and becoming an expert in a particular field, decreasing costs and increasing value for businesses. Developing this concentrated expertise made sense when demand for skills lasted as long as a person’s career, but the constant and accelerating change of the 21st-century work environment means this is no longer the case. Now, due to the relentless pace of change, demand for certain skills, or even specific roles, can rise and fall within a few short years.
We can only expect these cycles to get shorter in the future as well.
As a result, agility and adaptability are replacing specialisation as the most valuable qualities for employees to have. Companies must move their perception of employees away from being viewed as ‘assets’ (inherent cost and value), but instead viewed as part of a human approach based on constant development.
Put Learning and Development at the Centre of Work
Traditionally, people started their careers with little experience and knowledge, and joined a company to grow specific skills and progress upwards by mastering one role. Today, we’re seeing a shift away from simply ‘learning to work,’ as new generations now have to incorporate a ‘working to learn approach.’ Employees could once expect to have a job for life and hone a specific skill for the length of their career. Now employees must continue the learning process throughout their career. The speed of technological change means the next work change is always round the corner. To embrace the challenges and opportunities that innovation brings, employees should view their skills as an ever growing toolkit – one that adapts to new demands and grows according to change.
Replacing Skills at Work
It’s not just down to the employee to adapt to new work demands. Companies must also alter their approach by no longer merely acknowledging specific expertise. Instead, employers must see that the needs of business could change at any moment, and grasp the benefit in rewarding and celebrating employee adaptability.
Fortunately, working with expert recruiters to help build their teams can assist companies in this process by helping them identify which skills will be more in-demand in the future. This helps companies to focus their efforts on upskilling employees and adding to their existing skills to meet these future demands.
Hiring practices have to change as companies must build workforces who are open to – and embrace – learning and development. The ability to learn and develop new skills not only helps employees to retain their roles – and feel happier in their work – but makes the company much more attractive to workers looking to move to a more forward thinking company. This really helps recruiters to attract the right candidates to your company, and the right training package has frequently persuaded a prospective candidate even to take a lower salary, as they recognise the value of personal development.
By prioritising adaptability, companies can be more confident in their chances of building a workforce that is right not just for now, but for the future.