Future of work is driving in the fast lane on a track parallel to white ball cricket. Both will be ruled by masters of one skill and jack of many trades. One skill masters will find it hard to adjust to frequent disruptions.
Welcome to the era of all round players and employees.
A question to ask yourself – “How employable are you if your primary skill becomes obsolete?”
What if your skills are no longer needed? Or what if the demand for your skills significantly reduces?
Let’s say you were one of the best site planners for corporate events. But in the last two years due to the impact of the pandemic, most companies decide to shift to online, virtual events. The employability and demand for site planners like you will decline.
So what are your secondary skills or alternate employment in such a scenario?
Are you a jack of many trades?
Let’s talk about me.
My primary skill is to analyze business data and give strategic advice to small and medium business owners. What if I start losing clients due to competition? My clients don’t renew their contracts? What if I stop getting new clients?
New business was hard to come by during the first wave of Covid-19.
So what if?
Here are some of the other employable skills I can count on:
- One, Content writing: I can write content for business blogs, websites. I already write content for two business blogs plus one weekly newsletter on LinkedIn. More than 800 readers have subscribed to my weekly newsletter. I’ll leave a link in the video description. These could be used as sample work to apply for content writing jobs
- Second, Training: I have more than 1000 hours of training experience (Six Sigma, Lean tools, problem solving)
- Third, I can work as a data analyst or MIS executive. I can create reports and business dashboards using Excel and BI tools such as Google Data Studio, Minitab and Microsoft Power BI. Businesses now have tons of data readily available. They need MIS executives to dive deep and produce visual dashboards and insights for business decision making
- Fourth, Website development using WordPress. I can create template based websites on WordPress.
- Finally, I can work as a Customer Service Rep (voice, email, chat). While AI and bots are increasingly reducing the need for human reps, we will continue to have demand for human reps for complex issues and escalations.
The bottom line – there are more than one employable skills I can fall back on. It pays to be the jack of some.
De-risk your career
As an individual employee, list down all possibilities and check the employability for each – type of job, companies that hire for those skills, salary range etc. Network and connect with relevant businesses and recruiters on LinkedIn. Watch videos and tutorials on YouTube to update your knowledge and improve your skills.
This is the real insurance you have in the event of a sudden job loss or lack of demand.
If you want a template to rank and measure your secondary skills, I have created a template. Here is the link to download the “Employment Skill Tracker“.
Employment Skill Tracker
How can you help your team?
If you are a business owner, manager or supervisor, how can you help your employees?
You need to plan and facilitate knowledge transfer.
Invest time, resources and money in employee skill development and training
Identify complementary skills and help build on them – training, internship, on the job experience, peer to peer learning.
Set a schedule each week to allow time to practice and master complementary skills. Reserve half a day each week where employees can intern in other business functions and practice new skills.
- Your account executive can intern with the marketing team each week for a few hours
- Or your HR manager can talk to a few lost clients and check their current requirements for your products or services
- Your sales executive can be asked to write one blog post a week for your business website
Give them activities to help them learn and make the process fun.
Finally, lead by example.
Follow the same routine yourself. Spend half a day each week interning with different functions within your business. Be an assistant to the accountant, the social media manager, the HR manager, the admin executive or the Sales rep. Not only you learn new skills and nuances, you also get to first hand see the bottlenecks in the process and then improve them.
Make continuous learning an integral part of your work culture.
As disruptions become more frequent and everlasting, this will be one of the key strategies to de-risk businesses and careers.
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