22 Jan 2016 16:53 IST

Map your own career growth

If you don’t someone else will plan it for you

“Employees own their own career,” is an oft repeated mantra. I too have heard this statement a number of times while coaching or counselling. However, as I sit down to write this, these words are assuming a different meaning altogether.

I have been keenly following various trends that impact the workforce today. One such trend is the new workforce mix brought about as a result of rapid technological change, increased global competition and the desire for faster turnaround of products and services. There is pressure on the workforce to be agile and adapt to such shifts as organisations struggle to optimise costs. All these change-drivers are encouraging the emergence of the extended enterprise consisting of contractual workers, outsourced vendors, partnerships, and so on, which have to be managed appropriately to deliver results.

Look ahead

Since the future workforce will be characterised more by just-in-time talent, the simplistic understanding of “employees own their own career” is bound to change both for the employee and the organisation. In the future, competitive and successful organisations will focus on staying ahead of the curve, thereby creating an organisational ecosystem that will create a positive stress on employees to continuously upskill and stay relevant. This means that in the new scheme of things, the employee-employer value promise will undergo a change. The new employment promise is a symbiotic one. The employer will enable an ecosystem that encourages continuous learning and skill upgradation and will provide opportunities within the organisation as long as the employees utilise such opportunities and continue to add value to themselves and the organisation.

Given this context, clearly the onus of investing in growth and de-risking employment redundancy is on the employee. There is no better time than now to invest in skill-building and crafting future employability. Here is what you can do: :

~~ Pick up roles and responsibilities that help you build new capabilities and provide exposure to new working environments

~~ Leverage learning opportunities provided within your organisation to stay abreast of new tech trends and complete all certification requirements for your role

~~ Identify and build skills that will be must-haves in a two-year horizon

~~ While employees own their professional development, organisations must do their bit to create a framework that encourages learning and application of new skills. The talent strategy of an organisation should be built on the following five pillars:

~ Education architecture

~ Capability assessment architecture

~ Reward and recognition architecture

~ Staffing architecture

~ Performance management architecture

On a parting note, I would like to say that if you don’t plan your future, someone else will plan it for you. I understand that as an employee, one needs to deal with too many dynamics and ambiguity. Therefore, while you map your career, be realistic and show willingness to change and undertake course correction.