“Economists worry that many of the nation’s idle—particularly men—won’t return to the work force because they lack the college degree or higher education required for many job openings, or because their skills have atrophied“. Straight from the Wall Street Journal internet edition, whilst I reflect on the substantial new revenue streams from some knowledge personally acquired in only the last couple of years!
The lingering thought that remains is how can companies get greater engagement out of their existing workforce if they strategically work on their already onboard skill-set? And how can individuals promote their own new-found or re-engineered skill-set?
Think about it, whilst I never agreed with the approach, a lot of companies I’ve known didn’t benefit from up-skilling their staff in strategic areas such as better communication, engagement, problem solving & decision making skills because they were too worried that their employees would either run off to a competitor / another company after having made the investment, or start their own business. Whilst that perspective is so ineffectively short-sighted, and in itself also reflective of the poor company culture already in-effect, it’s also extremely counter productive! These businesses are not benefiting from the renewed passion of their employees when they do make this mental mind-shift.
Employers here is your last chance
Whether you’re an employer who has a strong, medium or weak company culture, given the treacherous economy & the global social unrest we’re evidencing, it’s never been a better market to feel confident that your team will stay where they are rather than risk joining the unemployment line (in the long run). You should be taking advantage of this opportunity to “retool”, re-educate & up-skill whilst the environment is conducive. Your company will benefit greatly from the renewed passion & motivation of a workforce that will be re-skilled for success. You will rarely find another opportunity to grow your productivity, minimize the risk of an exiting workforce, whilst transforming your company culture before the economy takes off again, bringing with it new competitive challenges.
Employees here is your last chance
Don’t let your current environment or opportunity pass you by. I’m seeing many people investing into their own future! Paying out-of-pocket, just asking for paid-time-off to take 2-5 day up-skilling courses. Market conditions have changed, and in tough times, it’s the innovative that flourish. When these employees come back to work, and in a few cases even before they leave, their added value is already being recognized anew! They are getting promotions, more key roles in their organizations, which in turn increases their “marketplace net-wroth”. Whether you think you can afford the training or not, find a way to get your up-skilling sponsored so that you can increase your value & contribution to your company / industry.
I guarantee you that if you do it properly you’ll benefit immediately. And even if you don’t, the beautiful thing about knowledge is that it’s something that can’t be taken away from you!
Alternative resources & agility
Your future is in your own hands! Even to those who profess to not have the time or the money, so much knowledge can be found for free.. or practically free. As I often tell my own teenage sons still in school; “focus more on learning the rational behind the disciplines that will most benefit you in your future passions instead of simply memorizing”. I have yet to find an employer who is paying big-bucks for employees with great memory skills! I also try to teach them about being smart with their time whilst focusing on the over-arching objective.
The cost of knowledge
How much does a book on a subject matter that can slowly re-skill you cost these days? 10 to 20 US dollars at-best / on-average? When was the last time you spent that amount on beers, dinner or a casual gathering that lasted no longer than approximately 60 minutes? How did you eel the next morning? Any smarter? I’ve developed whole new skill-sets literally “out-of-nowhere” just by picking up a new book every 30-60 days. I’ve also picked up entirely new skill-sets by reading a wealth of powerful & free on-line content just because I’ve focused on the rational behind the subject matter that interested me, and then experimented with m new found knowledge & skills. Finally, I’ve enriched my knowledge & skills substantially just by surrounding myself with smarter people. I’ve gone on to be able to find new revenue streams from subject areas that I was totally unfamiliar with only 5 years ago, and I’ve applied some of these new-found skills in very practical manners that have helped businesses (my clients) grow.
The reward of knowledge
This practical application of new, renewed & improved skill-sets has turned into “practical experience” which in itself is a highly valued commodity that companies / people are willing to pay for! Now imagine if my previous employers, some of whom have now hired me as a consultant at substantially higher rates than my “employee based salary”, had invested in my skill-set themselves. How would they be benefiting from the talent pool they already had on-board?
The talent scout & the power of voice
I find these days that the greatest asset I bring to the table in any new engagement, in addition to a new perspective and a unique skill-set that is immediately applicable to accelerating productivity & growth, is that I’m able to spot the internal talent pool which has either been overlooked or dormant due to lacking engagement & motivation. I’m able to give these people a voice, they become heard, and their value in an organization rises immediately. I’m keen to stay on-purpose, and so I focus more on knowledge-transfer & transforming learning into new behaviors. That’s how what makes my work is scalable and highly effective.
Choice, not circumstances, determines your success
How can you apply the principles I’ve shared to improve your own situation? Whether you’re an employer, employee, free-lance or unemployed.. how can you leverage knowledge to your benefit? There’s so much of it out there, right before your very eyes this very minute.. you might even just need to adjust, or change the lenses with which you’re looking at life.. or your current circumstances. What kind of choices are you making these days?