How to future-proof your career

By Lord Mark Price, above

Future-proofing your career is something that I believe all employees should be working on and more importantly, employers should be encouraging and providing the tools to do it.

At WorkL, the employee experience platform that measures, tracks and improves employee engagement and employee happiness at work which I founded, we provide a range of tools to help employees proactively ensure that they have the right skills to get on in the workplace. Here I share my top tips to future-proofing your career; from the ever-changing role of technology in the workplace, to taking proactive steps to develop your skills and knowledge.

Identify Future Roles: Start by researching and understanding the emerging roles and skills that will be in demand in your industry and company. Look for job postings within your organisation or other similar companies to get an idea of the skills required for these roles.

Set Clear Goals: Define specific, achievable goals for your upskilling journey. Determine the skills you want to acquire and the timeline in which you plan to achieve them. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.

Talk to Your Manager: Initiate a conversation with your manager or supervisor to discuss your career aspirations and the skills you want to develop. They may be able to offer guidance, support, or even suggest relevant training opportunities within the company.

Leverage Internal Resources: Many companies offer internal training programs, workshops, or online courses for employees. Check if your company has any learning and development initiatives that align with your upskilling goals.

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Seek Mentorship: If possible, seek out mentors within your company who have experience in the roles you aspire to. They can offer valuable insights, guidance, and advice on how to achieve your career objectives.

Online Courses and Certifications: Explore online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and others to find courses and certifications that align with the skills you want to develop. These platforms often offer flexible learning options that allow you to study at your own pace.

Attend Workshops and Webinars: Keep an eye out for workshops, webinars, and conferences within your industry. Participating in these events can provide valuable networking opportunities and keep you updated on the latest trends and technologies.

Work on Real Projects: Apply the skills you are learning to real projects within your current role. This will not only reinforce your learning but also demonstrate your initiative and value to the company.

Build a Portfolio: If relevant to your upskilling journey, create a portfolio of your work and projects to showcase your newly acquired skills. This can be useful when applying for future roles within the company.

Stay Adaptable and Open-Minded: The job market and company needs can change rapidly. Stay adaptable and open to learning new skills even after you achieve your initial upskilling goals. Continuous learning will keep you relevant and valuable to the organisation in the long term.

The rise of tech – how to keep up to speed with AI

AI might seem an intimidating concept, but it’s here in the workplace now and you might not even know that you’re using it. Thriving at work in the age of AI requires a combination of adaptability, continuous learning, and a proactive approach. Here are some essential pieces of advice to help you succeed:

Embrace Lifelong Learning: Stay curious and continuously update your skills. AI and automation are rapidly changing the job landscape, so it’s crucial to keep learning new technologies, tools, and methodologies relevant to your field. Seek out workshops, online courses, and certifications to enhance your expertise.

Develop Human-Centric Skills: While AI can perform many tasks, it cannot replace human qualities such as empathy, emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking. Cultivate these skills as they become increasingly valuable in collaborative work environments.

Be Adaptable: Embrace change and be open to new ways of doing things. The workplace is evolving, and being adaptable to new technologies and workflows will make you an asset to your organisation.

Understand AI’s Potential: Familiarize yourself with the capabilities and limitations of AI in your industry. Recognise where AI can augment your work and find ways to collaborate effectively with AI systems.

Stay Agile and Innovative: Be proactive in identifying areas where AI can streamline processes or generate insights. Look for ways to apply AI and automation to improve efficiency and create value for your organisation.

Cultivate Problem-Solving Skills: AI can provide data-driven insights, but it still requires human judgment to make crucial decisions. Develop your problem-solving abilities to interpret AI-generated data and apply it effectively to real-world challenges.

Network and Collaborate: Build relationships with colleagues in different departments, including data scientists and AI specialists. Collaboration with AI experts can help you understand how AI impacts your work and how you can make the most of it.

Communicate Effectively: Develop excellent communication skills to articulate complex ideas, data insights, and AI-related concepts to colleagues and stakeholders who may not be as familiar with the technology.

Balance Technical and Business Acumen: Understand the business implications of AI in your organisation. Having both technical knowledge and business acumen will help you bridge the gap between AI specialists and other departments.

Embrace Automation for Tedious Tasks: Utilize AI and automation to handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up your time to focus on more strategic and high-value activities.

Focus on Continuous Improvement: Regularly assess your performance and seek feedback to identify areas of improvement. Be willing to adapt your approach and skills as AI and business requirements evolve.

Maintain a Growth Mindset: Embrace challenges and view setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth. A growth mindset allows you to embrace change positively and stay resilient in the face of AI-driven transformations.

By incorporating these strategies into your work approach, you can not only thrive in the age of AI but also become an essential and valued contributor to your organisation’s success.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024