The best way for re-trainers to help their clients get back into the workforce may be to help them see their “value-add,” and then working on enhancing that value-add. That was my conclusion in preparing and then talking about the future of work in my “12 surprises” talk for the Department of Labor Employment Training Administration’s Retooling for the Recovery Forum on March 31st.
One of the big issues or challenges in the future of work is figuring out the value of information or knowledge when “information wants to be free.” Organizations are rethinking their business models as digitization provides a wealth of information, but also enables what used to be a sell-able commodity to be “free.” The search for value is focusing its eye on the contribution of workers as well. What, precisely, does one “bring to the party.” In an era of global workforces, if that value is similar to the value that someone overseas brings, but they bring it much more cheaply, then….Yep, competition will often be brutal.
At the same time, there are great opportunities for individuals to rethink and retool their individual value proposition. We talked about “the return of the crafts,” in which there is demand for products that have a personal touch and story behind them. We talked about how individuals can build a name for themselves in the blogosphere. We talked about all the continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities.
But it all stems from one key “mind change.” The assumption that has to shift is when an individual believes the world owes them a living. This is often a deeply held assumption, and for re-trainers, can be a very difficult one to challenge. But as long as it is present, my sense is that individual will struggle in the emerging world of work. Step one is to clearly assess and be aware of one’s potential contribution to projects or employers. Knowing one’s value, and understanding how that is viewed by others, is the essential beginning to positioning oneself for success in the emerging world of work. Andy Hines