Act Now towards the Future of Work!

Angela NG - IMG_6323 - USE THIS ONE

Angela Ng

This year marks the beginning of my motherhood to a little 7-month-old girl that has brought immense joy, timeless memories and increasing parental responsibilities. Recently, I’m already thinking and planning about her future, particularly in twenty years time, (year 2038) what will the workforce be like in terms of jobs and skillsets that will be in need so that in the ‘now’, I can help guide her education, mindset and pathway to best equip and enable her to be effectively skilled, sustainably marketable and resourceful in society.

Today, we are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and HR challenges – at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with unprecedented risks, disruption and political and societal upheaval. The pace of change is accelerating. Competition for the right talent is fierce. And ‘talent’ no longer means the same as ten years ago; many of the roles, skills and job titles of tomorrow, and the next twenty years are unknown to us today. What jobs and skills will be in need? How can organisations prepare for a future that few of us can define? How will your talent needs change? How can you attract, keep and motivate the people you need? And what does all this mean for recruitment, attraction and retention? This isn’t a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold, we need to be many steps ahead of the game.

I have this question posed to me in my field of work everyday – Will robots eventually replace us all at work? Or will we create a new world where people and machines work alongside each other? It’s the most fundamental – and difficult – question we must ask of the future of work. As more individual tasks become automatable through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and sophisticated algorithms, jobs are being redefined and re-categorised. A third of people worldwide are now worried about losing their job to automation. It’s clear that automation will result in a massive reclassification and rebalancing of work. Some sectors and roles, even entire sections of the workforce will lose out but others will be created. Automation will not only alter the types of jobs available but their number and perceived value. By replacing workers doing routine, methodical tasks, machines can amplify the comparative advantage of those workers with problemsolving, leadership, EQ (Emotional Intelligence), empathy and creativity skills. Those workers performing tasks which automation can’t yet crack, become more pivotal – and this means creativity, innovation, imagination, and design skills will be prioritised by employers.

“So what should we tell our children? That to stay ahead, you need to focus on your ability to continuously adapt, engage with others in that process, and most importantly retain your core sense of identity and values. For students, it’s not just about acquiring knowledge, but about how to learn. For the rest of us, we should remember that intellectual complacency is not our friend and that learning – not just new things but new ways of thinking – is a life-long endeavour.”

The messages for leaders, act now! This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening, and accelerating. No regrets and bets. The future isn’t a fixed destination. Plan for a dynamic rather than a static future. You’ll need to recognise multiple and evolving scenarios. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios – but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too. Make a bigger leap. Don’t be constrained by your starting point. You might need a more radical change than just a small step away from where you are today. Own the automation debate. Automation and AI will affect every level of the business and its people. It’s too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone. A depth of understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape is a must. People not jobs. Organisations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology – but they do have a responsibility to their people. Protect people not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling. Build a clear narrative. A third of workers are anxious about the future and their job due to automation – an anxiety that kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. How your employees feel affects the business today – so start a mature conversation about the future.

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Cause you gotta have friends – keeping up your networks in busy times

By Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Maybe its just this time of year, with the festive season approaching and all the end-of-year deadlines, but I have been thinking about my networks, which in some cases are also my friendships. I think I’ve had mixed results in 2017, following through on some of my intentions to maintain these, but I’ve definitely neglected other areas.

There’s no doubting how busy we are in work and family life, and we know the reasons why – globalisation, technology, urbanisation, the environment and demographic change, to name a few – but its no excuse really. We are ‘human’ beings, and nothing can replace actually sitting down and interacting with someone we can relate to on a professional and personal basis.

I’ve always liked Margaret Wheatley, the American writer and management consultant who focuses on organisational behaviour and the theory of change, leadership and chaos. As a HR practitioner, I’ve applied some of her work in learning and development settings, both as a deliverer and participant. She has decades of experience and many memorable quotes such as “In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.” She also suggests “All of us need better skills in listening, conversing, and respecting one another’s uniqueness, because these are essential for strong relationships”.

So put some time in your diary before Xmas to nurture your relationships, whether it be attending a networking event, or scheduling in drinks with clients or colleagues you haven’t had a decent chat to in ages. It’s a great opportunity to have a few laughs, reflect on things, and just enjoy the moment!

Black Tuesday – Takes Me Back…

Justine Eden, DirectorBy Justine Eden

The recent Black Tuesday articles got me thinking back to 30 years when I was working in the dealing room for a share broking firm on that day that the market crashed. It was chaos and very apparent that things were going to change.

Having just left school I spent 2 years of working in finance, one year as a chalkie at the stock exchange and one in share broking. For me the ‘87 crash crystalized my plan to go to university full time. I could tell my job would no longer be there in a few months. Now of course the chalkie is also a relic of the past!

The recent Weinstein revelations also got me thinking. Sexual harassment was rife back in the day in share broking and I had my fair share of unsolicited advances from married men more than double my age, particularly when their wife was out of town. Did I want to come over tonight and have a hit of tennis? Did I need a lift home in the flash euro sports car? No thanks.

I remember sending out statements for shares purchased days, or just hours before the October 87 crash hit, for highly inflated shares now worth less than 5% of what was owing. People now desperate to sell and losing their homes because they had speculated on shares with money they could not afford to wager.

I had forgotten a lot of all of this and now it seems like a life time ago, but those insights back then cemented in my mind a kind of determination and clarity. That was to get an education, to build a career, to invest in shares with money that did not cost me the family home if they failed. To be independent and create my own business and to be able to stand up to anyone that made me feel uncomfortable or compromised in any way.

The power to choose, the ability for independence is something I have always valued greatly and it is what I hope my own daughters will experience. Cause let’s face it power is and always will be an aphrodisiac and independence is a great liberator.

As Abraham Lincoln said “..if you want to test a man’s character give him power”.

Finding your happy place

By Michele Cameron

Have you ever reached that point in your career where you hit a wall and you’re unhappy? I knew I had come to a cross road and had to make a change. It has been a few weeks since I’ve started with Eden Ritchie Recruitment, and I know I made the right move. I’m very happy! It has taken a few months to find the right company and a great team that aligns to my expectations. Overall both parties want the “right team fit” match.

How do you find this?

Lots of research! Here are my tips when you’re looking at a new opportunity.

  1. Learn about the company – How are they performing and profitable? What do they offer? What are the values, and do you agree with them? This information you’ll find through their company website, news media links and their financial report.
  2. What is their reputation? Do you have connections who work there you could ask or someone who worked their previously? What does the current staff say? Ones who’ve left? What do the client’s say in the testimonials? This information you’ll find through LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
  3. Who are the Managers/ team you’re part of? You might find this on the company site, LinkedIn or social sites. How long have they been part of the business? Do they have years experience or are they new? How is the team structured? Will you be mentored and supported? What’s the average tenure in the business?
  4. Does the opportunity excite you? Will the new role give you challenges? Improve your skills and future employability? How will the company provide you training in your first few weeks? What will be their expectations for you to deliver in this role short term and long term.
  5. Does it align to what you truly want? Don’t forget what is most important to you which makes you happy at work.

 Trust your instincts

Armed with all of this information, it’s important to go through the interview process with an open mind.  Look, listen and ask. There will be clues you see and feel around you: What is the office vibe? Does the staff look happy? How does the Manager speak and engage you? Ask lots of questions in the interview. After all, an interview process is a two-way street! Candidates don’t forget this!

I wanted to find a company with a good brand, strong reputation and consultative, customer service approach. There’s a lot of recruitment agencies who promise great, customer service but actually don’t. Luckily, I saved myself from jumping from one frying pan to another.  

 Making the decision to accept?

 Maybe all of this information might overwhelm you in making a decision? At the end of the day, you need to weigh up the pros and cons, and sometimes take other’s opinions with a grain of salt. Ultimately, it’s your career path you are building for yourself.  In the first month you’ll know if you made the right choice. In any on-boarding process the first week is critical for a new starter. If you’ve made the wrong decision, you have the option to voice your concerns with your Manager or start the job process again. I hope you don’t wait too long being unhappy in a role.

 Happy work days

When you’ve made the right choice – work becomes the easy part! I found strong leadership, great clients who value our service, candidates who continue to return to us and a collaborative team with strong expertise. I feel energized knowing I belong.

The final tick of approval – Are your referees up to scratch?

By Tiffany Kamotiffany

Think you have put in a good application, and nailed the interview? Congratulations on getting this far, but remember, it’s not in the bag!

References are not just a matter of process, they are a valued contributor to the overall assessment piece. You are not always the only one to progress to interview in a position, they could very well be used as a deciding factor so you want to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance at being the successful candidate.

I cannot stress the importance of preparing referees enough!

Always ensure you give your referees a quick call to advise not only they will be hearing from someone, but who it will be, and why. Provide them with a brief run down on the role you are going for so they can reply to questions asked with role appropriate scenarios. I see it time and time again where the referee has not been adequately prepared, and comes across disinterested, lacking any ability to provide detailed responses, and therefore it reads as a lack-lustre reference where it is potentially no real indication of how you performed within your position.

Is your referee related to this position directly? Just as you tailor a cover sheet, a resume or undertake selection criteria, make sure you also tailor your referees to your specific job application to reflect the position you are applying for.

And remember at the end of the day, your referee has taken time out of their day to help you secure your next position, ensure you follow up with a quick ‘Thank you’ so they know you appreciate their time and to keep the line open for them to provide you with future references.

The Importance of Managing Up

By Justine EdenJustine Eden, Director

Having been in the recruitment industry for a few years now (not specifying how many because it makes me feel old!) I have been able to sit back and watch many people progress up the leadership ladder. Some more successfully than others. There can be many factors impacting on success of course, but in many instances I have seen the inability to recognize the need to manage up, lead to failure.

Managing up can sometimes bring connotations of having to “kiss arse” – excuse the language, and I would argue that if this is what you interpret as managing up you are missing a key opportunity. Many leaders can be overly consumed with managing down and depending on the profile of your team sometimes this is necessary – but you need to ensure this isn’t a long-term strategy.

You need to focus attention on managing yourself – your career, your education, your professional portfolio to ensure you remain relevant and challenged. You of course will have an element of managing down through delegation and KPI’s to ensure deliverables are met.

But – how to manage up? Be clear on who above you this could include and then determine how often and how you will need to feedback to each person. In person communication is an effective way to build rapport and trust followed by putting things in writing to protect each other.

A good executive should adopt a no surprises approach in order to have the back of the people they report to and should also be able to determine what is communicated and what is not to prevent information overload. No Board wants hundreds of pages to read through, so your ability to grasp and communicate the key issues and expand if needed, is critical.

By managing up you increase your visibility and intel because you should be privy to strategic issues and be on the front foot to ask for the opportunity to work on key projects. You will better anticipate future challenges and therefore be able to better position your team to respond. Knowledge and networks are the power base of any ambitious executive but like anything require constant work and attention!

Making the call

By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie Recruitment

Justine Eden, Director

Justine Eden

I’ve got a secret rule when I employ for a role at ERR. I will only consider those applicants who pick up the phone to talk with me about a role.  This is for a few reasons – I’m of the opinion that it shows a level of interest in understanding whether an opportunity is for them.  It shows an ability to engage over the phone and build rapport and it ensures a better understanding of the opportunity, rather than just reading an ad and hitting apply.

In recruitment the phone is a key work tool and if you aren’t able to effectively communicate over it then you have limited chances for success in the industry. Also, I really don’t want consultants who rely totally on email as their main form of communication.  Call me old fashioned.

In these days of electronic job boards it takes minimal effort to lodge a job application, so how do you make yours stand out in a saturated candidate pool? Calling is an ice break, as humans in a digital world we still seek that human connection at a fundamental level – even at work.

So what should you ask when you call?  Let me start by telling you what not to ask – Is there someone acting in the role? (more likely to be asked for a role in government but regardless don’t ask this), how much does the role pay? (leave this to second interview stage). Don’t use the call as an opportunity to talk totally about yourself.  Use the call as an opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in them and the role.

Your questions will be situational and will reflect the role, organisation, location and sector.  Your questioning will be different if you are looking at a commercial sector role as opposed to a government role. Do your research before you call. Critically dissect the ad and or the PD and use that as a basis for any questions. The size and make up of a team or the scale and scope of operations could form the basis of your questions.

Any media releases or publications are also key research avenues and can inform questions around how the organisation is responding to current challenges.  Where the organisation wants to be in 12-24 months could also form the basis of your questions. Whether they are in expansion mode or consolidation mode. You could also what they envisage the successful applicant will look like – experience, qualifications, industry experience, the scale and scope they have worked at.

This sounds like a lot of questions, and I would suggest you pick your top 6, keep the call short – 5-8 minutes and don’t impose too much on their time.  Have a strong close, thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to the opportunity of meeting in person in the future.  Good luck!!