Archive for new world of work

Boosting enterprise IQ

For a company to achieve competitive advantage, people are more important than ever.

A critical underpinning of internal intelligence is how the enterprise leads and manages people – and a significant part of the enterprise’s intellectual property is vested in the minds and commitment of its people.

People no longer ‘belong’ to an enterprise, though – they will attach themselves where they perceive their contribution is most valued. And ‘value’ is more than a simple compensation package – it includes a combination of rewards, responsibilities, work environment and life style arrangements. Increasingly, employers need to understand the unique and individual motivations of each employee if they wish to retain them.

Peter Drucker noted that knowledge workers are people who know more about what they are doing then their managers.  If that holds true, then the old models of leadership will simply not work.  So, what’s a leader’s role then?  To be a guide.  To share information.  And to know how to ask rather than how to tell.

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Finding work in the Web 2.0 world

If this is your final year at university, then you probably hope to be working in a graduate position next year.  With the global economy spiralling downwards and unemployment on the rise, the competition for graduate positions this year will be the fiercest we’ve seen in years.  So, how do you secure the job of your dreams?  Start by harnessing the power of digital technologies. 

Do your homework
Be proactive.  Pinpoint a couple of industries or a handful of companies in which you’d like to work.  Keep your eye out for opportunities in newspapers, but don’t limit yourself to traditional media.  Register your details with career websites and set up Google alerts for news on those companies that interest you.  This will give you a head start at job interviews, as you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge of a company’s business activities, as well as broader industry trends.

Employers can Google!
Protecting your online footprint makes smart career sense, and Googling yourself is not so much ego surfing as research!  As many as four in five recruiters use search engines to find background data on candidates – and what they care about is your top ten search results on Google.  One recent survey of recruiters in the US found that 35 per cent have eliminated a candidate because of what they unearthed online.  Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Be the star in your own video CV
It’s no longer just budding film directors who are selling their skills on YouTube – everyone from sales managers to business analysts are shooting their own video CVs to give themselves the best shot at their dream job.  The challenge is to make your application stand out from the crowd.  Start by looking the part you wish to play.  What role are you pitching for?  Dress as you would for an interview, and present yourself and your CV the way you would to a prospective employer.  Rehearse your script, take care to look at the camera and speak slowly and clearly.  Be funny, lively, personable and professional – but keep it short (just one to three minutes).  Most importantly, focus on your professional endeavours, not personal ones.  A video CV won’t replace your written CV, but it can complement it by conveying aspects of your personality imperceptible on paper.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
The old cliché holds true: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Nearly half of all job hunters obtain their jobs through word of mouth.  Everyone has a network of between 250 to 3,000 contacts, so get them working for you!  Send everyone you know an email, or post a message on your MySpace of Facebook page, telling them you are looking for a job, and give them a clear idea of your skills and the type of work you’re after.  Remember, if you know 250 people and each of those people knows 250 people, then the second level of your network contains 62,500 people! 

Finding your job through Facebook
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become another avenue for companies to identify and recruit new employees.  A recent American survey revealed that 64 per cent of companies are making contact with potential employees through online social networks, predominantly LinkedIn (80%) and Facebook (36%).  So, search for your target companies on social networking sites.  Become a ‘fan’, look for information on how to apply for positions in their company and a scan their list of latest jobs.  Again, check who you know in those companies – you’ll be amazed by the connections you can make with a few simple clicks.

Above all, remain positive.  Some things remain the same, regardless of the rate of technological change, and perseverance and learning to accept rejection will always be important parts of job seeking.  Remember, employers hire people who are confident, enthusiastic and demonstrate a ‘can do’ attitude.  Good luck!

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Video CVs killed the paper resume

Remember when CVs were once carefully compiled and presented in leather-bound folders? Then we moved on to the electronic résumé and the old hard copy CV was left to collect dust on the shelf.

Now, the next-generation video CV has arrived, and with the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.  

For some time now, recruiters in the US have been hiring dedicated staff to scour outlets of online creativity such as YouTube to find “the next big thing”.  Four in five employers in the US are receptive to receiving visual CVs, and like most workplace trends, we can expect they’ll soon hit our shores.

Video résumés are not new.  Visual presentations have always worked well for web designers, artists, animators, graphic designers and, of course, actors, who can showcase their skills and portfolio in a matter of minutes.  Elijah Wood is said to have won his role in The Lord of the Rings by demonstrating his Hobbit-like qualities on video.  But for the mainstream employee, video CVs were never going to be popular, simply because they weren’t easy to store or distribute. 

Then YouTube arrived on the scene.

A quick search of YouTube for “video résumé” throws up thousands of hits.  And it’s no longer just budding film actors who are selling themselves on video  – everyone from sales manager to business analysts are shooting their own video CVs to give themselves the best shot at their dream job.  That’s right – even in Australia.

While multimedia-savvy Gen Y candidates are the most likely to fly the video résumé flag right now, it’s only a matter of time before we all grow accustomed to the concept.

But before we do, we must recognise that the video CV brings with it some challenges, as well as some opportunities.

For the employer or recruiter, the video CV offers the chance to assess a candidate’s compatibility immediately, which leads to a faster and more streamlined selection process.

And in any professional role, where presentation and communication skills are an integral part of the job, a video résumé will quickly demonstrate a candidate’s strengths.

However, this method of recruiting does have its downside: employers can see a candidate’s age, gender, race and appearance at the very first stage of an application, which may increase the risk of discrimination claims.  But don’t forget the upside: candidates who may not be so impressive on paper can add some real oomph to their application with a video CV.

At Ross Julia Ross, we are currently trialling a video CV application which will be particularly useful to interview overseas candidates, and make fast decisions about their suitability for a role.

Video CVs are a snapshot of a potential employee and serve as another layer of filtering before recruiters settle on their preferred candidates for face-to-face interviews.  They’ll never replace paper CVs entirely, but let’s not forget humans are visual creatures.  We absorb much of our information and communication non-verbally, so it’s a fair bet that video CVs will become the way of the future.

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Rise of the global enterprise

When I joined IBM in 1981, it was a classic 20th century organisation – the multinational.

Multinationals emerged to gain access to local markets and resources, setting up mini versions of themselves in literally hundreds of countries.  And for decades it was a very successful model.

However, what looked like efficiency has become redundant. Multinationals simply replicated or duplicated their business in every country. So now there are 150 mini IBMs around the globe.

This means that they have their own models for distribution and supply chain optimisation, procurement and marketing, frozen outdated business models and often disconnected from the electronic web of the enterprise. Even today, suppliers, customers, agents and producers are paper and distance constrained.

This duplication is inefficient.  The next generation marketplace – with the convergence of applied artificial intelligence, super fast networks, wireless systems, smart agents and real-time communications – will require organisations to ask the hard questions to determine their core competencies, strategic positioning and corporate identity.

They will also ask the questions about what they outsource to other enterprises to capitalise on the connected network of organisations all working in their core competency and delivering accelerated innovation and delivery execution for the marketplace.

The enterprise will come to think of itself not as an organisation but as a network, and not just a network of technology but also a network of people.

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The buck starts here

In the 1970s and 1980s it was common for CEOs to have a sign on their desk, which said: “The buck stops here”.

This might have been appropriate when all information and power flowed to the top but it is not appropriate now. It was only appropriate when one person could keep their finger on the pulse and the world moved more slowly.

Nowadays, it’s not so much ‘command and control’ as ‘command and connect’ – connect to those who have the knowledge of current markets and current opportunities. 

Perhaps the sign on the CEOs desk should say “The buck starts here”?

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Welcoming the age of e-learning

Academic Dale Spender has turned her attention from feminism and towards “new learning” and how education in the 21st century must adjust to the digital revolution.

Computers have changed the way we learn. The getting of wisdom is no longer a linear process, but a journey where information is forever transforming and where learning is a “trip” from one Web site to another.

The “survival skills of the past” – those of order, systematic processes and reliance on memory – are gone. While today’s parents learned by memorising information for exams, today’s students need a completely different skill set.

“Today’s students,” Spender argues, “need an education that encourages them to be independent, innovative and self-reliant — able to generate their own work and income.”

Digital technologies are enabling us to do creative things with information. With blogs and wikis, everyone can communicate. With RSS feeds, everyone can read about it. MySpace and FaceBook help us to connect with the world. Flickr helps to sort, store and share your snaps, while YouTube lets you show off your movie making talents. Tagging sites like Del.ici.ous enable us to share our favourite Web pages.

And as Spender points out, “When we set out to find a solution, it is not the right answers that we need to remember, but the right questions that we need to ask.”

More than 80 percent of Australians are in the information-making business creating something in the workplace that you can’t drop on your foot.

So we need to recognise that the skills that we developed aren’t going to be the same skills that the next generation of workers needs to survive and flourish in the digital age.

But how do we nurture those skills so that our next generation of workers can succeed?

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Survival of the fittest?

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin

Could you predict what you’d be doing today five years ago?  And what you will be doing in five years time?

The next fifty years of change will happen in five to ten years, say the authors of the BT Technology Timeline.

Fifty years ago we were impressed with supercomputers the size of warehouses.  Today, we carry memory sticks with more power around in our top pockets.

The employees of the future are technology natives that cannot fathom a life without remote control, have never heard the sound of a telephone dialling, and don’t understand what the phrase ‘you sound like a broken record’ means.

Young people already find all their information online, spend their leisure time in virtual worlds, sending SMS, IM and email.  They are never far from a screen or keyboard and have the ‘I want it now or I’m off mentality’.

This response to technological innovation will enable us to improve productivity by working smarter, not harder.  And that means creating a knowledge economy in the borderless world.

Knowledge has no upper limit.  Unlike labour, capital and other quantifiables of the industrial age, knowledge doesn’t deplete with use.  For example, 161 billion gigabytes of knowledge was created in 2006 (according to IDC).  I’m not sure what was generated in 2007, but I do know that in 2006 we generated three million times the information in every book ever written.  In the next three years the digital universe will expand six fold.

The rules have changed, the tyranny of distance is irrelevant and geography is history.  Whether you are living in Sydney, Singapore, San Francisco or St Petersburg we now all have access to the same information.  So, the borders restricting us are no longer geographical, but those between young and old, and between technology haves and have-nots.

So, we must direct resources into innovating business models, access high value competitive skills through global resourcing and integrating globally.

The iron clad law of the flat world is this: “if it can be done, it will be done.” The only question is will it be done by you or to you?

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