- What areas are now receiving the lion’s share of new business engagements and how has that compared to the last several years?
- How have cultures changed and how do people maintain their visibility?
- Suggestions on how to maintain or improve accountability while working from home.
- Conveying your value to a prospective employer
- Figuring out your target company
Is this a Good Time to Change Industries?
- Not unless you need, are forced to, or really want to
- Stay where you are right now where you have a track record and credibility
- If you need to change, do your homework about the industries.
- Is the industry constricting or expanding?
- Employers are being more careful than ever about hiring decisions
Jeff Metz (00:00:04):
Welcome. Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us on this presentation called Active Career Repositioning in Unpredictable Times. This is actually one of a series of webinars that RTD is sponsoring in the realm of managing career uncertainty during COVID and beyond.
My name is Jeff Metz. I’m with RTD, I’ll be your moderator for our next 60 minutes. Our format will be a dialogue with our two panelists Lauri Plante of CCI consulting, Ford Myers of Career Potential, and Bill Love who leads our retirement counseling for RTD will facilitate your questions, which can be entered through the chat button.
And we’ll leave plenty of time for Q and A at the end. Any questions not taken we’ll follow up with you and provide some thoughts after the program and all participants will be on mute, during the program.
So why are we talking about active career repositioning? Well, managing careers fits into RTDs life planning focus. RTD is a financial advisory firm, that councils individuals, retirement plan trustees and trust fiduciaries, and life centered decisions of financial planning, investment management, and fiduciary obligations to others.
We know that career is central to our client’s lives, their financial futures and their identity. And so, you know, as an example, we provide planning guidance to one or two career couples where an employment opportunity is no longer meeting their family or work-life balance or your career aspirations. And we assist analyzing the outcomes or various alternatives they might consider, or often we get questions. I mean, how much of a cushion is there to pursue reeducating myself and make a pivot to a late career pursuit?
So what’s before us now. Well, just the last seven months, the disruption of COVID 19 worldwide has introduced a whole new rethink about how business is done and accelerated the ongoing digital transformation of many industries contributing to, I would call it a VUCA business environment. It’s Volatile, it’s Uncertain, it’s Complex, and it’s Ambiguous as to where we come out of this.
But thanks to RTDs prior work experience with Lauri and Ford, we’ve always been advocating that career management is not something you put on the shelf and remove when you might need it. Career management is an exercise you want to build on regularly. So we are anticipating future economic uncertainty and rapidly shifting workforce demands.
And RTD believes it’s critical for anyone in mid or late career to stay in front of this and strengthen your ability to pivot and take advantage of opportunities while minimizing any negative effects of employment surprises. So let’s begin by introducing our panelists today.
Lauri Plante of CCI consulting, Ford Myers of Career Potential. Bio’s were included in the invitation and on the, on the slide. So a question for Lauri. Lauri CCI has a broad offering. it’s talent acquisition, talent development, HR consulting, outplacement services,what areas are now receiving the lion share new business engagements and how has that compared to the last several years?
Lauri Plante (00:03:12):
Sure. So first of all, thank you for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here and have this conversation with you all. So let me just step back for a moment and around the world, how the world has changed. So pre COVID, which means pre mid-March it was an employee marketplace. So if you were an employee, you already knew that it was record unemployment, and there were tons of incentives for organizations to bring on the right talent.
Clients were hiring us to do conduct searches around the country for the right talent to join their firms. They were investing heavily in leadership development programs. Internal career management programs were gaining popularity as a way to develop and retain internal talent.
And then mid-March came and the world’s shifted very suddenly. And so here’s what we’ve experienced. So in the beginning there were furloughs, there weren’t layoffs. There were furloughs because everybody kept saying, it’s only going to be a couple of weeks. So we want to keep the folks that we have, but now it’s more than a few weeks. It’s more than a few months.
And there have been layoffs translating for us is our outplacement business has gone up dramatically in the last few months. Companies are recognizing it’s tough to part, but we want to make sure that we do this with dignity and respect and help those folks move forward.
Leadership development initiatives took a pause in the very beginning. One of the things that COVID has illuminated is the need even now for leadership development and the increased recognition for succession planning. Clients have experienced workforce shifts sooner than anticipated. And they’re recognizing that there’s gaps from a societal perspective.
If you recall, back in May, there were a lot of issues around the social injustice. So we were seeing a significant number of organizations taking a look at initiatives around inclusion and there, and trying to define what that looks like. From a search perspective all of that halted in the first few months.
Again, companies were trying to understand what their next step was probably since labor day. Again, a significant jump in activity, but the studies are showing that 70% of leaders out there pull themselves off the market. And the impact to an organization who’s looking to hire talent is significant if your talent pool drops.
So those are some of the shifts that we’ve seen. The other piece that I’ll mention is the human resources team. They’ve become experts in COVID. Their world has changed dramatically. So all of their initiatives have either been paused, but those initiatives that have moved forward have increased the need for project-based HR support.
Jeff Metz (00:06:18):
Thank you. Ford you have experience in career management, what makes this business inflection point different from prior experiences for clients of yours?
Ford Myers (00:06:31):
Great. Well, as Lauri said, thank you very much for having me. I’m really glad to be participating and to be with all of you this morning on this rainy morning.
Well let me start off by saying something and that is this, the rules have all changed. I wake up every morning thinking that like everything has changed. The rug has been pulled out from under us as a workforce. And, it’s really time for a new career plan. It’s time for a new job search strategy.
If you’re in a transition, why? Because in this job market, I see the compounded impact of multiple stressors in 2008, 2009, we all remember the recession and we had a true economic crisis and it was pretty awful.
But now, with COVID-19, we’re challenged by not only another recession, but a global pandemic with hundreds of thousands of Americans, dead or dying, massive job losses, social upheaval, political and cultural warfare, racial unrest, cyber attacks from foreign countries and more, I mean, it’s a perfect storm. You couldn’t possibly put this together in fiction because no one would believe it.
So the effect of all this is that we have a nation of people I believe who are traumatized on many levels, including career. And it’s almost like everyone is walking around with a form of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder. People are on edge. It’s a very, very difficult time for many, many people. People are overwhelmed, they’re exhausted. Their brains have been short-circuited, they’re overwhelmed.
And I believe that, the right thing to do is not to sit by the sidelines and wait until things improved, but to get busy, get active, get mobilized. People want to hide under their bed. People want to wait until it’s all over, but there is no end in sight. We have no clear sense of when, when it will end, or what our world will look like if Corona virus finally ends.
Personally, I’ve had many conversations with prospective clients over the past several months. These are folks who really need our help, but almost all of them are frozen in fear. They’re unable to make a proactive step. They’re sort of like deer in the headlights.
And at the time when they should be regrouping, investing in themselves, preparing for a better future, I have found that most are doing unfortunately nothing. So this situation is really unique. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever seen.
And many months ago, when this all started, I read an article called “Productive Careers Strategies During the Corona Virus Pandemic.” And it was a very practical step-by-step article that suggestions and ideas of, you know, how to cope and how to do better during this terrible period from a career perspective. It’s a very difficult time. It’s pretty confusing. As I said, the rules have changed. People really need help. They need to regroup. They need to rethink.
And you know, I don’t want to sound self-serving, but I think people should reach out for help. Whether it’s a therapist, a career coach, go back to your college career office, go to one of the County offices like career link. But as they say, don’t try this at home.
Jeff Metz (00:10:25):
We know it’s interesting, Lauri, you mentioned about, you know, the leadership stepping up to the plate, you know, now that the things are really challenging and given what Ford said, you know, what, what areas of company in the management structure, are workforce is shrinking and conversely, where are they increasing the workforce? If, if leadership is so, so needed now.
Lauri Plante (00:10:47):
So one of the things that we’re saying is that for companies that have boards or large institutional investors, we’re saying that those boards are playing a much larger role than just being, than just having the compensation committee. So they’re focused on culture because let’s face it. Every organizational culture is out there now.
You’ve got sites like Glassdoor and other online reviews. So your culture is not a secret. So organizations, the ports are recognizing do we have the right culture to attract, to retain, because it is a competitive advantage. Words are focused much more so on inclusion because there’s a business impact.
And also they’re really asking those questions, that very hard questions on how do we value differences? So everyone says, you know, when the social unrest occurred back in the spring, I think every CEO put out a statement about, you know, we value, this is what we’re about and it’s then it’s like, so what, so what what’s happening next? And so I think boards are paying a lot of attention to that.
We’re seeing boards having an increased focus on talent management and succession, as a driver for organizational sustainability, viability and asking questions around how are we grooming that next generation of leaders? So it’s oftentimes not the immediate bench, it’s the bench below the bench. And they’re asking those kinds of questions.
The focus on compensation is also shifting to pay equity and taking a look at, does the, do the compensation decisions, support the human capital structure? And if there are inequities, how do we remediate those? So those are some of the things that we’re saying.
We’re also saying, you know, from a workforce perspective, some people are exiting out sooner because the thought of going back there is either health risks for themselves or for family members and they don’t want to put themselves in those situations where perhaps their role involved travel. So we’re seeing folks exiting and making those kinds of decisions.
Again, it’s a talent management strategy. As many of you have been reading, the issues around women leaving the workforce for all the issues around childcare and homeschooling and, you know, being a productive employee or a leader and people. And they’re saying, you know what, I have to make a choice. So those are some, that’s some of the things that we’re seeing.
Jeff Metz (00:13:32):
Yeah. And I guess, you know, Ford and Lauri, both, from a standpoint, you know, Philadelphia area has a lot of healthcare content as large employers. Are you seeing, are their strategies different than what you just described because they’re, you know, there’s a heavy concentration in that area right now.
Ford Myers (00:13:53):
Lauri, that’s for you.
Lauri Plante (00:13:55):
Well, I think with healthcare too, many of the healthcare institutions have these boards. And I think, and there’s a number of them that are very savvy and that are really asking these questions because, you know, they’re competing in essence for the same talent pool. And unless you’re bringing talent in, from outside of the region, which is costly, and yet it’s also popular for certain positions. There are a lot of these boards are asking these questions.
Ford Myers (00:14:30):
You asked about, you know, company management structure and shrinking of the workforce and so on. So let me just say, I’m not an expert on workforce statistics, but I do believe that companies are generally, continuing to strip out positions in middle-management.
Also planning of jobs that used to be full-time staff positions have been transitioned to contract or temp roles because it is often more cost-effective for employers. In addition, companies are really becoming hyper-focused right now on productivity and profitability of every single job.
So if one job is on the asset side of the balance sheet and another job winds up on the liability side of the balance sheet, well guess which one is going to be cut. So this is truer now than ever as companies are really forced to go in and meet just to survive in this tough environment.
Now, jobs that can be done remotely are expanding, whereas jobs that need to be gone in traditional office settings, I think are decreasing in number and also, with the current acceleration of technology, which is really happening now, you know, one of the side effects of this pandemic is this huge acceleration of technologies. But with this acceleration, a lot of jobs that used to be done with human hands will continue moving towards automation with things like robots, artificial intelligence, and so on.
Bill Love (00:16:15):
Jeff, this is Bill. There’s a question in the chat that is aligned with what Ford was saying. Ford is this, and Laurie, is this a good time to change industries?
Ford Myers (00:16:27):
Let me take that quickly. The answer is no, not unless you need to, are forced to, or really, really, really want to, you know, I don’t think this is a time to shake things up more than necessary. They’re already shaken up enough without any help from us. So unless there’s a compelling reason to change careers at this point, if it’s within your choice and your power, my advice would be to stay with what, you know, what you’re doing, where you have track record, where you have credibility. So unless you’re forced, or unless you have a very powerful need to change, my advice would be leave well enough alone.
Lauri Plante (00:17:16):
And just to piggyback on what Ford said, make sure you do your homework. All right. If you, if the need, if you do need to shift industries, there are industries that are constricting and there are industries that are expanding.
So do your homework while people that might be in corporate functions may say, well, it doesn’t matter because I’m in a corporate function I can go into any industry. It does matter because it matters from, if they’re going to invest in you in your own development, are you going to be obsolete in a few years? Are you going to be on another job search and in a year from now? So I would say, do your homework
Ford Myers (00:17:57):
That’s right. And also, you know, employers, like I said, they’re being more careful than ever. They’re being really cautious about making hiring decisions. Why would they take a chance to hire someone from a completely other industry when they have a list of people with industry experience waiting to make that job? So I just don’t think it’s a good strategy right now overall to change fields.
Jeff Metz (00:18:23):
Thanks, Lori and Ford. So, you know, you both mentioned, you’re given the shift away from a central office. How have the cultures changed and how do people maintain their visibility?
Lauri Plante (00:18:39):
So I think many or organizations, or at least what I hear from my clients, many organizations will say we were never a work from home culture. Yeah, we did it occasionally like on the occasional snow day, but we weren’t a work from home culture. Well, guess what, I remember reading something early on that said, you know, the one organizations spent years in meetings around conference room tables, debating the pros and cons couldn’t we work from home?
And all of a sudden the lights turned off right away and they discovered, you know what we can, the technology is in place. The technology has been in place, but none of us ever used it. So we’ve adapted. I think the questions of how do we still remain innovative. You almost have to, and this sounds like an oxymoron, but you have to plan spontaneity. So those spontaneous conversations from a visibility perspective, you know, and I’ve seen this and I’ve seen this just how we’ve all evolved through this process.
You have to show up. And what I mean by that, I don’t mean just logging in. People need to see you. They don’t need to just see your name. They need to physically see you. It’s important to show your face. Think it’s important to think about your presence, your presentation style, which includes wardrobe. So early on, if you’ll recall, it was all that the, the chatter of, Oh, people are working in their pajamas. I’ve never worked in my pajamas ever.
You know, and I have a colleague of mine who talks about that when she’s client facing, she has to resume wardrobe right? In her office she has a couple of jackets, a couple of shirts that she puts on. They don’t see her feet. They don’t see the bottom half and she doesn’t stand up, but she is prepared. She still wants to maintain that professional image. I can’t emphasize that enough.
Ford Myers (00:20:42):
That’s a really good, good way of putting that. And I like your concept about innovation.
So, um, you know, you’re talking about decentralized or shifting away from the central office and how people can maintain visibility. Well, as Laurie indicated, since employees can’t be observed in the office anymore, and they can’t visually demonstrate their work in progress, they need to take the initiative to communicate proactively with their teams. This includes your boss, peers, subordinates, everybody.
People can no longer assume that their contributions are obvious, evident. They need to proactively broadcast this message to all interested parties. So employers should set up new communication channels to make this process easier. And once this is done, the best way to maintain high visibility is to always do exceptional work that hasn’t changed in this remote work world.
We still have to, as Lauri said, show up, but you also have to show up with extraordinary work and wonderful results. How to keep stuff marketing you have to continue to make yourself visible, incredible in the eyes of all your peers. These are important strategies to keep in mind.
Jeff Metz (00:22:12):
Yeah, thanks for it. Because you know, one of my questions is, actually maybe more on the self motivation side. And that is, you know, what suggestions do you have for people to increase or improve their accountability to themselves as well as others? Because it’s easy. We’re working from home perhaps to slip into a pattern that may not be as healthy as they should have?
Lauri Plante (00:22:39):
Well, I think the question of it, it’s, it’s like when we, when we’re talking to a client about executive coaching, you know, one of the questions is so what’s at stake? It’s like why? What’s the motivator for them, for the leader to change. And so when you’re taking a look at any kind of change, whether it’s to move into a house, you know, or any other major change, it’s why?
What’s your motivator? We’re all adults. You can’t make an adult do something they don’t want to do. So if you’ve decided, all right, I want to, I want to make a change. You can have, you can certainly write down your goals. You all know this. You can have an accountability partner, could be a coworker, it could be a coach. It could be, you know, you know, a personal partner. I think those are helpful. But I think the fundamental question to ask is what’s at stake?
Ford Myers (00:23:42):
Right? And if I could add to that, Jeff. In order to increase accountability, I tell my clients to keep a success file of all the work they’re doing. Things that they feel proud of. And this could be in the form of word documents or videos, or even audios.
Another way to improve accountability is to keep clear records of what you’ve been assigned and to note when you’ve completed those tasks and what impact or result that you produce. So, in other words, if we’re out of the normal corporate structure where, you know, you just have goals, kind of imposed upon you.
Now, it’s very important for each individual to develop his or her own goals. And to be accountable to those goals. It’s almost like keeping a detailed checklist that you can share with the team. I think it’s important to encourage everyone on the team to do this, whether they’re managing up or managing down. We have very little external reinforcement or structure these days.
So each individual really needs to become even more goal-directed and self accountable. I think we can write down specific objectives, the timeframes for completion, they need to become their own structure for accountability, monitoring their own progress and even celebrating incremental successes with their team members.
Finally, whenever it’s possible, I suggest that employees ask their supervisors for more feedback and input than never before. And ideally, this should be formally scheduled at regular intervals, not random or haphazard. It seems like a lot perhaps to ask of a supervisor, but I think that it’s incredibly helpful if they actually do this.
Lauri Plante (00:25:52):
And if I can just come and forward, it’s actually one of the trends. So the old trend was you’d sit down once a year with your supervisor. I mean, who remembers what you did, you know, 11 months ago? So now that you’re sort of, you’re seeing organizations meeting with their teams, meeting with their leaders on a monthly basis. We do that at CCI and, you know, it’s, we celebrate the successes on a monthly basis if there’s a course correction, but we’re having those conversations.
Ford Myers (00:26:24):
Yeah. It’s kind of counterintuitive, you know, people think, Oh, well, I’m working at home. I’m sort of out in left field. You know, nobody knows me, nobody cares. I’m way out here in the boondocks, but that’s not how it should be. We need to put more emphasis on constant feedback, more accountability, try to create structure where possible. So I hope that employers understand this.
Jeff Metz (00:26:49):
More great suggestions. In fact, that sort of ties into, you know, if you were looking for a job with another employer. How best to communicate your value to a prospective employer, particularly, you know, if you’re looking for a new position, maybe in the same field. But you know, perhaps if they don’t have that kind of environment where it’s been recorded, communicated, and they’re meeting regularly as a team, what suggestions do you have for prospective employers if you’re out there looking?
Ford Myers (00:27:19):
You mean to convey your value to the employer?
Jeff Metz (00:27:22):
Conveying your value to your prospective employer.
Ford Myers (00:27:25):
Well, look, I hate to sound like a broken record, but I’m a big, big believer in not just presenting a handsome resume, but having a host of wonderful accomplishment stories.
See employer only cares about one thing, which is what can you do for me today? You hit the ground running and add value immediately. And that translates directly into accomplishment stories.
- How did you add value to previous employers?
- What problems did you solve?
- What results did you produce?
- How specifically did you go about it operationally?
And when you can convey these kinds of successes to a prospective employer, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting hired. Too many people think that they just have to show up with a nice resume or that their pedigree, their track record will speak for itself. No, it doesn’t.
You have to proactively explain and demonstrate the way that you have added massive value. And the best way to do that in my opinion is to have accomplishment stories, even work samples. There’s something where you can clearly show the way you add value.
Lauri Plante (00:28:43):
Every organization has problems. And I think to summarize what Ford just said, they all have problems. Do you understand what those problems are? Do you have the skillset to solve those problems?
How articulate are you in talking about your accomplishments and not use jargon, use simple language that people understand, think about the language that you’re using to help that employer solve their problems. You want to be known as a problem solver.
Ford Myers (00:29:15):
That’s right. And I want to pick up on that. People need to stop acting like applicants, stop acting like candidates. When they’re trying to get into a new company. Instead they need to shift their perception and the way they project themselves.
Instead, they need to show up as problem solvers like Lauri says. As solution providers. It’s more of a consultant mindset, not an applicant mindset.
- It’s a mindset of how can I help?
- How can I add value?
- How can I make a difference?
- It’s not, what can the employer do for me?
- It’s what can I do for the employer?
Jeff Metz (00:30:02):
Right. Yeah Thank you. And it sounds like that should be the case all along. Although we had, you know, up until the COVID, it was just mentioned an employee’s market. Well, let’s switch a little bit and let’s talk about key job search strategies to gain access to your target market.
You know, given, given some, maybe some areas of shrunk in employment potential, but are there, you know, now where we are with, with the employment situation, are there key job search strategies that you think about if someone were looking at, you know, researching companies and trying to find their target company, what kind of strategies would you use now to figure out is that the right culture fit? Is it the right company for me, you know, in terms of approaching them for an employment, possibility.
Lauri Plante (00:30:54):
I still, you know, I still go back to the basics when I hear that question. And in the basics, it’s, you’ve got to do your homework, which also includes understanding what is it that you’re selling and who’s your buyer.
And when I think of what I say, who are you, what are you selling? I’m thinking about the skills, the competencies, the things that you bring to the table that somebody is going to want to pay for and understanding who your buyer is.
So, you know, is it the world at large? Are you looking at relocation? Will you cross a bridge? And you know, geographically, you know, I think about employers and truly believe that we all fit someplace, but we all don’t fit in the same place.
So there are some folks that just thrive in large cumbersome, corporate structures and others that just thrive in a smaller, more nimble entrepreneurial culture or somewhere in between. So understanding where you, where you fit best, there’s a lot of resources through the library systems that you can probably access online that will help you define who those companies might be. And then put your plan together.
It’s like going to a realtor and saying, I want a new house. And the realtor says, that’s great. How can I help you? When you say, show me what you have. You’ve become that person’s worst nightmare because there’s no focus.
So it’s understanding what your focus is, what your price point is, and then putting together that plan so that when you go out to network, you’re having thoughtful conversations and always keep in mind with your network. It’s not who, you know, it’s oftentimes who they know.
Ford Myers (00:32:58):
When I work with clients as a career coach, before I let the client go out and start interviewing or even smart networking, we do a very deep dive and we work really hard on getting clarity. All right, absolute clarity on what that client really wants, where they can add the most value.
What makes the most sense for the next step of their career? We do exercises.
- Like they write out their perfect job description.
- They write out a scenario of their ideal work day.
- They write a list of adjectives describing their perfect employer wishlist.
Well, why do we do all this? We do all of this because I believe clarity is power. And we want to get this person hyper-focused, as Lauri said, completely clear. And only then can we begin the research into what industries and what specific companies would be a good potential fit.
There was a lot of research that happened when they eventually go out and launch their search by i.e. networking. They already have a list of prospective employers. They already know what industries they want to go after. So they don’t go to networking meetings, asking the other person, where should they look, or where might they fit in? That’s not smart.
Instead you have to go to the networking partner and say, here’s where I’m heading. Can you help me get there through ideas, through input, feedback, referrals?
Lauri Plante (00:34:45):
I had, I had a friend years ago who said to me, she was an HR leader. And she said, I love being in manufacturing. I just love it. I have this physical need to go out to the floor to feel, see, and touch product. And I looked at her and I said, that is so interesting because I have no such needs. I love being in the service industry, but it was just, I always remembered that conversation because she never could see herself in service. She loved going into the production side.
Jeff Metz (00:35:19):
Ford Myers (00:35:20):
This is highlights, sorry. This highlights something, which is that job search, career transition, career planning, career management. It’s 80% an inside game. Alright. The work and the development needs to happen between two ears. The application or the implementation of the plan is only 20% of the game, in my opinion.
Jeff Metz (00:35:47):
Wow. So I have a, I have a follow-up on that, that idea of Ford. But before I ask, do you both see, I mean, now that geography, you know, with the virtual work environment, you see that being relaxed as far as, you know, potential employers out there. I mean, have they just said, forget geography at this point, we’re virtual now. We can select from a talent pool anywhere in the country. Are you finding that that’s that’s the case or not?
Lauri Plante (00:36:23):
We’re saying that we’re definitely seeing that. And again, probably not so much at the beginning of the year, but I think work from home is also as, as many of, you know, has translated into work from anywhere. And then again if you take a look at everything that we’ve talked about, the visibility, the internal talent strategies, it’s for smart organizations, the talent pool then has opened up broadly.
So it’s no longer, less necessarily somebody from the Southern New Jersey, the greater Philadelphia market it’s gene. And what I can, you know, I could consider somebody in Boston or North Carolina or, you know, it’s, it’s really opened up a market. I received a job lead yesterday from somebody for a role in Raleigh and person doesn’t necessarily need to reside in North Carolina.
Ford Myers (00:37:20):
Yeah. I’ve seen a loosening of those stricture, those structures too. It’s not so restricted anymore. So obviously if it’s a job that requires physical presence, like building something on a shop floor to relocate, but for most jobs, especially white collar jobs is a real loosening of those requirements.
Jeff Metz (00:37:46):
So, so Ford, you know, you’ve always advocated, you know, perpetual career management. So, you know, what is it about our current circumstances that, that has generated new strategies or reinforced others you’ve created in the past?
Ford Myers (00:38:03):
Okay, well, let’s talk about perpetual career management. This is a term that I coined at several years ago. Why? Because I was seeing a lot of people who were working real hard when they were out of a job to find a new job. They were updating their documents, they were practicing their networking and interviewing skills, they were doing extensive research, but of course, as soon as they get that new job, all that stuff goes on the shelf and they go back to just focusing on their job and forgetting about managing their career. So that’s a huge mistake.
Every professional needs to perpetually manage his or her career, no matter what your work circumstances are at the time. So I believe that yes, during this pandemic, that this is the ideal time to focus on learning and practicing career management skills. People should not waste this downtime in the market. They should ideally work to create a better career future. As I said, we’re hurting right now.
The actual strategies for career management remain largely the same, but those strategies are really more important than ever to differentiate yourself from all the other candidates. Pardon me. So I really think that everyone needs to position themselves, especially for when the pandemic is over. They will need to be in top form to hit the ground running.
Now this pandemic has made a few other facts extremely clear. Obviously we’ve learned that we can’t predict the future. We never know what might happen. Seven or eight months ago, no one had even heard of COVID-19 so we can never allow ourselves to become the rear complacent.
We need to keep growing, improving, innovating. We need to always be prepared for change. And second, we need to keep up with technology. We need to adapt to this digital reality we’re living in. I mean, just look at the massive shift we’ve had to this virtual work-style. There’s not been so quickly.
So to summarize, I think we need to be more adaptive. We can no longer avoid new technologies because they make us uncomfortable. The no longer have the luxury of doing that. If we want to survive in the new work-world, we need to learn these tech skills, breaks them and integrate them into our day-to-day professions.
So let me just summarize by saying that the whole concept of perpetual career management, I think, has been emphasized, underscored, accentuated more than ever as a result of the circumstances we’re in now with this global pandemic.
Lauri Plante (00:41:06):
If I can just comment on what Ford said. So if you’re listening and what Ford’s comments were and agree with them, and I hope you do, you may be asking yourself, well, how do I do that? I would recommend get a reverse mentor. So find somebody who may be, you know, 10, 20 years younger and have that person and, you know, show you what those technology tools might be.
Jeff Metz (00:41:36):
It’s a great suggestion because I was going to ask, you know, what skill sets do you anticipate employers will be looking for going forward, given all of, you know, given the fact that we’re not necessarily person to person, we don’t have that, that contact on a regular basis. You know, Lauri, are you seeing sort of that this, this skill set, requirements changing a bit?
Lauri Plante (00:42:00):
I think, you know, so it’s, it’s hard to define skill without necessarily without looking at function, but from a broad, from a broad perspective, it’s many of the same words that have just been used.
Employers are looking for flexibility for adaptability. They’re looking at your learning agility.
So how quickly, you know, how do you stay current? How quickly do you absorb information?
Everything is changing for people who are rooted in their ways. And if you listen to the language that people use for doing it this way for 10 years, gee, okay, that’s it, there might be some benefits to that. There might be a turnoff.
So they’re looking for that adaptability. And again, can you, are you a problem solver?
Ford Myers (00:42:47):
I completely agree with what Laurie said, and I’ll add that aside from the critical trade skills and technical skills that we just mentioned. I agree that employers will be focusing on many of the soft skills. The pace of change has accelerated in this pandemic world.
So skills such as adaptability, flexibility, agility, resiliency, all of these will be key moving forward. Also advanced skills in team building and organization and communication will be valued to help manage these distributed workforces.
Jeff Metz (00:43:32):
Thanks Ford and Laurie. So, you know, thinking about career planning, you know, we’re for people that are maybe 10 years away from when they thought they would retire, you know, and, and maybe, concerned about what comes next, you know, early part of next year, if the economy stays, depressed, you know, what, what should they be doing?
You know, in terms of, again, improving their skills, are there specific things they should be looking for, whether it’s coursework or, you know, seminars, what, what kinds of things would you suggest, for those people who are sort of late, mid to late career?
Lauri Plante (00:44:17):
Jeff, I just want to clarify, you’re asking as a look at retirement or from a career planning?
Jeff Metz (00:44:24):
From a career planning they’re 10 years away and they thought they would be working for another 10 years, but maybe they won’t. So what can they do to make them themselves as valuable as possible, you know, for, for this next leg of their, or their, of their time horizon?
Ford Myers (00:44:44):
Sure. Thank you. Well, for someone like that, who’s toward the end of their career, looking toward retirement, I think they should be really reviewing their retirement and financial plans in detail and making adjustments as needed.
This is one of those times when it’s essential to do a thorough examination and update all their planning documents, people would be wise to get expert counsel from their financial planners, retirement coaches, estate attorneys, insurance advisers, and so on. Ideally all of these advisors will work cooperatively on the individual’s behalf to provide a unified, consistent plan.
People will also need to be bold. People in that situation that you described, Jeff, they will need to be bold because they may be faced with making some big changes, such as delayed retirement dates and postponed social security claiming.
And from a career standpoint, I believe a thorough review needs to be done here, too. Folks should engage a career coach or a career buddy, or join a career group to do a sort of reality test.
- They need to ask questions like does the career or the job they had before still makes sense now?
- Will they need to delay retirement work longer than they had planned?
- Should they change their resumes on their LinkedIn profiles to convey skills and qualifications that will be more relevant as they move forward?
And as awful as this pandemic is, I think it depends serve as a lesson to become more marketable, more competitive and more employable in a post pandemic world.
Lauri Plante (00:46:46):
I think the key thing when it comes to, if you’re, if you’re 10 years out from retirement, that’s really, when you want to start the planning, the financial planning, the legal planning.
When you listen to people talk about their retirement dreams, they tend to say, I want to travel, I want to play golf and I want to be with the grandkids. Well, you already know that travel has changed. You know, you can’t always golf 12 months out in the year.
And for some people they may or may not be close to their grandchildren. And you have to also have that conversation with your partner. Is that what you want to do is be is that your identity in retirement? I can’t emphasize that enough.
As Ford said, talking to the financial, the estate planners is absolutely crucial, but then there’s the emotional side of this, which people don’t pay attention to. People talk about retirement. They’re talking about the numbers, almost always. They talk about the numbers. And, but when you take a look at the biggest predictor of success of happiness in retirement, it’s always going to be the number of close relationships that you have.
And I’m not always talking about family members. It can be friendships, it could be what’s, you know, are you feeling valued? Are you feeling that you have purpose? And, and, you know, when you move into what I call act three, what’s the purpose? And, you know, it’s okay to play golf for the first, you know, six months, 12 months, is that your purpose? It may or may not be.
It may be taking a look at, do I re-career? And if I re-career into a consulting role, a part time role or something like that, what can I start doing now to be prepared? What do I need to research? Who do I need to talk to? Those kinds of things.
I met somebody, who came out of a fairly significant corporate role with a publicly held company. And he, I remember he said, all I want to do. He said, you know, I grew up in a family of carpenters and everybody was, was hands-on. He goes, I love to work at a Home Depot or a Lowe’s. That was his dream and retirement. Wasn’t for the first six months, but that’s ultimately wanted what he wanted to do. And so having giving thought to that, and if you have a partner make, I can’t emphasize enough, make sure you’re on the same page.
Jeff Metz (00:49:25):
Okay. So maybe if, if you wouldn’t mind, Laurie and Ford for, for those that are maybe earlier in their career, maybe 10 years in and they have a longer runway, you know, besides what you said earlier, is there any suggestions you have, from a standpoint of, you know, what they should be doing?
I know Ford you talked about documenting the successes and the projects you’ve worked on and so forth. But what about sort of peering over the horizon and looking at, you know, industries, what industries might be expanding or contracting, you know, is there some kind of, yeah, some kind of strategy you think they should be looking at or what suggest they sort of embark on?
Ford Myers (00:50:11):
Well, if I may, for people who are earlier in their career, maybe just five or 10 years, working in the workforce, my suggestion would be to learn everything you can from this experience of living through the coronavirus pandemic. In other words, use this as a lesson in adaptability and overcoming adversity. So don’t be defeated or cynical. Instead try to rise above this because you have your whole career ahead of you.
Now that will better protect you from these kinds of crises in the future, because they will happen. This is not the last crisis you will face in your career or in your life. So be ready to pivot to other means of making a living, be more adaptable and flexible.
I think young people should not rely on one job or one single employer to provide everything they need. I think they should pursue multiple interests and work activities. They should consider developing multiple streams of income.
These younger workers, what I’m suggesting is frankly, a more independent, more entrepreneurial mindset where they’ll have more control over their career circumstances and outcomes. Laurie may be more conversing on what industries are expanding, but those are my suggestions.
Lauri Plante (00:51:47):
Well, I also think that if you’re, if you’re a young professional, it’s always healthy to take a step back periodically and look in the rear view mirror. And if you’ve, you know, graduated from any school trade school, college, whatever, you know, more than 10 years ago, your education may be obsolete no matter where you went.
So ask yourself, am I current? You know, have I taken advantage of any certification programs? Is it time to go back to school? What have I done to build my network? And to Ford’s comment, no employer is hiring you saying, come join us. We promise nothing will ever change. You know, the assumption is things do change. We’ve seen it in States this year.
So, and this goes into how do I stay marketable? Keep your skills current, keep your education current, build your network. It’s easier now actually in so many ways to build that network because all of the professional groups that used to have either the breakfast meetings, the evening meetings, when everybody’s online, everybody’s having it through zoom. So all of a sudden it opens up an opportunity to participate.
Again, you have to show up, you’ll have to think about how you’re coming across and, and, and take advantage of this situation, but take stock, identify where those gaps might be And also take a look at what you’ve done really, really well. And think about how do I build upon that? So it’s not always looking at the deficiencies, but looking at what those strengths are and asking yourself, how do I make that? Who I built on that even more so.
Jeff Metz (00:53:35):
And, you know, earlier in the conversation we talked about, leadership development and, companies were emphasizing that and, and they still are as we go through the crisis.
So thinking strategically, where does leadership development fit in from a, you know, from an employee and employers sort of relationship, are you seeing Lauri that they’re, they’re maintaining coaches to do leadership development with, with people that they, they want to groom and bring through that, that, development track? And, and do you see it sort of reaching down into, beyond middle management is it is getting lower in, in, in the workforce areas?
Lauri Plante (00:54:20):
Sure. So at the beginning, when all of this started leadership development had the natural pause, like everything else did, and what we’re seeing it’s, it has absolutely picked up because again, the spotlight has absolutely illustrated, illuminated, if you will, who really needs to development, who was able to pivot, who was a deer in the headlights.
It has absolutely shined the light. We’re in conversations now with clients who said, we put a pause on everything, but 2021, we can’t. We’re there’s one client we’re in conversations with, they’re starting a leadership academy for 2021. And they’re looking at going several layers down in the organization with different approaches.
So I think as you look at leadership development, it’s never a one size fits all it’s around, what does the organization need and different levels need different strategies. But we’re seeing a lot of conversation in that, that space right now. You know, there’s this, there’s a saying, and I remember reading this on LinkedIn and I never forgot it. It says, Oh my gosh, what if I spend the money on developing my people and they leave? And that kind of thing, the reverse side of that is, well, what if I don’t develop them and they stay?
Ford Myers (00:55:44):
I read that too. It’s a great one.
Lauri Plante (00:55:46):
It’s a great one. That’s the fastest way for an organization to become obsolete and subsequently to be acquired.
Jeff Metz (00:55:53):
Yeah. Yeah. So, so is that sort of, you know, tie into the idea of having career capital at your firm and building strength and resilience and making sure that you’ve got that disseminated throughout your employees and your employee population?
Lauri Plante (00:56:12):
I think so. I think the companies and I think of there are several clients of mine that are very savvy in this regard. They’re very good. You know, if you think about career capital, it’s defined as the skills, that connections, and the credentials that an employee brings to their job. So early on in your career, it just might be whatever credentials you have.
You go further into your career, it is going to be those kind of connections. It’s going to be, you know, the enhanced skills, et cetera. So you’re taking a look at that holistically, that entire package. So that’s what employers, the savvy ones, are developing.
And if you’re an employee and you have an organization who says, you know, we’re offering these. Be the first one to sign up. Absolutely. Because you’d never know where the, what that impact is going to be. It sends a message to an employer. If you sign up, it sends a message to an employer. If you choose not to.
Ford Myers (00:57:18):
No, if I could add to that, Jeff, you mentioned the term career capital. And I have often said that no employer wants to hire a candidate whose intellectual capital is stale. So what does that mean?
It means that candidates must arm themselves with fresh career capital consistently. One of the biggest factors in perpetual career management is continuous learning and professional development. So it’s essential that every professional consistently pursue new skills, new knowledge. They could do this through webinars, classes, books, audio programs. This could lead to new certifications or new degrees when possible.
As they say knowledge is power. So this is how you build strength in your career. The more skilled and educated you are, the more agile and resilient you are. It’s as simple as that.
Jeff Metz (00:58:21):
Thank you. Thank you, Lauri and Ford, I guess Bill, if you don’t have any questions, maybe we’ll just go because it’s getting to the top of the hour. Maybe we’ll just go to our takeaways and okay. All right. Thank you. So I guess, you know, the, the takeaways that we, we mentioned, were options.
You know, you, you have a broader array of options are going to have the most success in finding the path out of whatever uncertainty there is, regardless of the scenario that plays out in the future and urgency, you know, don’t wait as both Lauri and Ford were saying, don’t wait to see how things play out.
You need to shake yourself out of your paralysis, do the planning now in order to create these options for yourself and agency, you know, you may not be able to, we talk about changing the future. We may not be able to change the future, but we can certainly nudge our own future, and in a direction that makes the most sense for each of us.
So we hope, we hope you’ve enjoyed the program. If you have questions and find it valuable, you want to a complimentary meeting with a RTD advisor or a, from an organization’s perspective, Lauri or Ford for specific career management concerns, here’s their contact information.
Please go ahead and contact them directly. We want to thank you for being on our webinars this afternoon. Certainly thank you.
Big thank yous for Lauri and Ford for, being on our panel and, and presenting. So thank you all again for participating this afternoon. And we look forward to seeing you soon.