Monday, September 29, 2008

Remaining Relevant in The Workplace

Want to keep up to date and growing in your workplace? Read up for tips.

Remaining Relevant in The Workplace
by Kelly Services

Are your talents being recognized? Are you in a job that is allowing your career to develop? If not, then now is the time to assess your employability, perhaps consider moving jobs and making that all-important move up the career ladder. But knowing how to get the ball rolling for yourself, so that you can develop your own career plan, requires some serious thinking and careful planning and that's where leading recruitment organizations like Kelly Services can help.

Know yourself
If you are to win at work then you need to understand yourself. Have a clear picture of your own strengths and weaknesses, identify what makes you successful and what doesn't and try to make sure that your job is one that plays to your strengths. We all have weaknesses and if you have something which you feel might hold you back then stop worrying about it and take some action. There are very few difficulties that can't be overcome one way or another.

Set your goalsEveryone needs to have both professional and personal goals in life. If you want to achieve them you need to set some measurements for yourself on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. If you don't know what you want then you'll know when you've got it.

Update your skills
Make sure you are getting the right training at work to enable you to do your job effectively. If you aren't then make your Human Resource Manager aware of why you need certain training and be enthusiastic about wanting it. If the training is not offered in-house then find out who runs the course you want, where you can do it, when and how much it will cost. Outside of your workplace you can enhance your interpersonal skills with activities such as competitive sport which is brilliant for team building or perhaps acting which is a big confidence booster for many people.

Everyone talks about commitment these days but it is absolutely crucial that you believe in the organization you work for and respect the senior management who are leading it. You have to be in tune with the company philosophy, understand the company strategy, its direction - know where it is that the company is going and make sure that you are on the same train going in the same direction. Without this sense of commitment you lose something in terms of motivation and enthusiasm for the job.

Make your voice heard
There is a real difference between making your voice heard, i.e. bring assertive, and being aggressive. Don't be too pushy and alienate yourself from other people particularly your peer group because their support and respect for you is vital if you want to get on. Develop the art of timing, of presenting your ideas and views logically, of making sure that they will work and of being receptive of other people's ideas.

Take Responsibility
Being able to take responsibility and to take the consequences of that responsibility is absolutely crucial. Taking responsibility is about taking ownership. As companies move towards a flat management structure it has two main consequences. First, more junior jobs are becoming more responsible and more interesting but this greater level of empowerment for individuals also mean that you have to be able to cope with more pressure both physical and mental. It may be that suddenly you find yourself reporting to a Board Director with no-one in between which can be difficult. It may require some changes in the way you operate but it's not impossible.

As you become more senior in your career and career becomes more global as business increasingly shift to be 24/7, it is likely that you will not be working a 9-5 routine, and that you may have to travel, stay away from home and plan your own schedule. Companies need to see that you are prepared to be flexible to do the job that needs doing wherever it needs doing. A critical factor here is having a partner who is empathetic to the requirements of your job, who understands how important it is for you to be able to develop your career and who gives you support at home.

The importance of networking both within your own organization and outside cannot be underestimated. Internally it is important that you are respected and seen as being helpful in your peer group and it also helps if you are liked. Try to be the sort of people that other people like to bounce ideas off or ask advice from - be prepared to put yourself out for others. Outside the office you should be developing contacts with other like minded people so that you can provide mutual help to one another. If you want to get on in your career then getting to know the right people can help you get ahead.

The value of having a mentor at work provides an ideal environment for positive career development. Ideally at a more senior level, your mentor should be someone you respect, who doesn't have any direct line responsibility for you and who represents good working practices. It is with your mentor that you can discuss difficulties about your job, the people you work with etc. without any fear of repercussion. Your mentor will also be able to give you an objective view of situations and provide helpful advice. While you may be looking for a mentor it is also worth remembering that you could perhaps fulfill that role for someone else.

Career Coaches
Career coaches are an alternative to your mentor, manager and human resource staff. In the 21st century, individuals who wish to get ahead in their career or make transitions in some aspect of their career, by engaging a career coach will have an invaluable strategic alliance partner. Career coaches are effectively personal career consultants to individuals. They help their clients to look critically and objectively at their career and give unbiased guidance and feedback to enable reflective thinking and analysis for career success. They also assist with facilitating career risk analysis and career 'politics'.

Taking Risks
Taking risks is never easy but at some point in your career you will have to do so. It may be taking on a new job in a different area, it may be putting yourself forward for a more senior position or it may even be giving up your job and studying for qualifications that you believe will open new doors. Whatever it is, weigh up seriously all the pros and cons before you make your decision so that when you do take risks they are calculated ones and you are aware of the consequences. But at the end of the day, particularly where work is concerned, there is often an element of 'nothing ventured - nothing gained'.

Office Politics
There are office politics in all organizations, but it is probably true the larger the company the more chances there is that office politics assume a greater importance. There are two factors here that are really important. First you need to have someone at the head of the company that does not take part in office politics and basically who disregards them. Secondly, you need to develop a fairly thick skin so that you won't take every rumor and bit of gossip personally. Try and avoid office politics, it is a dangerous game which takes people's focus from the job they are doing and often creates a whole host of problems for them.

Work Smarter
Don't fall into the trap of trying to be the person who works the longest hours. Concentrate on delivering results and making sure those results are the best you can achieve. Be confident in your own success and other people will have confidence in you.

Being a winner
So what does being a winner take? Certainly commitment, enthusiasm and determination to make things happen; it also requires ambition motivation and a real drive for responsibility. It takes all of that, plus the right attitude and being in the right place at the right time with the right skills, abilities and a desire to succeed and thrive. Even if you are not looking to move now, you need to be monitoring what is happening in the employment market place. You need to be managing your own career getting yourself ready for the next move rather than waiting to see what might or might not happen. Career management must become part of your lifestyle. Just as you engage in health management by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet and wealth management by thriftily saving, diversifying your investment and prudently investing; you need to ensure career wellness through effective career strategy and ensuring diligent implementation of your strategy for career success.