Business agility and transferability

by | May 25, 2021

Organisations and businesses have been under constant pressure to withstand the antics of a global pandemic and frequent business lockdowns. The hospitality, travel and (High Street) retail sectors (not to mention the arts) are all experiencing the pain of ever-diminishing customer flows. At the very same time customers are demanding that businesses do things a little differently. Yes, these remain challenging times for so many. Some of the business transformations have been so gradual they are hardly recognisable on a day to day basis, while others have made a huge (sometimes overnight) impact on their markets.

Most individuals we meet want to progress in their careers. In our experience, a handful of people are quick to recognise that their skills and sometimes attitudes may have stagnated. Interestingly they often believe that they were doing what was required of them; that they were behaving in tune with organisational expectations. People do not readily express pride in getting left behind and they rue the day that they did not choose to grab progress with both hands. They wish that they had set more challenging personal development targets. How can we help them catch up? What should we be doing to help them for the future?

These are just two examples of the need to change: one from an organisational perspective and one from an individual. et both highlight a requirement to work differently and to keep up to date – to be authentic, agile and current.

From time to time the tension of change gets the better of us all and we find ourselves sticking our heels in. We unintentionally resist the opportunity to work differently or try something new, even when our future depends on it. To put it bluntly, we get stuck in a rut. At best, it’s like marching on the spot and businesses lose market share. In its worst form, individuals lose impact and experience frustration which can negatively influence their mental health. All too frequently this is compounded by fewer opportunities and eventual job loss or business closure.

A key objective for us is restoring self-esteem and confidence after job loss or redundancy. Our coaches work systematically to identify their client’s individual skillsets and re-evaluate their preferred ways of working. This includes encouraging clients to consider the transferability of what they offer potential or new employers. For many, this does not come naturally. We are left with the sense that some organisations have not encouraged their people to step outside of their comfort zones to try something new. It seems that many do not particularly value transferability beyond Graduate entry schemes and Executive rotations.

Whether we are looking through recent job postings or listening to client feedback, it seems that many businesses are becoming even more rigid in their people requirements. We frequently read that sector-specific skills are a “must have”. Some would argue that this is a curious scenario, especially when selective redundancies or job losses are often based on imperfect or outdated skills, as well as a lack of individual flexibility or open-mindedness. Surely a greater emphasis on transferable skills will benefit individuals, as well as the enterprise. Our question to you is, “How could more businesses benefit from encouraging greater transferability of skills and attitudes?”

For individuals
When faced with some difficult decisions about your future at work, it is often helpful to consider how your experience portfolio and skillset might translate to another sector. In other words, how transferable are you:

  • Where are the similarities and the differences?
  • What might be your options?
  • What are the limiting factors?
  • What will you do next?
  • Who do you need to help you?

For companies
Increased flexibility and skills transferability will not right all of the wrongs of lockdown, although these qualities are at the heart of agile working. Many of us have witnessed some of the recent triumphs as first class customer service aviation style has become the gold standard of social care. Maybe this is the time to work with the people who have stayed loyal, to mould or shape them, and to weave them into your organisation’s future (as well as its history). Perhaps it’s time to invest in supporting your people to try out new things, whether it is a new role or a similar role in a different context? Are you ready to value transferability? How can we help you make that change?

Our New Horizons Careers coaches are ready to help you to evaluate your people and to better understand the skills which are needed to keep your organisation in step with market imperatives. And as always, we are here to support your people who are leaving with their career transition.

Why not get in touch for a chat in confidence? Call us on 0044 (0)207 831 9843 to let us know how we can help, or send us a message now.