LANDING a job is only half the battle, the other half is keeping it.
In an ever-changing environment, workers cannot afford to become complacent but instead should be constantly working to make themselves irreplaceable.
A 2016 report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds about one in 50 stably-employed Australians is made redundant each year.
Titled Back to Work: Australia, it reveals on average 2.3 per cent of workers with at least one year of tenure experience job loss because of economic reasons such as corporate downsizing or closure.
Although for some workers redundancies are unavoidable, and for others they are welcome, for others again they may be fended off with a bit of forward planning.
Outplacement Australia career transition consultant Gillian Kelly shares her tips for becoming irreplaceable.
Kelly recommends workers keep their finger on the pulse of their industry so they can make long-range plans to upskill into emerging areas of need.
“Join online forums, read articles and papers, follow industry-thought leaders so that you move forward as the industry progresses and innovates,” she says,
“Lifelong learning is now the best investment you can make in your future.”
GET IT SAVVY
Kelly says robots and automation is already in the workplace and if you can’t beat them, join them.
“Technology is integrated into everything today, so the more IT savvy and current you can be, the better,” she says.
“Tomorrow, the technologically literate rule the world.”
GET POSITIVELY DISRUPTIVE
Differentiate yourself from others, Kelly says.
“Build a reputation for delivering value through positive disruption to traditional ways of doing things,” she says.
“This doesn’t mean being abrasive. The collaborative disrupters are the valuable ones.”
Kelly recommends partnering with management to solve problems at work.
“The quiet achiever is often overlooked and a silent casualty when people are competing for promotions and opportunities in the business,” she says.
LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS
“Look for ways to apply your skills in a way that brings value to the business,” Kelly says.
“Be active in going above and beyond to solve issues or bring extra value in the workplace.”
INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS
We live in a relationship economy so workers with strong industry networks are more valuable to their business as well as more likely to be headhunted, Kelly says.
“Corporate relationships are at risk when the people who hold those relationships leave so creating strong relationships creates power in an organisation,” she says.
GET AGILE AND INNOVATIVE
“Cross-skill yourself so you can work across multiple areas and adapt your skills to new applications,” Kelly says.
“The more flexible you are, the more deployable you are.”
Zoe Ghani, director of product and technology at online fashion retailer The Iconic, says she doesn’t consider herself irreplaceable but also doesn’t see that as a problem.
“I think we are all ultimately replaceable, which is great because it allows us to try new things,” she says.
“I like to think about the legacy I am leaving behind from the beginning of a role. It’s better to focus on the question of ‘how can I leave a place better than I found it?’ rather than trying to hold onto my place in a company forever.”
Ghani’s advice for junior workers hoping to prove their value to a company is to focus their efforts on learning.
“Not just learning your job, but also how to improve your role on an ongoing basis,” she says.
“Read books and blogs and talk to people in your field. Also look at learning about what is outside your current immediate role that is relevant. This is not only more fun but also helps the company and your customers, products and clients.”