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Career Disruptions. Alert for the Learning Field

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Elliott Masie Notes: “Career Disruption” is the “ALERT” that we need to be tracking for the Learning Field.

Alert for the Learning Field
Alert for the Learning Field 

Elliott Masie Notes
February 13, 2023

I was asked by a journalist if there was an “ALERT” that the Learning and Talent field needed at this time.

“Career Disruption” is the “ALERT” that we need to be tracking. Employees are reporting a significant shift in the certainty of their career pathways - or even of the wisdom of their current career choice.

  • Career Disruption can be sensed in conversations with employees about their confidence in the pathway of their careers in the years (or even months) ahead.
  • Career Disruption can be sensed in the uncertainty that employees share as they think about their future in their current employment.

What are some of the triggers for Career Uncertainty?

  • Large Layoffs Announced in Tech and Other Sectors: As your colleagues read about layoffs in the thousands or tens of thousands from technology and other sectors, it rattles their confidence in their careers. Even if your organization has not announced reductions in staff, there is a floating sense of uncertainty about the time ahead.
  • Tech Innovations (e.g. Open AI) Shaking Role Realities: News coverage of ChatGPT, Open AI, and Machine Learning includes predictions of tech changing, reducing or replacing roles ranging from customer service to coding. Even my colleagues in the Learning field are wondering about the role of instructional design in the generative AI era.
  • Marketplaces & Industries Rattling: There is uncertainty as marketplaces adapt to the changes from the Pandemic, from innovations like EV automobiles and changes in customer behavior. Imagine if you worked in the movie theater industry - as theater-going patterns have changed. There is uncertainty - spoken and silent - about the future of work.
  • Compensation Impacts of Stock Valuation Drops: A colleague of mine is looking at a compensation reduction of almost 40% based on the drop in the stock value of his awarded and option shares. His career confidence has been rocked by this drop.
  • Credentials Confusion: As conversations about credentials and college degrees evolve, some employees are asking about the forward value of their academic or certification background. Is it wise to earn a new credential in a field that is changing rapidly?

What can Learning, Talent and Development departments do in reaction to “Career Uncertainty?"

  • Pulse the workforce around shifts in their Career Uncertainty! We can’t make it go away. But, we can acknowledge and have empathy with their concerns and perspectives.
  • Personalize the employment strategy! A company in our Learning Collaborative reached out to their employees to be very specific about how their tech company was not planning significant layoffs or salary reductions. The CEO and head of HR have been in conversations with both managers and the larger workforce about their corporate stability in the next few years.
  • Generational and tenure differences acknowledged! Without stereotyping by age or generation, acknowledge that career visions and confidence may be quite different based on the tenure duration of employees. What does the pathway to “partnership” or “retirement” look like for different clusters of employees?
  • Upskilling and Career Changing Learning: A number of your employees may want to build their skills for the next chapter of their careers. Some organizations are seeing the course selection on collections like LinkedIn Learning shift to new careers from their employees.
  • Focus on the Now: While it may be harder to talk about the internal career ladder of the next five years with confidence, the organization can and should focus on the Now! A leadership development program can be framed both as an induction to executive roles in the organization as well as building the long-term career value of employees, internally and externally.

I would like to hear about your experiences and perspectives on “Career Uncertainty”. Send an email to [email protected].

Yours in learning,

Elliott Masie
Masie Learning Foundation
Masie Productions
[email protected]

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