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Career Management: your secret weapon to be a winner in today’s Talent Revolution

How can small businesses benefit from career management tools? And what can large enterprises learn from small business owners? How can businesses of all sizes turn to career management to make sense of today’s ever-changing world of work and the Future of Work?

These are the questions that will be discussed at the May 11th Toronto book launch for Retain and Gain: Career Management for Small Business. I can’t wait to have businesses – large and small – together to learn from each other and to explore how practical career management tips and tools unlock hidden potential and opportunity within Canada’s workforce.

This book provides a practical approach to start addressing two of the five leading workforce trends Challenge Factory has identified. Specifically, it is a creative response to questions anyone leading a team of people find themselves asking, such as:

• Who “owns” a career? Is it the company? Is it the individual? And what does career ownership mean?
• How can you retain staff as the freelance economy disrupts traditional employment?
• If the largest disruption impacting businesses today is human, not technical, how can managers with little HR training, few resources and never enough time use career management techniques to grow their businesses and their people?

It is with this lens that I was thrilled to be approached by CERIC last summer to write an action-focused Playbook for owners of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Over the last 8 months I have had the opportunity to hear from these Owners and learn how they are taking action to be leaders in this new world of work. The result is a Playbook that is suitable for any business leader who is managing people. It outlines why career management is a critical skill for all managers today – whether you are managing a company with 50 employees or are a manager of a team of 10 within a massive Enterprise – and then provides over 40 practical, time-bound activities and resources you can implement to realize business benefit.

In small business, there are never enough resources. Yet, despite limited resources, success depends not on complaining about doing more with less (who would these owners make this complaint to, anyway?), but doing more by enriching the resources that already exist. This Playbook is all about doing more by finding more.

Canada’s small- and medium-sized owners are role models for today’s Enterprise corporate leaders. With 90.3% of Canada’s private sector employees working within firms that have less than 500 employees – and most within companies with 10 or fewer staff – small- and medium-sized businesses have historically been overlooked by enterprises seeking new approaches or strategies. Whether you are a new graduate looking at job postings at campus career centres, or the owner of a company bidding on a large project for an Enterprise client, the message has traditionally been loud and clear – size matters. They want to know that your expertise and ideas can work “at scale.” The ideas and tactics in Retain and Gain are targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses, but are valuable to organizations of any size.

Only today, the major trends affecting workforces are challenging what “at scale” means. Individuals have more control over their own careers today than anytime in the last three decades. New models of innovation, product development and service delivery are threatening old industry standards. Big companies are developing off-site locations for small groups to work collaboratively and creatively, as if they were part of a small company. Quietly, without much fanfare, it appears Enterprise is turning to small business for insight about how the world of work is changing. After all, small business has a long history of having to make quick market adjustments and being creative with limited resources.

Join the Toronto business community on May 11th for the Toronto launch of my new book, Retain and Gain: Career Management for Small Business. Whether you are a manager within a small business or a leader who needs to implement small business innovation within your large enterprise, you will leave with practical new tools and a great new network.

Lisa Taylor is founder and President of Challenge Factory and the Centre for Career Innovation. Her career and workforce perspectives have been featured in media outlets across North America including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, CBC and The Globe and Mail. Taylor regularly speaks on the Future of Work, the intergenerational workforce and the changing nature of careers in today’s economy.

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