There are some good reasons why change fitness may become an important employability factor in the future.
When you stop and think about the context of the modern world, at least in the West, there are three stand-out realities that can’t be ignored. First, there is incessant, unrelenting, and rapid change in technology, and in economic, commercial and sociological arenas. This change brings new opportunities for individuals and organisations able to capitalise on them, but it also brings disruption and potential disaster for those unable to adapt to these new and emerging realities. Some sectors will thrive while others gradually slip into oblivion.
The second reality is the casualisation of the workforce. In many Western countries, there has been an on-going trend towards fewer permanent positions and more contract and casual positions. This may have some benefit to employers, but it provides less security and stability for many workers. But equally concerning is the probability that employers will have less incentive to invest money in the training and development of casual or contract workers. Why spend lots of money training people who may be working for a competitor next contract? This means that as organisations face the increasing need to become ready for change, they are less likely to invest in the change readiness of their increasingly casualised workforce.
The third reality is AI. Like it or not, AI will put a downward pressure on the need for employees in some (or many) industries. AI will learn what people do and then make the people redundant. This is not the future – it is already happening. And it will happen to more people over time. AI does not resist change and, unlike people, will not complain if its working conditions change.
These powerful drivers of commercial, economic, and social change make change readiness a valuable resource. Organisations that are adaptable and agile will be more competitive and more able to survive. Those stuck in the past will belong to the past. A major component of organisational change readiness is the change fitness of the workers. Workers with the psychological fitness and agility to handle change well will be a valuable resource that, I believe, employers will want. In fact, it may become a key employability factor.
Switched-on employers may invest in the change fitness of permanent staff, because they will come to see its importance for the change readiness of the organisation and its well-being. But don’t expect them to invest in the change fitness of casual and contract staff. There would be little incentive for them to do that.
I think as time progresses, people will increasingly understand the importance of being ready for change and having the capacity to handle it well. Some people will sit on the fence and watch what happens. Others will jump in, develop their change fitness and see it as a value-added proposition in the employment arena. The question for you is, what position will you take. Will you sit on the fence and watch your employment opportunities decrease over time? Or will you jump in and demonstrate to potential employers that your change fitness has valuable implications for them?
What do you think? I’d love to hear your views.
Dr Steve Barlow