The workplace continues to change and employers and employees are increasingly adapting to the so-called “new normal,” although the phrase is quite ambiguous. The days of a single employer, or even career path, are long gone, and seems they are never coming back. As one result, workers must take control of their own career paths and as you do, inclusion should be part of the equation as you move through their career lifecycles.
Why Consider Inclusion in Career Mapping
What do diversity and inclusion have to do with my career roadmap people may ask? And it’s a valid question. First of all, diversity and inclusion isn’t a passing business trend, it’s the future. So everyone’s career arc will be impacted in one way or the other. From entry-level new hires to senior executive suites, hiring is increasingly diverse and opportunities previously out of reach are beginning to present new paths for diverse candidates. And not just in terms of race, gender, and orientation, diversity and inclusion extend beyond that to include neurodiversity, socio-economic background, and other dimensions of diversity.
Build a diverse and inclusive network.
Be intentional and strategic as you go about building your network. An over-reliance on a convenience sample of friends and colleagues is a good start in building your professional network. Look at it closely to determine whether or not it is too homogenous and narrow. Some networks only reflect people from similar backgrounds—be it people in the same city or region, or people in only one industry. Bursting your bubble and expanding it by reaching out to people outside of your comfort zone will pay off vast dividends as you move through your career.
Keep Learning and Upskilling
You completed your college or trade school education and you’re ready to conquer the business world. Okay, but in terms of learning, you’re far from done. The expectations in today’s workplace demand continuous learning and upskilling to keep abreast of emergent technologies and industry best practices. While employers are increasingly providing continuous learning and professional development programs, you’ll also need to do it independently. Engaging your network is a good place to start in identifying independent learning opportunities.
We all get a bit complacent when we’ve established successful careers or mastery of a particular area of expertise. But no one knows it all. We all require coaching and mentoring at every career stage. Of course, we should be coaches and mentors ourselves, but remaining coachable demonstrates your continuous desire to broaden your expertise and skillsets. As the workforce diversifies, look for coaches and mentors from different countries, backgrounds, industries, or cultures.
Be willing to take risk
Innovation is driving business today. And without risk-taking, you will not achieve any degree of innovation. Again, bursting our bubbles is a good thing. Consider challenging yourself by taking a job in another region or country if you have the opportunity. In this global business climate, employers remain bullish on candidates with broad international experience. Also, career skill rotation by accepting project roles that will help you grow and adapt to working with people you might not have the opportunity to on a day-to-day basis.
Be nimble and agile
Someone once said the best-laid plans (of mice and men) often go awry. Consider this as you hit a career roadblock. Technology has disrupted any number of careers and that trend is expected to get even more prominent as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) emerge. Are you prepared to shift or transition if necessary? It’s smart to look at your skill set to consider how you could transition to a new career path that interests you and is stable.
Marry a passion with occupation
And finally, as you consider alternate career paths and opportunities, try to marry something you’re passionate about with your work. This is very important for entrepreneurs of course, but it applies to us all—whether we’re starting a business or working for an employer. And for people in under-represented groups or populations, funding sources in the form of small business loans, grants and such are opening up as we consider more equitable support for women and minority-owned businesses.
These are only a few tips on how you can take control of your career, while also embedding diversity and inclusion into your career strategy. What ideas do you have about controlling your career arc in an inclusive way? Let us know by leaving a comment and joining the conversation.