The All-Rounder: An Essential Component?

Diversity is the buzzword for the 21st century. It is a term synonymous with change, progression, and excelling in every way, and your business needs to start to embody the same tenets. It is the only way to push forward in industry. The underlying truth of the nature of work in the age of now is that we need to make sure that every part of our business wears as many hats as possible. It makes sense from a company perspective, a staff perspective, and from the perspective of industry. So for those that run organizations that are in dire need of direction, what does being an all-rounder do for the long-term future?

The first place to look is in the job market itself. Look at the types of jobs that are emblazoned over any standard jobs board, digital communications, B2B, outsourcing, and countless others that are intrinsically linked with technology. These types of roles did not exist over 15 years ago, and with the dot.com boom in the early 21st century, we only just began to see the potential of what the Internet can do for us. Now it is the most integral important part, not just in business, but in our lives. There are countless startup companies that earn their crust by SEO marketing techniques, PPC marketing, affiliate marketing, or blogging. The internet is the trendsetter for the modern age of business. And with this climate comes roles that have no comparison with the climate of 20 years ago. It may as well have been 100 years ago! As the market is chock-full of computerized careers and the Internet is a vast breeding ground for new clients and customers, everyone is trying to get their slice of the pie. This means that every entrepreneur with a dream and a loan starts up their own company and works for themselves. The role of the entrepreneur has blown up completely in the last 6 or 7 years. Entrepreneurs are lone-wolfs, and the role requires detailed knowledge of every area of business, which then means that one skilled roles are slowly dying away. And these entrepreneurs need to learn each skill of the business they are running in order to stay afloat, which is why 9 out of 10 startups fail. In order to thrive in the industry, you need to be multi-skilled or get swept away with the tide.

What does this mean for the common everyday worker? The generation that is going through school, or college, and will be unleashed on the world in a few years need to be hardwired to adapt with constant trends and changes. The thing that will dictate these trends? Technology. The ever-expanding tech and demand for new and faster capabilities mean that everyone needs to pedal harder to catch up. Just about every single role in business demands some level of technological proficiency. It is paining to see those over the age of 60 that are unable to keep up with the changes try to make their way through a basic spreadsheet program. I don’t say this in an ageist way, but it is plain to see in businesses that are part of the fabric of the country, that the generation gap is very wide, and the progression of technology seems to say “catch up or get put on the scrapheap!” Couple this with an increase in demand from customers and clients and a decrease in funds, it means people have to spread themselves over a few different roles. The nature of the ability to diversify before a role has even been applied for is a skill that many employers look upon favorably. It means that employers can spend less money on hiring one person that does 3 jobs, rather than 3 people who do one job each. It is just more common sense. How do the workers feel about the diversification in their roles? On the one hand, it means that the very nature of the work on a daily basis is extremely varied, with no letup in pace it makes the day fly by, and nobody could say that it is boring, but there is the stress factor. Too little stress is bad for you, too much stress is very bad for you. Where does the line get drawn? We now feel the pinch a lot more, whatever role we have in a company. From the CEO to the toilet cleaner, the constant barrage of “target, target, target” is an anxiety attack waiting to happen, especially if the worker feels that they are coerced into doing another set of duties, ones they are not especially skilled in. What is the best way to deal with this? As workers are likely to be supremely skilled in one area but feel that they are just getting by with another, nurturing skills, and additional training can help to give staff members more confidence in their overall abilities. Companies like www.elliswhittam.com/ benefit by teaching companies skills they lack in, contributing to their all-round potential. As the confidence increases and staff members feel more competent in their ability to tackle more roles in the allotted timescale (the working week), they will work better overall. While it is a more a prerequisite for people to be multi-skilled now, by nurturing their existing abilities while building up on others, it is a more organic process to encourage, instead of piling pressure on your staff which can lead to burnout and fewer people to tackle the workload!

Why will your business suit the all-rounder approach? Going back to penny-pinching, each area of your business will feel the pressure. Whether this is to cut costs or to stretch staff members to their limit, these are approaches that will make the best impression when your business is making its ascendance. Startups and small companies thrive in this type of environment, and it makes a personal impact on your teams. This is why you should promote a working atmosphere that is thriving and encouraging. The old factory line mentality has no place in the modern workplace. There is more demand for flexibility, and people’s home lives are busier so you may wish to implement the remote running of an office to give people an opportunity to work from home. These small touches will go a long way to promote job satisfaction, which they will need when being asked to do more than one role. This also works wonders when you are looking to restructure. If you get to the point where you can upscale, or your business needs a big shake-up, it is a much easier task to accomplish. The other, very important, factor when it comes to a workplace culture is the eradication of apathy. It is a common saying, “that’s not my job,” which can be a major grating, professionally and personally, in a company. The positive by-product of this is an increase in collaboration. Collaboration is promoted a lot more now, and the most thriving and dynamic of companies look for the best ways to embed a culture of transparency. By having all-rounders take the lead, it can make for a lot more healthier discussion and an increase of ideas, which will further improve the company in more than just profit…

The all-rounder is an essential in modern business. The sheer dynamics, coupled with the need to cut costs encourages people to better prepare themselves for industry by upskilling in more than one specialty area. Will this prove to be a good fit for your company? Only time will tell. But for the moment, the all-rounder is here to stay.

About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.
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