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Do You Have an Employment, Employability or Both?

Do You Have an Employment, Employability or Both?

Is there a way to better future-proof our career in the midst of restructuring, job eliminations and retrenchments?

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by Lim Zhi Rong

Do you have an Employment today or Employability for tomorrow?

I recently shared my thoughts on the above at the first ever ThriveInAsia HR Gathering at LinkedIn APAC HQ Singapore office on the 10 Mar 2016 and I thought I pen my thoughts here as well for wider sharing.

Let me explain.

Employment - You have a job today with Gucci. You are gainfully employed and paid a salary every month. You have been in the same role for the last five years with the company. In this instance, you have an employment. However, you believe your skills are outdated and irrelevant to the job market outside today. If you leave the company tomorrow, you worry that you may not find a job easily in a short period of time. In this instance, you have an employment, but not employability.

Employability - You have a job today with Gucci. You have high learning agility and have picked up several career experiences with the company, taking on different roles and progressing towards broader responsibilities. If you leave the company tomorrow, you believe you'll be able to find a job easily in a short period of time. In this instance, you have both an employment and employability.

We cannot expect wall street firms to promise employees that they will always have an employment. That is unrealistic. Wall street is demanding, they expect returns on their investments and maximum shareholder value. They do not have the patience to wait.

So, as an employee in this 'new world/normal', we need to focus on employability. By honing Learning Agility, knowing what to do when you don't know what to do, we can improve employability.

Learning Agility is a competency or capability which describes a person's speed to learn. In most businesses, this skills is considered one of the most important factors in great leadership. People with strong learning agility can take on new roles, rapidly study, analyze, and understand new situations and new business problems.

There are 5 areas of Learning Agility and I quote from Korn Ferry: Mental Agility, People Agility, Change Agility, Results Agility and Self Awareness.

People with high Mental Agility are comfortable with complexity and ambiguity, finds solutions to tough problems, broad interests and highly curious.

People with high People Agility works effectively with and through people, politically agile, skilled communicator, situationally responsive and manage interpersonal conflict well.

People with high Change Agility are constant thinkers, never satisfied and introduce novel perspectives. They enjoy leading change and willingly takes the heat of any resistance to change.

People with high Results Agility delivers results. They are resourceful, inspiring, has significant presence and build high performing teams.

People with good Self Awareness are insightful, reflective, clearly understand personal strengths and weaknesses, actively seeks feedback and gains insights from missteps.

Every Learning Agility can be develop with the right coaching and development plan. Some may be more difficult than the others. I could go on and on to explain but it will be a huge disservice to Korn Ferry who spent years researching on this topic and has plenty of materials out there online (web) and offline (books) for us to find out more.

I encourage you to invest your time to learn more about Korn Ferry's Learning Agility, understand yourself (self-awareness), seek to develop agilities where you can improve, and hopefully gain both employment and employability!

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.