6 ways to remain relevant in the workplace

As an actuary, staying current in your field will require a strong mix of hard skills such as technical know-how needed to do your job, and soft skills such as general industry knowledge and communication savvy. Here are six ways you can work on staying relevant professionally.

Understand the dynamics of the industry you operate in: 

Myopia serves no one. If you are too busy for instance poring over spreadsheets day in and day out in the exact same manner you have done for years you may miss out on the fact that competitor companies have largely adopted new systems that make their processes more efficient, or redefined standards and parameters for measurement and monitoring their pricing methodologies. Keep your eyes and ears open to developments both in your company and out so you are in the best position to understand if your own modus operandi is optimal and sustainable. Try to always understand the big picture, not just your own particular set of tasks as the latter may be defined and redefined by factors that may be outside your control. Remember it’s not just about competency, it’s about optimal performance, and purely” competent” players are always in danger of being outshone and even rendered redundant by professionals who have maximised efficiency, optimised performance and somehow carved a niche by raising, or better still, redefining the bar.

Take control of your own education

Seek to embrace learning in all its dimensions and embrace it as a lifestyle. Learn by seeing, by doing, by reading, by taking physical and online courses, by asking questions and talking to people, by experimenting and innovating, learn by whatever means are at your disposal and in whatever learning method you prefer. Aim to stay ahead of the literature in your industry and pick up books that motivate and inspire you and benefit you in your overall career and general well-being. Share your learnings with others at the workplace and in your peer circles to entrench your reputation as an expert in your field and become acknowledged as a valuable resource for other professionals in the company and out.

Join the conversation

Keeping up with industry trends and insights requires almost continuous maintenance.

Subscribe to newsletters, participate in discussions online, set up Google alerts for industry keywords so you can read the latest news. It’s only by keeping up on this front that you’ll even know about the technical changes on the horizon.

Make friends across generations

Don’t assume you don’t have anything in common with co-workers who are older or younger than you. Making friends with people who aren’t in your age group can help you communicate with a wider variety of people. Getting their perspectives can help provide new ways of looking at the business. Finally, they can keep you dialled into big-picture changes, as well as provide new tools and problem-solving approaches.

Focus on great communication

Communication skills are still imperative in the globalized workplace environment. With workforce distributed across the globe, one may have to work with people of different cultural backgrounds. In such cases, it is important to understand the cultural sensitivity and relevance of your co-worker or clients and accordingly channel your communication.  This holds true no matter what your field. Make sure that you can express disagreements professionally, explain things clearly, and speak to management in a way that they will understand. Learn how to be a better communicator by reading a book or enrolling in a local class to sharpen these highly required skills.

Contribute to your organisation in a bigger way

Ask yourself what your contributions have been and how you have made your organisation better. Did you create something that helped streamline a process? Perhaps your work resulted in higher customer satisfaction scores? Or maybe it helped your company win new client work due to some level of innovation? Whatever the contribution, your goal should be to help your organisation do what it does, only better.

You should also contribute to making the organisation better as a whole. We’ve all heard the term cultural fit. Since you were hired, evidently you are a cultural fit, but are you a culture add? Which diverse skills, viewpoints, and experiences do you bring to the table? Help the organisation challenge and expand its views by bringing your unique perspectives and experience to all the work you do.

If you’re looking to advance your actuarial career or simply seek advice on how to improve your skill set, get in touch by calling +44 (0)20 3773 2321 or email info@hewittstone.com to arrange a confidential and informal chat.

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