Up until very recently, VaynerMedia had a ‘learning by osmosis’ strategy. That’s how we learned – it was almost like a game of Telephone. The more people you spoke to the greater your knowledge was, and the easier it was for you to navigate within the company.
That’s still a very big part of who we are. Because it works hand in hand with our high touch, friendliness, and camaraderie – we’re a connective tissue type of organization.
However, during COVID-19 we put someone in charge of learning and capabilities, Sarah Murphy, and she’s off and running. And, having done a phenomenal job at serving almost everyone in the company, finding out what it is they need and the common denominators, what they were really looking for, we’ve now produced several different capability trainings.
Whether or not that is specifically for media, or for the new manager coming into a management role, whether or not that’s communication skills, executive leadership skills, we have a very thorough and robust learning curriculum, which is fantastic.
This curriculum is also something that helps us in our interview process – by the way, the first question that we still get, and we may get for a while is, ‘is this remote work’? When we then go into what the job is about, the core competencies that one needs, it’s an easy jump to talk about the culture of learning that we’re building internally.
Skills for life
I believe that VaynerMedia, no matter what, teaches you a master’s degree, or a PhD, depending on what you put into it. No matter what, if you’re there a year, or seven years, or ten years, you’re going to come out a much more successful human, a more educated human, in both hard and soft skills. And I think I’m very lucky, because I’ve also been the recipient of that: the more I lean in, the more I learn.
How do I see the skills landscape changing? Let’s start with leadership skills. I think that we’ll never go back to that type of top-down leading-from-an-ivory-tower type of place where workers are looking up to some guru in the sky, saying whatever you say, I’ll do it.
I think that we have a lot more generations in the workplace that are using their own curiosity to figure out how to build their own career path or architect their own career within a set job.
When you allow people to run outside of the lanes that we’ve had for so long, incredible innovation and creativity is coming our way. We’re seeing in younger millennials and Gen Z that are coming into the workforce, that they have these incredible natural skills when it comes to storytelling and captivating an audience in 15 seconds or 30 seconds on TikTok.
So I do think leadership skills are wildly important, especially focusing on the soft skills of leadership – really helping mentor or coach someone is extremely important.
Time for exploration
Because we’re the type of company that has so much curiosity and we have a founder that is really interested in human behavior, we get to tinker with some of the aspects of Web 3 and the metaverse, without that sense that we’re going to fail or ‘what happens if I fail’.
I don’t know what failing in this world looks like. So I do think whether or not it’s the metaverse, whether or not it’s crypto, NFTs, this world is very new and is only going to expand, and we’re only going to have more explorers as we did in Web 1.0 in the first dot com boom, in the 90s.
We’re going to have that same Wild Wild West for a while, which is people figuring out what the metaverse is and how to make a living in there. So I think it’s really a big question mark, which is going to be really exciting to see what skills we actually do need because I probably need to upskill myself.
I also think that, especially in HR, there’s of course a valid place for AI around analytics, and it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens when AI is doing the quant(itative) and potentially some of the qual(itative) analysis that we already do, and then what we are going to do with people that used to have the job of putting information into databases.
I’m really excited to see where we can use their skills and what skills they might need to sharpen in order to bring more value into the workplace.
The world’s HR conference and expo is back, and Claude Silver is speaking. Don’t miss out on her insights at UNLEASH World in Paris this October.
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