The Future of Work is Reputation Capital

Predictions of the Workplace

What is the Future of Work?

The other day I bought a book on impulse. The book is The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and I am very happy I picked it up. As I was flipping through the book I came across the chapter on predictions. The first one caught my eye: You will be hired and promoted based upon your reputation capital.  This is the future of work and our work place.

According to the authors:

“Reputation capital will be the top currency in the 2020 workplace. This is the sum total of your personal brand, your expertise, and the breadth, depth, and quality of your social networks….. This means looking for employees who have not only wide, deep and high-quality social networks but also demonstrate a track record of turning those networks into increased business value for the organization and a stronger personal brand for themselves.”

Social Media in the Work Place & Life is Important

Obviously this statement goes well beyond just having a list of names on your LinkedIn profile. As an individual you will have to have an active list of contacts that you have more interaction with on a more frequent basis. You will need to be active on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and whatever other social interaction platform is active at that time. You will need to help people understand how that network will help a prospective employer.  Social media at work is important for building your professional reputation, network, and relationships in the work place.

Value of Your Personal and Professional Network

From the company perspective the basis of selecting talent will not only be the skill set the candidate possess but the value of the network they have and the potential it has for improving the business of the company. In reality, the progressive talent hunters should already be doing some selection on this basis. And progressive candidates should be touting the quality of their personal as well as professional network.

Some jobs and some industries are already trending in this direction. My daughter works in the theater business on the management side. Her last two jobs she has been hired, sight unseen, on the basis of her reputation for quality work. (And I am very proud of her for having earned that reputation.) Her social network is not so much her LinkedIn profile as it is the large number of show business contacts she has made in the past 10 years. It is a somewhat small community, but many industries are similarly small.

Reputation Capital is More Than the Work You Produce

The important lesson here is that reputation is more than just the work you produce. It is also tied up in who you know and how well you know them. Thus, it is not just the number of people who follow you on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, it is how well you know them and what type of influence you may have with them. This begs the question then of whether there is greater value in a large network that allows you to reach many more people or in a smaller network to which you are more intimately connected?  Be sure to check out The 2020 Workplace.


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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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