Leighanne Levensaler isn’t a household name, but she is a superstar.
Leighanne is a wife, a mom, and a Human Resources Strategist who currently works for an innovative enterprise software company called Workday. Leighanne began her career as a consultant and is now one of the foremost thinkers when it comes to implementing integrated talent management solutions.
She is also a role model for many women in the HR industry—including me.
Since Leighanne has an amazing career journey, I asked her to share some of her thoughts on the concept of work and how you can succeed in your job search.
What Success Looks Like
“The common thread in my professional career has been leading and developing organizations and people. I do my best work when my output will help individuals professionally succeed and develop into better people.”
This type of approach is rooted in the philosophy of servant leadership. Leighanne is committed to the growth of others and believes in building local communities. When Leighanne focuses on the ‘whole employee’, she reminds me of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who is committed to the personal development of women leaders in the workforce.
What is the Future of Work?
Since Leighanne is a strategist, she thinks about the future of work every single day for her current job. Her perspective is shaped by the shift from a thing-based economy to a knowledge-based economy that values highly skilled talent above all else.
So what is the future of work?
“The new workforce will require constant retooling and recertification to stay current,” Leighanne said. “We will all be in school forever. Instead of the rebirth of corporate universities, I believe we will see a rise in higher education institutions partnering with businesses to offer authorized requalification opportunities in the sciences, engineering, and healthcare that are paid for/subsidized by the company.”
She also believes that flexible labor models are on the rise. For the average worker, this means consulting jobs, temporary assignments, and more project-based work. With flexible labor models comes a flexible work arrangement. “There are more women in the workforce and in growing leadership roles. Flexible labor models and working arrangements can support families and the expectations of Millennials.”
Leighanne also sees changes in the shape of our teams. “While job growth is expected to increase to support overall economic growth, most of this growth will come from outside your headquarters or your established markets. It will be common to have new teams of knowledge workers pop up in emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, and throughout Eastern Europe. You will need to work with these team members or suppliers as if they are in the cube next to you. More sophisticated collaboration tools will be necessary to break down the barriers of space, time and language. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg now.”
Closing Thoughts: What If I’m Stuck?
The recession has been tough for job seekers out there, but it’s also been tough for employees who struggle in their current roles. I asked Leighanne if she has any advice for people who are too scared to leave their current roles for new assignments.
She said, “I love the fact that so many people ask me for career advice. It is a privilege and a huge responsibility so I take it very seriously. I would focus on having a clear plan of action once the economy rebounds. Share it with your loved ones. Ask them to support you and hold you accountable. Take advantage of all the free educational and networking opportunities online. Cultivate professional relationships online and offline. Try something new and totally out of your comfort zone to challenge you in your current role. It is amazing how taking a different approach can stimulate interest and have an unexpected impact.”
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