Staying ahead of the Game

As we all know, work environments continually change, which can be the result of legislation, departmental shifts, in-house restructuring, promotion and a host of other situations in which key opportunities might be missed if both management and employees are caught unawares. Most workplaces today are highly competitive, with new positions being created, less efficient positions being made redundant, with the onus on staff to stay ahead of the game. Keeping up with industry news, legislation changes and organisational infrastructure has huge benefits, not the least of which is that it will provide you with a competitive edge.

The benefits of keeping up to date begin with you almost immediately becoming an example of efficiency – someone who is interested in their job and who aims to provide the best service. You will be recognised for your initiative and you'll earn the respect and trust of fellow workers and the attention of management and senior level staff. An employee at any level in their career is considered a valuable asset when they demonstrate extra effort to understand company policy and procedure, effectively setting a good example for other employees and in turn demonstrating interest and reliability. In time, you will be effectively contributing to your organisation's strategies and acknowledged for your leadership skills.

In numerous industries, being well-informed will not only give you a competitive advantage, it will alert you to changes, allow you to identify threats and provide you with gainful opportunities.

To stay on top of news and industry developments that directly concern you and your workplace, it's important to identify the best and most reliable sources of information. Your organisation's intranet is a good place to start, as policy changes, organisational restructuring, future expected developments and fact sheets are generally available here. A mentor within the organisation can also be an invaluable asset; able to provide you with insider knowledge and answer any questions you may have. Trade organisations are very useful for providing networking opportunities, as are trade shows and conferences, where you can also learn about new products and industry trends. Volunteering your interest and your time will prove most beneficial in the long run.

Fortunately, the fast paced and ever-changing work environment is matched by the progressive communications industry, with online sources and social media playing a pivotal role in fast access to reliable up to date and accurate information. Twitter, LinkedIn and well respected industry blogs, can lead you directly to industry leaders and organisations, while industry specific forums are a great place to pick up the latest news, industry tips and information from those who work at the coal face. Google Alerts will notify you when resources containing your predetermined keywords appear in new information, saving you valuable time searching the internet.

To prevent information overload, designate a specific time of the day or week when you will go through the information and discard any information that is unreliable, of poor content, or low quality.

The CFS Team
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