Published on September 17th, 2013 | by Anita B


Obsolete: Is Knowledge Of The Online Sector Vital For Employees?

There are many job skills once considered vital that are now more or less obsolete. This is not simply a case of certain skills that are now not called for because the work is being sent offshore, as has happened in many manufacturing industries, but certain office tasks that don’t really exist anymore. Nobody needs to know shorthand or how to look up texts using the dewey decimal system, and things that are still vital today, like typing, might soon go the way of the dinosaur as voice recognition software inevitably becomes flawless in its application. It has been suggested that even relatively modern skill sets like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will soon become redundant as the way consumers search for and access information evolves. But what are some fundamental skills that are critical when it comes to running a business? Knowing how your customers behave in both the online world and in face-to-face scenarios is something that must be understood, as much as is humanly possible, because while the way consumers behave online might change, the Internet itself is here to stay…

For Smaller Businesses

While smaller businesses that largely serve the local community can essentially do without an online presence, with the vast majority of businesses, this is simply not an option. Having said that, a café might open with a view to only serving those who reside or work within a fairly close proximity to the businesses physical location, still needs to inform the locals of their arrival, and a combination of online and offline marketing is usually utilized. For a small business owner who doesn’t know the ins and outs of Internet marketing, and certainly don’t have an employee or employees dedicated to this field, a specialist consultant can often be engaged to take care of the details. Outsourcing seems like an easy option, and is a viable choice for many businesses- an easy way to stay on top, but it’s not appropriate in all scenarios.

For Larger Businesses

Depending on the role in question, it’s assumed that a new employee will possess the necessary skills to excel. But will they always? IT skills can often be obsolete in as little as 2.5 years, since as technology evolves, the skills necessary to serve the industry also need to evolve. It’s not as though after 2.5 years an employee will no longer have a place in their industry, but they certainly need to continually grow their skill sets, and while this can happen organically, it’s their (and their employers responsibility) to ensure that they remain relevant. New online forums are becoming operational all the time, and if a business is unaware about how to engage with consumers in this manner, then the business misses out. This is certainly the case with Cyber Monday, the first Monday after the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping day. Cyber Monday accounts for a high proportion of the years online sales, all within a very short time frame, returning revenues to online businesses that can’t be ignored. Cyber Monday grew in popularity exceptionally quickly, and if a business doesn’t have people with the necessary skills to utilize these opportunities, then that business has a greatly reduced chance of success in their chosen arena.

Simon Clift, the former CEO of Unilver perhaps put it best when he said, “Because of the nature of today’s media, you need constant contact, it is a bit like in the newsroom, where you are constantly updating messages and adjusting and altering. The role of the old world marketer which was to be slow, reflective, reactive and ‘one-way’, is obsolete now.” Certainly, potential new employees need to possess these skills in order to be attractive to employers, but employers need to ensure that their staff have the support to grow and change to make sure that they’re always able to excel in a constantly shifting online environment.

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About the Author

About the Author: Anita is blogger who likes to write about business, marketing and education. Follow her on Twitter or Google+

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