Adapting Like a Pro

WITH DAVID MCKALE

SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (SHRM) HAWAII — SCP, PHR
SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAWAII CERTIFICATION CO-CHAIR; SENIOR CLIENT HR CONSULTANT, PROSERVICE HAWAII

Everyone deals with expected and unanticipated changes in their personal lives daily. The way you react to different situations shapes your habits, moods and relationships with the people around you. Adaptability is something you can apply in your professional life, too. In fact, doing so can greatly benefit the trajectory of your career.

Q: So what exactly is adaptability in the workplace?

A: Adaptability in the workplace is when an individual demonstrates the flexibility and willingness to readjust to a constantly changing work environment. An employee who is adaptable can work alone or harmoniously with his or her team members. The ability to work well within a group is beneficial for brainstorming sessions and the development of innovative products.

Q: How does being adaptable help my organization?

A: In recent years, the ability of an organization to adapt has been considered the new competitive advantage. Employers have been increasingly seeking out workers who can fluidly move with an ever-changing workplace. New advancements in technology, diversity and society are getting companies to hire employees who are open to new ideas, flexible enough to work through demanding situations and able to cope with unexpected developments. Demonstrating adaptability through your behavior or method of approach can gain you favor with your colleagues, and show that you can be a good leader within the company.

Q: How can adaptability in the workplace help with my own career?

A: Organizations seek out and promote employees who have the skill-set of adaptability. An adaptable individual can handle career transitions better than someone with an inflexible attitude. Being flexible can mean less time looking for work and less stress as you tackle your new job-search tasks. You can bounce back quicker from adversity. You’re also more likely to try new jobs or roles, increasing the scope and success of your search.

Q: How do I demonstrate my ability to be adaptable in the workplace?

A: Project a calm and confident demeanor when you are placed under pressure. Seek out ways to develop solutions for issues that arise. Demonstrate the ability to adjust your style to accommodate the needs of a situation. Keep an open mind, especially when working with different personalities, clients, cultures and situations. Accept new roles that can contribute to the efficiency and development of your organization.