“Why not?” I thought to myself as I took a deep breath and clicked the button Apply Now. It was Friday the 19th of March, the last day to apply to The Adecco Group’s CEO for One Month campaign and I was sitting surrounded by 32 degree humidity on my exchange university campus in Singapore. I had been staring at the button in question for a good half hour, wondering if I possessed any of the qualities required of a CEO – for one month or otherwise. I find it difficult to talk about my achievements or ‘sell’ myself; I am more of a negotiator or enabler than a commander; I am, in many ways, very much still a work in progress.
What I do possess however – demonstrated not least by the approximately 700 browser tabs open on articles discussing this very subject – is a passion for solving problems, and in particular for solving a problem that forms one of the most pressing challenges of our time, how to survive and thrive in the future of work. Combined with the energy that comes from being a fresh graduate ready to dive head-first into the labour market and the drive to have an impact characteristic of someone who spends far too much time with their head inside books claiming to contain the secret to solving world peace, world hunger and global warming all in one fell swoop, I realised I did feel ready to click that button and take a step outside my comfort zone. That step would end up taking me towards a brand new challenge and towards The Adecco Group.
My name is Elina Mäkelä and I am the CEO for One Month for Finland. The first two weeks as CEO have gone by in a blur of activity – new faces, new projects, new experiences. The hectic pace of meetings and work travels and the incredible but almost overwhelming influx of new information is held together by an unbreakable red thread – that of connecting people with opportunities and making the future work for everyone.
This is one major reason why I decided to click that Apply Now button, despite that feeling of uncertainty. I feel strongly that the “future” of work is here. This may seem like a paradox but it’s true. Consider just one example – what we talk about in theory as the ‘decoupling’ of work from time and from place and what we know in practice as remote working. The adaptation of vast quantities of knowledge work to a completely online digital setting was unthinkable a few years ago, but today is our everyday lived experience. Other challenges – new skills demands, worker displacement, the decoupling of work from traditional employment configurations – are on the close horizon.
However, with new challenges also come new opportunities, and where better to get a birds-eye view of the exciting changes ahead than at the world’s leading talent advisory and solutions company, driven by a mission to make the future work for everyone. As CEO for One Month I am excited to be challenged, to learn new things, and also to bring new perspectives and ideas on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The most rewarding journeys are never easy. I feel we must be ready to adapt to and leverage the transformations that are on the horizon, and I’m excited to be a part of that change. Making the future work for everyone will require helping businesses to optimise their talent and transform their workforce, supporting individuals in reaching their potential and enabling lifelong learning and employability in a sustainable, future-proof way. Let’s get to work.