Top 10 Skills You Will Need for the Future of Work
With the advancements in technology and the world rapidly changing, the list of most wanted skills employers look for has also undergone some changes recently. With computers, digital tools, and software automating and streamlining a lot of our work, other more “human” skills which computers can’t learn are coming into focus.
In order to truly be an asset to their company or organization, employees will need to keep up with the changes and meet the new demands of their positions.
With the global pandemic crisis, we have already seen the direction the future of work is probably going to take: more relying on technology and digital tools to facilitate business operations, and new management challenges in terms of organizing the workflow and managing employee performance.
With that said, below are 10 skills that are expected to be sought after as the future of work draws near.
The human imagination and ability to think outside of the box will never be effectively replaced by an algorithm. Although we use technology to aid our decision-making process, not all problems can be solved adequately from a purely mathematical standpoint.
It’s important to understand that creativity is more than the abilities we associate with artists and writers. In a business environment, being creative means finding new and better solutions to common issues or being able to see the larger picture and come up with innovative ideas to improve the existing processes.
With that in mind and considering the rapid advancements and changes in the business world, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand why creativity is going to be one of the most important traits in the future of work.
Adaptability is another crucial skill to have, considering the fast-paced changes in business and technology. As business models change and new tools are introduced, the ability to constantly adapt to new circumstances and learn is going to be vital in order to thrive.
The key here is to not only be flexible and able to adjust to new expectations and methods, but also to see every change as an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. Embracing all kinds of changes and adjusting to meet new requirements is going to be essential for employees and managers alike if they are to grow their careers.
The trend of tech skills being in demand will only increase in the years to come, as technology develops and makes its way into virtually all industries. Even now some basic knowledge of specific digital tools and software is preferred or mandatory for certain jobs, with an increase in the number of tech-related positions in all types of organizations.
Hence, learning new digital skills and mastering the tools related to your branch is going to be key for success at any workplace. It’s also important to understand that this is going to be a continuous process, and not a one-time deal, since technology is going to continue advancing at an ever-increasing pace, and it will be up to all of us to keep up with the changes.
The modern workplace requires the employee to be open to expanding their horizons and learning new things, not necessarily within their narrow field of specialization. While being the best at what you do should still remain your driving force, interdisciplinarity is going to be increasingly important in a dynamic workplace.
Continuously learning new skills and adapting to a changing environment, or even finding a new area in which you can specialize is going to make you significantly more attractive to companies as a potential hire. If you don’t have the time or the opportunity to acquire new knowledge at work, you can always turn to the Internet, as there are numerous paid or free courses available that can help you acquire knowledge and develop new skills.
Critical thinking allows a person to use logic and reasoning when tackling a problem, consider a multitude of possible solutions, and choose the best one based on facts and data. In a wider sense, it also includes the ability to review their own work, as well as the work of others, notice mistakes, and find ways to improve on them.
Critical thinkers have always been a welcome addition to any team, as they are often open-minded and able to suggest innovative solutions and ideas for solving complex problems. In the future of work, the need for staff members who can think critically and govern their decisions by reason will only increase.
Problem-solving skills are the ability to apply our knowledge and past experiences to efficiently solve problems we haven’t encountered before. Closely related to critical reasoning, they involve lateral thinking, adapting to changing circumstances, and finding innovative outside-of-the-box solutions to various challenges.
In a rapidly changing business world, traditional tried and true approaches may not always yield the best results, and companies are bound to face new types of problems and challenges more often than before. Therefore, they will need to rely on solution-oriented staff to overcome them and are going to value their employees with developed problem-solving skills.
The workplace of the future will be more diverse than ever before. With the increase in remote positions, companies are able to recruit talented people from all over the world. The benefits of a diverse workforce are many, as a team of people from different cultures and with different mindsets will have a wider perspective on any subject, compared to a homogenous one. Learning a foreign language or two is a great first step in ensuring you can thrive in an international workplace.
Cultural intelligence encompasses not only the ability to understand and adapt to foreign cultures and a multinational work environment but also to bridge the gap between generational and other subcultures. The generational gap has a trend of growth, as the differences in the general mindsets of generation after generation are becoming more and more pronounced.
The work environment of the future is going to include employees with different generational cultures, and no business is going to be able to afford to have staff members who “can’t understand these kids” and vice-versa.
Staying open-minded and realizing that people from each culture bring something unique to the table is going to be crucial in being able to work in a diverse environment.
Emotional intelligence encompasses a wide group of skills related to a person’s ability to identify, understand, and manage their own emotional states, responses, and well-being, as well as those of other people they work with or supervise.
Although it was always considered important, emotional intelligence is going to be one of the top skills organizations are going to look for, especially in managers and leaders. While it has little to do with a person’s competencies for most positions (excluding HR and similar departments), the ability to “read the room” and manage their behavior, adjusting it to successfully navigate a difficult social situation, can be most useful in all management levels.
In a world of diverse teams, interpersonal skills are going to be equally important for team members and managers alike. Much like emotional intelligence, these communication skills are crucial for effective teamwork.
A manager with a team player mentality is able to bring the best out of each member, regardless of their personality, through encouragement, constructive criticism, and leading by example. Taking an individual approach to each staff member requires strong interpersonal skills to convey the right message in the right way.
Similarly, the interpersonal skills of people within the team are important for maintaining a positive work environment, chemistry, and a can-do attitude.
People Management Skills
Regardless of how much technology we introduce into day-to-day business operations, the people who work within an organization still have the greatest potential to make or break any business. Knowing how to maximize the skills and capabilities of any employee while mitigating the effects of their shortcomings is (and always will be) the defining trait of a good manager.
Recognizing potential, maximizing team efficiency, and encouraging the growth and development of subordinates has a lot to do with some of the skills mentioned higher up on the list, however, to some extent, they are all encompassed by efficient people management.
The future business world will need skilled and determined managers who recognize talent and dedication when they see it and can use the human resources at their disposal to rise to new challenges, achieving the best possible results through channeling the potentials of the people in their team.
Whether you are just entering the workforce, or are already a senior employee, developing the skills you will need for the future of work is the only way to ensure growth, development, and a progressing career. As the world around us is changing, we must all do our best to meet the new demands set before us, if we are to thrive and reach our career goals.
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