6 new skills that the modern workplace demands
There was a time when your career trajectory was set if you mastered certain hard skills. These days, with the business climate in a state of constant flux, a mix of hard and soft skills is essential to get hired and stay on the job.
Finding the right managers, executives, sales reps and finance professionals may be tough for companies but getting hired won’t be difficult if you have these new skills on your resume:
The knowledge of other cultures
Just knowing about your “subject” and “interests” won’t cut it any more. A study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) revealed that CEOs across the world think cultural competence is one of the most critical and overlooked leadership skills. Workers with cultural agility and the ability to adapt will find scores of opportunities.
BUILD THIS SKILL: Keep your observation skills engaged and alert to elements that will help you do business. Don't hesitate to ask questions, and notice how people act, dress and treat each other.
The ability to manage and leverage diversity
Connectivity has shrunk the world into a small place. Working with people from different countries, time zones and generations makes it imperative to understand and manage diversity. Different people naturally have different views, motivations and communication styles. A smart employee will be able to leverage diversity, promise inclusion and give the company a competitive advantage.
BUILD THIS SKILL: Increase involvement of everyone on the team and create an inclusive environment. Make it clear that all people must draw on their unique experiences, perspectives and backgrounds to advance business goals.
The aptitude to connect with people
Computers may have taken over from us but humans bring value to the table with their ability to be social, network and connect. Research at Carnegie Institute of Technology showed that 85% of financial success was due to skills in “human engineering, personality, and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead”. This tips the scales in favour of workers with strong emotional intelligence rather than those with high IQs or relevant experience.
BUILD THIS SKILL: Make an effort to genuinely connect with people. Set your smartphone aside, pay them attention, help if needed and always be there for your team.
The capability to listen and process carefully
You may have been able to talk your way to the top once but just the ability to share knowledge won’t help in the modern workplace. A good leader is one who doesn’t just hear but listens. This skill is extremely important and involves paying attention, reserving judgment, clarifying, reflecting, summarizing and sharing.
BUILD THIS SKILL: Listening also needs you to consider moods, body language and facial expressions, and natural behavioral tendencies. Show that you care, be empathetic and don't judge others.
The willingness to keep learning and reinvent
It’s not enough to know things while you work; it’s important to keep learning so that you keep pace with the shifting job market. Employers value workers who are flexible and open to learning something new as they are better at meeting challenges and assimilating new concepts. With the workplace changing at a rapid pace, it’s important to adapt and reinvent. Those who fail to do so will be left behind in the race.
BUILD THIS SKILL: Never have an ego when it comes to learning. Read, communicate, take up courses or seek help. Focus on building your toolbox - the various skills that you don't know but could help you in your professional life.
The knack to make sense of data and analytics
Stating that data is no longer “confined to the IT department or technical specialists”, an Alteryx study titled The Business Grammar Report reveals that data and analytics are among the most important new skills an employee can have today. Analytics can help target a larger customer base, support projections and increase revenue streams. But only if you are able to read and understand them!
BUILD THIS SKILL: If you're intrigued by data and analytics, look for the right learning material. Forget technology, and focus on questions you want answers to. Consider your end goal and work towards that.
Apart from the regular skills employers seek, these employability skills can be cultivated, developed and maintained. They may not be natural to you but they can be ingrained and polished. Remember to document and market them when you are applying for a new job. Best of luck!
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