“The day you convince yourself that you’ve mastered your craft or profession or even your relationships, is the day you cease to live.” ~ Carlos Wallace
Many employees believe that if they continue doing what’s expected of them, they’ll always have a job. However, with the major changes that are already occurring across countless organizations, that’s not necessarily the case. The workplace of the future will have a high level of automation, allowing many routine tasks to be handled by computers, meaning employees will need to work hard to update their skill sets in order to remain relevant.
As AI, robotics, and machine learning take on increasingly central roles within organizations, employees will need to focus more on skills in the interpersonal and decision-making realms. You may already be considering how to upgrade your own skill set in order to stay relevant. As a manager, take action now to make sure your organization maximizes the potential of all its people, helping them develop the most vital skills for their shifting roles and functions.
The following are some of the key skills of the future workforce that employees across a broad range of organizations will need to develop. Start training people now to fulfill those roles, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
1. The ability to interpret data.
Data is more available than ever, and that trend is only going to increase in the future workforce. Skills like understanding how to make sense of data and explain it to others will become invaluable. Most people can’t understand it without having someone to translate it and make recommendations for how it should influence organizational direction. Without an interpreter, data is merely noise. Having a strong understanding of how to analyze reports will help professionals in departments from finance to HR to help steer their organization in the right direction.
2. Critical thinking ability.
Utilizing data also requires strong critical thinking abilities, which will help employees craft valuable recommendations. Of course, critical thinking brings many other benefits as well, like the ability to consider which performance management system might work best for the organization or to evaluate which potential product might appeal to a given market. Enhancing their critical thinking ability will help employees make great decisions, trust their own judgment, and gain the trust of others. Challenge employees to articulate their rationale for a decision they propose, asking for concrete evidence to back it up, to help them get in the mindset of consistently engaging in critical thinking.
3. Excellent communication abilities.
Leveraging data requires not only the ability to understand data and think strategically, but strong communication skills as well. An employee who can translate reports into compelling arguments can help the organization make data-driven decisions grounded in clear evidence. Being succinct and brief with explanations, yet able to answer questions and engage in dialogue with the team, will make such an employee invaluable to colleagues, clients, and the company as a whole.
Wherever applicable, challenge your staff members to start taking on that role. Prompt them to speak up more at meetings, sharing their input and providing insights grounded in their specialized areas of knowledge.
4. Creative thinking skills.
The workforce of the future will heavily rely on creativity as well. Successful employees will use creative thinking to solve new problems that arise as a result of major organizational shifts and new technologies. Being open-minded and embracing change will allow creativity to flourish.
To help your employees develop their creative thinking ability, challenge them to solicit a diverse range of perspectives when solving a problem. Encourage them to engage in brainstorming exercises that generate outside-of-the-box solutions, then talk through which ones might be most feasible.
5. A high emotional IQ.
The most successful employees will also possess a great deal of empathy for others and a strong understanding of their own emotions. They’ll know what triggers feelings of stress and anxiety in themselves and how to address those feelings in healthy ways. Their empathy for others will help them to blossom into effective leaders because they understand and relate to the people they work with. As a result, they’ll be able to provide people with the best possible guidance and support. Emotional intelligence will also make them more persuasive to high-level leaders, clients, and peers, expanding their sphere of influence within all of those groups.
6. Proficiency in using the latest tools of their field.
This is by far the easiest skill to develop, but it’s vital nonetheless. Prompt employees to stay up to date on the latest tools used in their organizational function, so they’re able to work and collaborate as effectively as possible. Research which tools each department needs to have access to and provide them with those resources so everyone can work efficiently and stay well-versed on current trends.
To help employees enhance their skillsets, give them consistent mentoring and other resources that can help them develop their abilities. Provide workplace trainings that help cultivate their talent. When necessary, pair them with another mentor who has a particular type of knowledge. Your employees will be thankful that you’re helping them remain relevant and marketable through the coming changes, which in turn will encourage them to stay loyal and highly productive within your organization.
Joel can provide your organization with training and coaching that will help every employee channel their inner superstar. Contact him to learn how to get started.