Much has been written about “the modern workforce” and what that means for businesses far and wide. Most of the articles I have come across have been focused on what businesses need to do in order to adapt to the modern workforce – primarily comprised of Millennials and GenZ workers.
While the considerations that need to be made are indeed important for businesses, of equal importance are the skills that must be developed within teams and individuals so they can succeed in today’s modern workplace.
Having been one that has led teams and built a company, these are some of the skills I believe are an absolute must for any worker or company that wants to excel in these modern times.
Put simply, emotional intelligence is recognising and understanding the emotions in another person and ourselves. While it may be easy to dismiss emotions as something that is not part of business, the reality is that as long as organisations are composed of people, emotion will play a role in their dynamics.
The best way to develop our emotional intelligence is to take the time to recognise the humanity in our businesses and invest in understanding those we work with. What is their motivation? What fears do they have? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
By understanding what makes us and the ones we work with tick, we will perform better as a whole.
If there is one thing that I believe is lacking in our world today, it is empathy.
While emotional intelligence is understanding the emotions within ourselves and our co-workers, empathy goes further in that we are able to relate to those feelings or emotions.
In the uncertainty of our world today, many people are stressed, anxious and uncertain; this is why empathy is needed more than ever. The ability to put ourselves in another’s situation shows them we care and also shapes the response we will have towards them.
Empathy will also have a profound impact on your business and those around you, as shown in this article published in Forbes.
If you want to be a modern workplace, empathy is a must!
Not long ago I was in a meeting with a client’s marketing and sales team. After the 90-minute session ended I received an email from one of the key stakeholders detailing some concerns she had during the meeting. The most frustrating thing about the email was that the meeting was specifically about any challenges or issues that needed to be overcome in order to keep our project on track.
Being able to communicate clearly and openly with colleagues has always been essential, but it is even more so right now.
Healthy communication is not just about dictating a set of facts or information, it includes being able to have hard conversations and articulating in a helpful and meaningful way that benefits the recipient. It includes being able to listen and discern. All of these things are a part of useful and helpful communication and a must-have skill for any modern worker today.
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we do not always have control over what happens. However, what we do have control over is our response to situations and unplanned changes.
Being adaptable is a skill that should be highly sought after for those looking to assemble a modern workforce. Pandemics aside, most business is in a constant state of change and those employees and leaders who can adapt and move forward are oftentimes that ones that reach the highest levels of success.
While none of us know what the future holds, we do know that the workforce is getting younger, that we are now seeing the first generation of digital natives enter the workforce. Companies need to be aware that this will impact how they operate going forward. Rather than hiring based on just specific hard skills, place equal importance on the soft skills that are required to succeed in today’s modern business environment.
Originally published Jan 05, 2021, updated Jan 11, 2021