Workplace skills you need during economic uncertainty
As we've seen over the past century, the skills required of employees and business leaders alike have changed with the times. Some abilities become vital while others become redundant or even obsolete. A plethora of factors including advances in technology, emerging industries and, perhaps most importantly, the contemporary economic climate determine the necessary capabilities.
Certain skills — both 'hard' and 'soft' — become exponentially more valuable in a financially, politically and societally unpredictable landscape. Given the economy's current instability and volatility, let's explore some of the competencies that have come to the fore:
Hard skills refer to objectively quantifiable skills that are most often acquired through specialized training. In our fast-paced world that's reliant on technology, digital savviness and prowess are more important than ever. As Search Engine Journal explains, some of the equipment and platforms that today's workers and organization executives need to master include:
- Coding and programming: From shopping to banking, every process is becoming digitized. This means that everyone, regardless of their job title and description, would do well to have a baseline understanding of the coding and programming languages used to build websites and applications.
- Marketing technologies: It's becoming increasingly important for people to have a thorough understanding of marketing tools, especially social media. Given how rapidly consumers' expectations and methods of communication change, businesses must be able to shift the way they advertise to their customer base.
- Accounting software: Because money circulates so quickly throughout the economy, the ability to manage cashflows effectively is critical. In financially tough times, organizations can't afford to waste a single dollar, so, they need the accuracy and efficiency that accounting software provides.
Soft skills may be even more useful than hard skills because they're transferable across roles and fields, meaning they're inherently flexible. These talents are more personality-based and can't typically be learned at academic or educational institutions. That said, they can certainly be developed, refined and enhanced. Currently, the most in-demand personal attributes include:
- Problem-solving: The ability to think laterally is crucial in environments that require solutions development at any given moment. Logical and critical thinking are central components of problem-solving.
Having a workforce comprised of employees from widely differing backgrounds is useful because they can bring in different perspectives and approaches to overcoming unforeseen challenges.
- Crisis management: Being able to handle catastrophes successfully is essential when unanticipated obstacles arise, particularly those that could have far-reaching detrimental consequences not just internally within an organization, but also on business partners and consumers.
Good conflict resolution skills are also useful because uncertainty can lead to anxieties that can manifest in interpersonal friction. Mediating disputes is paramount to business success.
- Communication: Following the above, the ability to liaise effectively with superiors and subordinates alike is indispensable, especially when jobs, salaries and other financial considerations hang in the balance. It's imperative that all workers can share their thoughts, opinions and ideas coherently and with compassion to maintain order and cohesion.