Whether we like it or not we are living in the ‘new normal’, which in every practical sense is not so new anymore. Possibilities are that life will not return to what it used to be prior to the pandemic. The pandemic has brought many changes to our lives, some good, others not so good, however, despite our feelings about those changes, we have had no option but to adapt to them.
The changes ushered in by the pandemic required many to acquire new skills or enhance existing ones in order to adapt both in our personal and professional lives. Some of these skills were acquired in a “make-it-up-as-I-go-along” manner, while others required deliberate action towards the upskilling of the individuals.
The unpredictability brought on by the pandemic has resulted in the emergence of new jobs or job functions, which means that we need to take steps to ensure that we are geared up to navigate our way through these continuous changes. As important as it is to acquire technical skills, soft skills have also become very important and enhancing these is vital in order for one to excel in their current job or to be able to gain access into the professional world.
Skills which give candidates a competitive edge in the job market are:
The Pandemic accelerated the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It has brought about huge digital transformations in the world of work. With employees working from home, conducting online meetings more than ever before, it has streamlined the way that businesses operate while cutting the costs associated with physical meetings such as travel, accommodation and catering. The use of social media tools, to connect professionally and personally, has become second nature.
Furthermore, according to experts, artificial intelligence, internet controlled operations, robotics, etc. will be the future that will help industries grow more resilient to pandemics in the future. It is therefore very important that people develop an aptitude to learn new technologies and develop the skill to use emerging tools in their work effectively. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution investment will not only be in technologies but people who understand technology will be essential.
Having good leadership skills is not strictly about supervising or managing others. Instead, it’s about communicating your strategy and vision, while encouraging others and embracing feedback from colleagues and superiors. Being self-aware and holding yourself accountable is particularly important during these challenging times.
With increased remote working arrangements, employees with strong leadership skills who can manage teams distantly, inspire teammates to work effectively and bring out the best in others, are valuable to companies.
Emotional intelligence is a quality that helps a person to understand other’s emotions better and express or control his or her emotions well. All great leaders possess this quality. They are empaths and can easily gauge the mental and emotional health of others. And during the stressful period that we are in today, employees with high emotional intelligence have better chances of survival and success than those who do not. Emotional intelligence is critical, especially when people are feeling uneasy as has been and continues to be the case with the pandemic.
While we’ve seen machines and digital technologies take on roles in analytics and business operations, human beings are still unique in being able to think outside the box.
Creativity is not only associated with typically creative professions either, it is essential across every industry and sector. In the coming years, the business landscape is going to need to evolve and adapt rapidly, for example, anyone aspiring to work in business will need to be able to tap into their creative mind-set in order to steer a business through challenges and opportunities it might face. We have already started seeing this during the pandemic; organizations which are steered by creative and innovative leaders have been able to not only stay afloat, but to achieve a measure of success, whilst others struggled.
In research, many employers indicate problem-solving and critical thinking among the top soft skills that candidates lacked. As we are faced with an influx of information and data, critical thinking is vital in order for employees to objectively evaluate information so as to make informed decisions and to navigate their teams successfully.
Communication and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand. Despite all of the digitisation, there is still a need for genuine human connection and understanding in every job role. Good communication skills have proven to be critical, especially as many of us continue to work from home, clarity in emails and at virtual meetings is required to cement trust and retain high productivity levels within teams.
The lockdown has brought about many changes in our lives and there will definitely be more changes coming our way after the pandemic is over. Being flexible and adaptable is something we’ve all had to get used to over the last few months. For businesses and individuals, it has become a case of either adapting or being swept away by the COVID-19 tidal wave.
In the past year alone, there have been major changes in the operating models of organizations as well as the manner in which we do our work. Being flexible in our work is about having an open mind-set, being able to work well under pressure, adjusting to new and unexpected deadlines, prioritizing tasks and, in some instances, taking on additional responsibilities.
Under normal circumstances skills development and continuous upskilling is important, but with the Pandemic it has become vital to our survival and success. This is the time to invest in your skills.
MISA provides its members with a variety of educational benefits, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to see which benefits you are eligible for and how we can assist you to upskill yourself.