Build your skills, not your resume. –Sheryl Sandberg
The COVID-19 pandemic brought sweeping changes across business and life. Across business especially, surviving through the tough phase brought to the fore an entirely different skill set that was desired before it hit.
As the world hunkered down for a year of remote work, no more were recruiters and companies depending on those age-old skill sets that they were looking for in prospective candidates and employees. In every industry, a major churn took place which called in for a revamped skill set.
What are these skill sets? What are these skills that rose to prominence as the world battled a pandemic? We spoke to leaders from the hospitality, entertainment, financial, and consulting industries, and here’s what they had to say.
Digital / Technology Prowess/ AI and Coding
As technology became the mainstay of every organization, skills with respect to data analysis and predictions became more relevant than ever as organizations continue to leverage the power of data and technology to drive their business.
The new normal saw personal proximities diminishing. Organizations have almost lost human connection within their workforce. Work earlier that would be more dynamic in terms of regular human interactions, collaborations, and networking was restricted to switching on and switching off. Leaders and managers had to resort to leveraging their emotional intelligence/quotient to create and sustain a cohesive workforce that is necessary to achieve business results.
Agility and Ingenuity
Organizations that were quick to adapt to the measures of social distancing and regular disinfection started carving their path of recovery quickly. To achieve such adaptability, the organization worked on developing a workforce with the least resistance to change. Agility as a skill became a top requisite to ensure a more resilient workforce ready to navigate future disruptions.
As lockdowns and social distancing became the norms everywhere, one skill that gained supreme importance was the skill of collaboration. People who could effectively work together with their teams and get outcomes delivered despite physical distances were seen as winners, and collaboration has emerged as a prerequisite for success in the uncertain future as well.
Understanding the need for the end consumer to provide custom content offerings, reliance on Big Data to provide unique insights, coupled with in-depth content formats and knowledge became paramount as service delivery models changed.
As organizations embarked on fluid teams, fluid work models, skills such as collaboration, effective leadership, ability to disambiguate information and truth from fake, emerge as highly coveted traits.
Multi-skilled and able to work in versatile teams
Employers looked for candidates who were adept at multi-tasking and worked well under pressure. The focus was on candidates who were multi-skilled and able to work in versatile teams rather than people who were adept at doing just one task.
Never was there a greater demand for creative solutions to tide over the many challenges posed by the pandemic to normal, day to day business. It is here the need for creative, problem solvers who could work with an entrepreneurial perspective received a boost and will continue to in the future.
Another skill that has become supremely important this year is that of the art of effective communication. Not that its importance was any less before, but as we switched to remote work, collaborative tools, and zoom/ teams calls to replace regular channels of communication, this skill even became more important to get work done, outcomes delivered, manage teams, and ensure employee welfare and wellness.
While the crisis reiterated the importance of clear and effective leadership, what it also revealed was the need for empathetic leadership. It was not simply about leading, it was about leading with care and empathy that distinguished the real leaders from the group.