An employee of the future: Skills to master to be relevant in the next decade
The past decades taught generations of people to multitask. Focusing on multiple things at once has always been seen as a virtue. In school, teachers praised a child’s capability to do more than one thing at the same time.
Later, confined in an office cubicle, the ideal employee was the one able to chat on the phone, answer an email and come up with innovative solutions for the business’ challenges, all while eating lunch.
We then take a similar approach outside of work. Doing a single activity feels like not enough and we end up doing multiple of those and end up never being satisfied.
In a Lioncasinos study involving 100 people aged 25-40 they discovered that it’s common practice for a person to consume food, watch TV and follow a live sports event they’ve wagered on via their mobile phone. Nuts!
It took a long time to realise that multitasking is not as productive as we thought it to be. Focusing on multiple tasks often leads to mediocre results rather than exceptional ones.
It leads to burnout, too, a state in which employees become pretty much worthless for the company.
In a world where everything revolves around business, employers have changed their demands. Multitasking is still essential, but it might lose its privileged status in the next decade. What are the new skills to master to become an employee role model? Check them out!
We live in a more and more interconnected world where workplaces are changing. The possibility to work remotely with people of different cultures is shaping the new workplace era. In this era, employees must adapt to thrive, or they’ll be left behind.
To understand the importance of adaptability, just think of how your job has evolved in the last five years. How your skills had to develop and adapt to the new work environment.
Today, the half-life of your skillset is much shorter than it used to be for your parents. What you’ve learnt today will be out of date in two-three years’ time. If you don’t possess the adaptability and flexibility to update your skills based on the new demands, you might soon find yourself stuck in a mediocre position or completely unemployed.
New generations are advantaged, as most millenials and gen Zers see change as an opportunity rather than an ordeal. But all is not lost for older generations. Start with small lifestyle changes that will help you create a new, change-focused mindset.
Deep work skills
Deep work is a relatively new concept introduced by Cal Newport in his book with the same name. According to the author’s definition, deep work is a “professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration.”
If you have multitasked before – and chances are you have – you know that focusing on multiple things at once creates nothing but distraction.
Turning yourself into a competitive employee of the future demands you to build deep work skills so that the value you bring to a business is hard, if not impossible, to replicate. Otherwise, you might just see your perfect job assigned to a contender.
Creativity is already highly prized by most employers, but it will become even more critical in the next decade. This skill has always led to innovation and economic growth, so it’s quite easy to understand why most companies value creative employees.
You don’t have to be the next Einstein, but being able to do things the way no one else is doing them – while achieving brilliant results – will undoubtedly help you pursue great career goals.
We’ve seen this demand in many job listings over the past decades, but how many employers really assessed the interpersonal skills of an employee before hiring them? Not too many.
Nowadays, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are more valued than ever. They allow you to focus on what is being said, listen before answering, express your own emotions and thoughts without belittling those of your peers.
Good interpersonal skills add value to an organisation regardless of the position you hold. The ability to communicate and collaborate transforms mere employees into mentors and coaches for new recruits. Emotionally intelligent staff can also adapt faster to the workplace, adding more value to the business.
If you can go with the flow, ask questions and show real interest in your job, you could become a high performer in less than a year. Not only this brings value to the company, but it can also help you escalate the career ladder faster and get a higher paying job.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have likely observed many of the technological changes that are reshaping the world. From artificial intelligence assisting with customer support to 3D printing and even the internet of things, technology is slowly replacing the workforce.
With this in mind, the employee of the future must understand that many jobs will simply disappear in the near future.
For instance, self-checkout aisles are likely to replace cashiers altogether. The rise of ebooks and online press led to a real decline in printed newspapers and book readership. Sure, we’ll always publish books and newspapers, but not in an old-fashioned way. If you’re a publisher, coming up with an online approach to doing business might save you from bankruptcy.
Travel sites have already started to replace brick and mortar travel agencies, with many travel agents being forced to migrate to an online platform. Indeed, depending on how old you are, you may have never used a travel agent in your life.
All these are mere examples of how the world is changing. Many “traditional” jobs will disappear in the next decade.
If you still want to be able to lend jobs in ten years’ time, it is now the moment to reinvent yourself and start learning new skills – among which, the most important, tech literacy.
According to many specialists, the jobs of the future are either those that focus on improving artificial intelligence, creating apps or online platforms, or those that can’t be done by machines, such as healthcare and service workers, social workers and social scientists, therapy workers, as well as mentors and counsellors.
With this in mind, it’s not too late to start focusing on developing new skills and adapting to future demands if you want to be competitive in these ever-changing work environments.
The editorial unit