Must-Have Competencies for Every Organisation in the New Decade
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
~ Alvin Tofler, writer, futurist, businessman
A great team leader, who can transform the teams; a top performer who works 10x more efficiently than your average performer; a self-starter who makes his /her own motivation charts; which company wouldn’t want employees with these competencies? But simply having employees with these competencies will not bring about exponential growth. The critical question is what are the competencies you should develop in your employees?
As the organisation leader, here are some questions you need to ask. Have you been paying attention to the changes happening in your workplace and how they are affecting you and your teams? How has your role evolved over the past five years and where does your team stand? Do you consider yourself and your team skilled for the jobs of the future? Do you have an idea what those jobs might be?
These are tough questions but these are the questions that will put you in the right frame of mind to gear up and think in the right direction. Once you get thinking, a more structured and step-by-step approach to competencies mapping would be to:
(a) Knowing what competencies your organisation needs,
(b) Knowing what competencies your organisation has,
(c) Placing people in the right roles based on their competencies and
(d) Building learning & development strategies that enable them to express their competencies, and build on them or develop new competencies.
As a new year and a new decade begin, here are some of the overarching competencies to hone into and develop in your employees. These will ensure that the employees are not only efficient for your organisation but will prepare them to perform in the fast-changing and tech-enabled workplace.
In some instances, relearning could be adapting what you know to a new reality. Ask a child of today, and chances are they won’t remember a dial-up phone. In fact, landlines are mostly restricted to offices, and mobile phones can now be your complete workstation! Such is the rapid change of how things work, and how the future looks. So adapting to change has got to be among one of the most critical competencies one should be open towards; where you may also have to learn new skills to keep up.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who rate high on adaptability will be agile and respond faster than others to changes in the market.
The reliability of employees has a tremendous impact not only on their performance but also on those who they work with. A reliable employee is one who has proven consistently that he/she can be depended on to show up for work on time, meet deadlines or contribute to work in general. In fact, the performance of an unreliable worker may be turned around by the influence of a reliable worker – often called a spillover effect. In a dynamic work environment, reliability will play a key role in the organisations’ ability to deliver the work at hand.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who rate high on reliability will earn trust and respect in the market, therefore more business.
3. Stress tolerance:
Most jobs have stressful aspects, like reaching a quarterly target, presenting a new concept to managers or meeting tight deadlines. Employees with good stress management skills perform better because they have the vital skills of being able to reach objective decisions even under work pressure, keep those around them calm and come up with solutions in trying times.
Employees who can’t manage stressful situations struggle to complete their duties, even if they possess the required skills and knowledge for the job. Some roles have more work pressure than others. That’s why it’s important that your employees are competent to handle stress while remaining productive.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who have high-stress tolerance will be able to deliver better quality as compared to others in the market.
Honesty, confidentiality and loyalty are some of the optimal examples of integrity in the workplace. Honesty encourages open communication and leads to effective relationships in an organisation. For example, if you come into the office later by a few hours from the expected reporting time, you should be applying for a half-day. Confidentiality and loyalty instil trust and encourages sincere consideration of others’ privacy. Treating others the way you want to be treated is a great example of displaying integrity in the workplace.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who are high on integrity builds a strong reputation and credibility in the market.
Problem-solving keeps you moving forward. The idea is not to just solve the problem but to anticipate potential problem areas, come up with alternative solutions and of course minimise similar errors in general. There may be a lot of employees who are able to play the devil’s advocate and be a great critic, but that only brings them halfway through. The real proof of the pudding is when the employee is able to come up with a solution, one that resolves the challenge, with a win-win outcome, that’s the employee who makes the cut in this competency. It is a very unique competency. Such employees see problems as an enabler for continuous improvement and opportunities previously unseen.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who are known for begin good problem solvers usually find that their employees become the first point of contact when clients are faced with a challenge, which means, an opportunity to close more projects.
6. Decision making:
This competency goes hand in hand with problem-solving. What good would it be if I come up with alternative solutions to a challenge but I’m unable to make a decision on how to go forward? Even worse is when an employee hesitates to implement a decision and waits for some miracle so that the problem gets solved on it’s own. A good decision-maker is often visionary, has an eye for detail, is sensitive towards all parties involved, takes ownership and has the ability to look at the big picture. In a fast-paced work environment, the elements that influence our work change often (including the employees) and without good decision-maker, the organisation could feel stuck in a vicious cycle of poor productivity.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who are good decision-makers will find themselves constantly moving forward rather than experiencing stunted business growth.
Regardless of your role, you need to be able to work well with others and convey your teamwork skills to hiring managers, recruiters, and prospective employers. Scan any job listing, and you’ll see that even ads that seek “self-starters” also inevitably use the phrase “team player.” Those who have teamwork skills like communication and a positive attitude can help a team be more productive. With the emergence of co-working places, Flexi-working, working on teams without borders, this competency will determine the pace at which your organisation will grow.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who are great team players will see a healthy & positive work culture, with high employee satisfaction rates; in that way leading to highly satisfied clients & customers.
Thinking on your feet and taking action with presence of mind are highly valued skills in the workplace. They foster a conducive environment for innovative ideas in various industries and contribute to constant development. Doing a little more than required, thinking for the team rather than yourself, and display self-confidence in your decisions. Trying and not being afraid to fail are also important aspects of taking initiative.
What’s in it for you: Organisation with employees who take initiative will find themselves leading the way in the coming decade.
Having read about the 8 key competencies listed above, you would have observed that leadership and communication are missing from the list. We could argue that they are the classic Holy Grail for good employability. Well, I think that the above competencies cannot be developed in the absence of good communication. Once these are developed in one person they will automatically be leadership-ready! Wouldn’t you agree?
Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, mechanics, automation, internet of things, etc. are no longer the fantasies of the future. So it is more essential than ever to stay relevant and add value to the workspace. Constant upgradation is no longer a choice. So don’t wait any longer, slot out your time to map your future goals and identify key competencies that will be crucial to help you meet your goals.
At Yellow Spark, we keep our clients’ organisation goals at the core of our thinking and enable our clients to develop realistic training and development plans for their employees. Want support to develop a training calendar, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.