The coronavirus pandemic upended the lives and livelihoods of millions across the world. A drastic transformation in worklife—with remote work becoming the norm—was among the most prominent highlights of the worst months of the crisis.
Even when the pandemic ends, its impact is likely to be felt in diverse areas. In the professional sphere, this will manifest itself in the demand for new employee skills. It is important for jobseekers to stay attuned to the requirement for emerging skills, and work towards inculcating them. Below we outline some of the key attributes that jobseekers need to foster as they seek to carve out successful careers in a post-pandemic world.
1. Adaptability and Flexibility
In the coming days, companies will be looking for people who are quick to adapt, learn and respond to changing work situations. Digital transformation will usher rapid changes at the workplace, and those employees who can adapt and learn will be the most successful. Learning will become a life-long phenomenon. The days of mastering one skill and continuing with it for the rest of one’s worklife are already on the way out.
2. Tech Savviness
Many jobs have shifted to an online mode in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, and more will follow suit. Businesses will opt for radical digital transformation by way of automation, artificial intelligence etc. to safeguard operations continuity in the face of another similar outbreak. Many jobs could get completely robotised—even for small businesses—with human interference only limited to monitoring and controlling it by way of computers. This will require every employee to develop basic technical skills, whether they are machine operators or managers with administrative duties.
As job processes become more complex, it will be important for managers to possess a high order of communication skills to convey the right messages to the workforce. Digital communication skills will become increasingly vital while dealing with clients and workers in an online environment. Workers who can effectively communicate as humans—and not as bots—in a digitalised world will rise up the hierarchy as leaders.
4. Problem Solving
This is closely related to adaptability and tech-savviness. As newer work processes throw up newer challenges, businesses will increasingly look to hire people with the skills to solve problems quickly and get the job done. They will have an edge over people who need to depend on external aids for solving problems. Note that we are not talking about complex technical or administrative problems which require high-level expertise, but basic problems that crop up in day-to-day operations. Successful problem solvers will be more likely to rise up the corporate ladder in the post-pandemic workplace.
5. Critical Thinking
With work processes becoming streamlined, critical thinking will directly translate into decision making. In the earlier days, organisations typically followed a linear thinking pattern, adhering to a strict chain of command. But with individual processes now becoming unitised, businesses will increasingly look for managers who are able to critically think over problems and work out a solution on their own to successfully complete the task. Only those who are able to critically think through problems to arrive at decision making will rise to leadership positions.
As more jobs shift to online mode, the strict hierarchy at the workplace is likely to get diluted. Work processes will become fluid, teams will become more dynamic, and each individual a leader in their own right. A situation will arise where each team member will have to be their own manager to get their own work done. Managing oneself would imply taking ownership of the work from the time it is allotted until completion. People with the ability to inspire team members towards goal completion will quickly rise up the ranks.
7. Emotional Intelligence, Trust and Motivation
As work gets digitalised, and face-to-face interactions in offices get replaced by Zoom meetings, the role of EQ will become more important. A different kind of EQ will be required for reading emotions in video calls and text messages. It will be important for employees to develop emotional skills to improve teamwork and relate with their colleagues. EQ will also help managers to motivate the team and earn the trust of the members.
Raging pandemics like Covid-19 are inflection points that change the course of history. And while there will be business-as-usual again, the pandemic will leave its mark. By equipping themselves with the right skills, jobseekers can prepare to succeed in a post-Covid-19 world.
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