Business Skills Employers Want
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Six Essential Business Skills Employers Want Post – COVID

Dr. Pratima Sheorey, Director – Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD)

COVID-19 has changed the way we look at things. Organizations and employers had to necessarily realign their strategy for a world during and post-pandemic. While talking about business skills employers want, it is necessary to acknowledge the new normal that is more about an innovative, home-based model of working with a focus on creativity and implementation of tasks online; it also involves efficiently interacting with colleagues to produce the best possible result. The forced lockdown also bought some advantages with it, like many businesses could reach out to potential customers virtually who were not geographically co-located.

A lot of companies lost revenues, workforce, and market shares, as they had not planned for this change. The business models and policies of most of the market players have gone through a drastic change. Their requirements from the staff and new hires concerning particular skillsets has also undergone a shift. Therefore, this is actually the best time to up-skill yourself for the new work-life balance and focus on honing the skills that will come in handy not only now but also in the future.

Critical Thinking: Organizations have shown a great affinity towards individuals who possess the skill of critical thinking and can solve complex problems with ease. Critical thinking brings you the ability to break down a complex problem into small and manageable units and then use logic and reasoning to come with various solutions for each problem unit. It is a crucial trait to possess, considering the current times where problems need quick acknowledgment in a rapidly changing environment and pros and cons of solutions need to go through a swift vetting before putting them in motion.

Having a balanced emotional intelligence and active communication SKILL is crucial for the work scenario we have now.

Technology Savvy Mindset: The best way to keep your job is to be digitally updated. Gaining knowledge and learning about the new technological innovations coming to the market is going to make life simpler. Technology has always been an enabler, and especially now when physical contact is almost nil, virtually connecting with your peers and colleagues is the way to progress. Data literacy, automation, artificial intelligence, analytics combined with an ability to sort through information and draw insights are going to become key skills in this technologically aligned world order. The professional who works on understanding and mastering these will surely succeed.

Thinking Agility and Multi-tasking: VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) is the new normal in any business, and it needs employees who are quick on their feet and agile to deal with such situations.  Agile thinking is your ability to become highly responsive and adapt to changes promptly, which enables you to deliver the best possible solution or product. The market conditions and measures of success are constantly changing and therefore a professional who understands and adapts to the changing needs will be able to sustain. Of course, in all this, the ability to handle multiple tasks and play different roles to the best of one’s ability will determine the measure of success achieved by an individual. Therefore, acquiring multiple skill sets and understanding multiple roles will help an employee work out an optimal result.

Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to analyze and work on different situations and concepts at the same time without breaking stride is cognitive flexibility. People with high cognitive flexibility are more adaptable to changes in work conditions, and take on additional responsibilities without getting unduly stressed. This skill is sought after because keeping an open mind, prioritizing tasks as and when they come, and also unlearning whenever required without stressing oneself enables a professional to balance work life and family life. A satisfied individual is always more productive and fearless about taking on new challenges.

Finding unique solutions to an existing problem or finding unconventional opportunities in tricky scenarios is the kind of skill that appeals most in this post-pandemic world.

Innovative Thinking and Creativity: Even before the pandemic, companies allocated considerable resources to innovation. Irrespective of the industry or sector, every company aspires to find individuals with a creative mindset and a fresh perspective to look at the challenges at hand. This attitude also enables the individuals to seek out opportunities even in downturns and helps their organisations to prosper. Thinking outside the box has always been a necessary pre-requisite for any R&D or strategy team. Finding unique solutions to an existing problem or finding unconventional opportunities in tricky scenarios is the kind of skill that appeals most in this post-pandemic world.

Emotional Intelligence and Active Communication: Only when you take care of yourself, is when you can take care of others. Having a balanced emotional intelligence and active communication skill is crucial for the work scenario we have now. Physical proximity being minimal, we need to help ourselves and our teams to achieve the best by maintaining optimum mental and physical well-being. Actively communicating, empathizing, coordinating, and listening to each other is the best way to manage stress and uncertainty in a work environment, and organizations are looking for leaders who possess them.

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