The Importance of Professional Development
The world as we knew it has changed for good. Where we once found ourselves in crowded restaurants and cafes, social distancing has become the now norm. Where we once had meetings and briefings in conference and meeting rooms, we now find ourselves having these same meetings via Zoom, Microsoft teams, Webex and even Skype from home. Where once we were able to have face-to-face lectures and seminars with our lecturers, it’s now all done so remotely, with each participant sitting in the relative comfort and safety of the home. What will we need to stay relevant and seamlessly evolve to excel in this new normal?
There is a lot unknown about how the world has transformed. But, it is very unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before. Our workplaces have changed, and with it, the skills companies will require.
The following are skills that have been listed as the most essential by Forbes:
Adaptability and Tech Savviness
The ways companies operate and work have changed. If you are going to succeed in a post-coronavirus world, you will need to be able to adapt to ever-evolving workplaces and have the ability to continuously update and refresh you skills.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a post Covid-19 job market is to acquire professional and technology skills. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked digital transformations in companies as they become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions.
Skills like being able to work and meet on platforms like Zoom, Microsoft teams, Webex, Skype, etc. are now considered fundamental skills any candidate should have. Understanding some of these new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will provide candidates an edge in the post Covid-19 job market.
Creativity and Innovation
In a post-coronavirus world, we will need human ingenuity to invent and dream up new products and ways of working. Creativity and innovation during the pandemic has seen Mercedes F1 quickly shift from making racing cars to innovative breathing aids. We have also seen innovations by restaurants and cafes who quickly pivoted to home deliveries when their outlets had been closed. Human creativity is going to be essential.
Data Literacy and Digital Skills
Data is a critical asset for every company. With the right data, companies are able to better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better able to serve customers with the right products and services during or after any pandemic. Companies that understand business trends and shifting customer needs are better able to respond in the right way. However, knowing how to interpret and use the data is the key to data literacy. Professionals with data literacy will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before.
People who can keep the digital business running and thriving during economic downturns or pandemics that make face-to-face business impossible, are going to be on the must-hire list. Basically, ALL companies are now digitally based in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless. These include digital skills like digital marketing, web development, coding.
People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible will be valued. Critical thinking is a skill that will be essential as our global economy rebuilds from the damage done by Covid-19.
During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in fake news and misrepresentations of data and studies, as leaders, businesses, and governments are trying to shift blame and divert attention and proper scrutiny. Not all information should be trusted, but organisations will need to rely on critical thinking to understand what information should inform decision-making.
In a world that is heavily supported by machines, where social distancing and home working might continue for the foreseeable future, more people at all levels of an organisation must be in a position where they will be able to lead others. Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and motivate teams, as well as encourage collaboration, will be in demand.
Closely linked to leadership is another skill that is even more important in uncertain and challenging times: Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
EQ is the ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be aware of others’ emotions. At times when people might feel uncertain about their job and the future of their business, it is crucial to be able to connect with people on an emotional level. Individuals with strong EQ will be coveted by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
Commitment to Lifelong Learning
In just five years, 35 per cent of the skills deemed essential today will change. There is only one way to remain relevant in a post-coronavirus reality: commit to a lifetime of learning.
When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced and expert job skills will still be in demand and likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier. There are endless free and open online courses available that will help you improve your skills.
Just search for the skills you want to develop on platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, FutureLearn, or iversity.
All said and done, those who commit to evolve and transform during this global pandemic, will be the most equipped to seize the new opportunities in the post Covid-19 world!