The future is now!
There’s something about the future that garners a crazy mixture of emotions for people who discuss it. It’s the uncertainty of it all that brings butterflies in our stomachs, both for anxiety and anticipation.
So if we can reduce the uncertainty in any way, shape or form, we can face the future with more confidence and courage.
In the hiring landscape, much is being said about the skill sets that are needed to be prolific employees and managers of the future. When properly harnessed, the skill can widen the gap between the so-so workforce and the trailblazers and game changers.
Browse through the list of five next-generation skills to see which ones you have and which ones you need to work on. I’ll have to admit, the experience can either be fulfilling or stressful. So it’s best to have a clear mind, strong heart, and humble spirit that is willing to change for the best.
NextGen Skill 1 – Thinking
Uhm… okay. Isn’t this already a given? Of course you have to be able to think in order to accomplish tasks and have work outputs. It’s the most basic skill set needed and is definitely a no-brainer, pun intended!
But take a moment and just assess what this skill is requiring. We aren’t talking about the natural human capacity of thinking. Not the almost instinctive response to any and every instance or possibility.
Thinking here means critical thinking. It’s the capacity to actually comprehend. Not just do. Assess. Not just act.
The ability to think critically or wisely is usually assessed by actual situations. However, tests and assessments that measure critical thinking are already available in order to carefully determine if these employees can make good decisions in the future.
So the next time you oversimplify the skill set of thinking, think again.
NextGen Skill 2 – Empathy
Who would have thought empathy would rank high among the skills that companies of the future are looking for?
After all, like thinking, shouldn’t this be a natural human characteristic that shouldn’t even be required nor distinguished? I mean, shouldn’t we all be empathetic or at least know how to empathize?
Previous studies conducted show that there is an alarming increase of Singaporeans who are either unempathetic or they are empathetic but do not act on it.
Though it is sad to realize that empathy has now become such a rarity and that being empathetic is an exemption rather than the rule, we can still do something about it.
Cultivating a culture of empathy in schools and in the workplace is an extremely effective way of countering this negative social epidemic. Which brings me back to the original point of the matter: empathy is now a highly sought-after skill among present and future job seekers.
NextGen Skill 3 – Self Awareness
For those who follow the NBA, I’m quite sure that there isn’t a day that you don’t hear about the athlete that is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Steph Curry is a three-time NBA champion, a two-time MVP of the league, one of which is the first ever unanimous MVP award ever given to a player of the Association.
But millions around the world don’t idolize him because of these accolades which I have enlisted. And it isn’t just because he is one of the most prolific scorers in all of NBA history, capable of shooting ten 3-pointers – or more – at any given night. No, these aren’t his most shining qualities.
What distinguished Curry from other NBA superstars is his high level of self-awareness. Already great on his own accord, he had the humility, confidence and self-assurance to recruit another former MVP, Kevin Durant, to join his team in order to create a dynastic impact in the league.
Three rings later and hopefully more to go, Steph Curry is the epitome of self-awareness. Knowing his worth and yet fully capable of being dependent on the strength of others makes him stand out and shine.
And this very same quality is what’s making recruiters go ga-ga over these kinds of applicants.
NextGen Skill 4 – Ethics
Geez. The more I go through this list, the more depressing it gets. I feel this way simply because of the skill sets that are being described as highly wanted are basic traits that every human should have!
However, since our society has become so narcissistic and entitled, commitment, trust, honesty, hard work, and other fundamental virtues go flying out the window.
We have fast become a results-based culture. The end justifies the means. So it doesn’t matter if you cheated your way through college. What matters is the diploma that’s hanging in your office.
But employers of the future are changing this and with good reason. More and more enterprises are having higher social consciousness. They are also more attuned to employees’ needs and environmental causes.
Therefore, ethics is no longer just a by-word that’s carelessly thrown in the conversation. It’s actually something to stand by and imbibe.
NextGen Skill 5 – Communication
Yes, yes and yes. You simply cannot be part of a thriving next-generation workforce if you don’t know how to communicate.
Communication falls into two categories: the ability to express yourself well and the capacity to listen and understand what others are saying.
The former is more valued, while the latter is grossly unappreciated.
The communication process, as we all know, works both ways. You can’t communicate with just speaking. You also have to listen.
And we have to admit, it’s more pleasurable and natural for us to talk. However, as the saying goes – we only have one mouth and two ears. So guess what should we be doing more of?
Speaking out and not hearing out will lead to many blunders in the workforce. And employees of the future are strongly avoiding this because they know the value that proper communication brings.
So if you think you are not yet the best communicator – based on the speaking and listening requirements – then I suggest you curb this skill or this behavior now if you want to get hired.
Harness Now, Get Rewarded Later
Skills are not always innate. There may be some that are not inherent of you and you have to work hard on it. Out of the five nextgen skillsets, you may only fare well at two or three. Quite understandable.
However, if you want to stand out instead of fit in, then you can start working on all five skill sets now. The secret to a flawless performance is tons of practice, right? So ironically, in order for these skills to be “natural” to you, you have to really work your butt off in order to learn or strengthen them.
Don’t shy away from the challenge. That is precisely what this write-up was all about. By doing so, you will see yourself as an in-demand applicant that HR recruiters will go after.