An article was published by the World Economic Program more than a decade ago, predicting the 10 skills you need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. The piece predicted that we’ll see advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics, all by 2021.
As insightful as the piece seems to have been back then, it highlighted what they thought were going to be the top 10 skills as required by the then-future.
Complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility all made the list. And it’s a good list – all of those skills are important, if not vital to have in the workforce in this new decade.
But at Evolve, we’re also interested in the changes that we expect to see in the resumes of people working across business change. What are the specific traits trending that more and more companies are beginning to look for? With the constant belief that employees need to be more adaptable and teams need to learn to collaborate better together, we foresee there being five specific qualities a recruiter will look for.
The Harvard Business Review reported on new research which showed that curiosity is vital to an organisation’s performance — as are the particular ways in which people are curious and the experiences to which they are exposed. Curiosity leads to innovation as we no longer want to accept the way things have always been done. The research found that when our curiosity is triggered, we are less likely to fall prey to confirmation bias – looking for information that supports our beliefs rather than for evidence suggesting we are wrong.
Now this form of rebelliousness doesn’t speak to the frustrated teenager that leaves the house in the middle of the night or refuses to put the rubbish out. The Chicago Tribute reported on research Harvard behavioural scientist Francesca Gino found, that most rebels share five core strengths: novelty, curiosity, perspective, diversity and authenticity. She chronicled these in a book entitled Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life. In this book, she makes the case for leaders to encourage rebellion in the workplace, and that such rebellion may lead to a more fulfilling workplace and life.
To be candid is to be honest and forthright. A good business leader needs to learn how to handle the hard conversations even if they don’t want to. You need to be willing and open to tell people what it is you need so as to offset any forthcoming challenges. Anticipating what might take a project or professional relationship off track requires talking about potential hurdles before they become blockers. Now be careful, candidness without emotional intelligence can come across as just being mean – but building an environment where psychological safety is a priority encourages open candour between you, your leadership team, and individuals in a productive way.
Being a good listener, or just a listener in general will be of immeasurable benefit in the corporate world. Forbes magazine published a piece on the art of listening, and how it’s in danger of being lost. “Listening is the single most crucial skill in communicating and building your business,” they wrote. “Listening increases productivity, boosts confidence and reduces errors. Listening can have numerous benefits, including making you popular, building your personal brand and expanding your relationship network.”
By definition, cognitive flexibility is the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. Your ability to be cognitively flexible will enable you to learn more quickly, solve problems more creatively, and adapt and respond to new situations more effectively. So, it stands to reason that this is an important skill to possess in the workplace, and something you’d want prospective employees to know about you when submitting your resume for their consideration. The World Economic Forum reported in 2016 that the future of jobs – across nine different industries in 15 of the world’s largest economies – would soon find employers placing greater emphasis on cognitive abilities like creativity and adaptability.