BECOMING HIREABLE IN 2021 AND BEYOND

The global effects of the pandemic are well known. The harsh realities that have emerged as a consequence, in terms of job losses, human tragedies, economic fallout and changing canvas of work are the aftershock that we need to cope with, even as the pandemic continues. Life, must go on – albeit with masks on!

LIFE MUST GO ON – ALBEIT WITH MASKS ON!
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THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM FUTURE OF JOBS REPORT 2020: The World Economic Forum, published its annual ‘Future of Jobs Report 2020’ in October 2020. By then, several consequences of the pandemic had occurred and in my view, the report has quite accurately captured the essence of the challenges that are emerging. (Download the complete report here https://www.weforum.org/reports).

While the key findings are listed, I would be tapping those key findings which are impacting the theme of this post. – which is the need to develop and evolve as individuals, so that we become hireable in the post pandemic era.

In his path breaking work ‘The Third Wave’, Alvin Toffler, had likened the progress of civilisation to the waves at a beach. Each time the receding wave impacted or collided with the next wave that was coming up, it caused immense pain, turbulence, chaos and disruption. The pandemic is a wave that came in out of the blue, like a tsunami and the world is continuing to reel under its shock. Further, just like the small rivulets or sub streams that roll back from the beach, only to merge with the waters, creating bubbles, ripples, turbulence and disruption at all stages. We will need to roll with the punches and weave with the situations, creating a niche for ourselves, as we deeply leverage our originality, empathy, communication skills and distill all our abilities into exceptional leadership skills and abilities.

WAVES COLLIDING – RIPPLES, TURBULENCE, DISRUPTION, PAIN!
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Here are some of the findings of the WEF Report and the imperatives that are thrown up as a consequence. The imperatives or action points are provided in capitals.

  • The pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas. – GET TECH SAVVY – FAST!
  • Automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers. – MANUAL LABOUR IS TAKING A HIT – PLEASE LEARN A SKILL ASAP.

Skills gaps continue to be high as in- demand skills across jobs change in
the next five years. – IF YOU ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE A JOB – START UPSKILLING RAPIDLY. ADAPT WITH THE CHANGES THAT ARE HAPPENING!

  • The window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market. – ONE SKILL IS NOT ENOUGH. QUICKLY LEARN ANOTHER, WHILE PERFECTING WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE!

TOP 15 SKILLS – BY THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

Keeping these findings and imperatives at the back of our mind, let us now review the 15 core skills that the WEF Report suggests one needs to have to stay relevant in the world of work. These 15 key skills as identified and prioritised by the World Economic Forum, in their report “The Future of Jobs 2020” are:

1.ANALYTICAL THINKING AND INNOVATION

2.ACTIVE LEARNING & LEARNING STRATEGIES

3.COMPLEX PROBLEM-SOLVING

4.CRITICAL THINKING & ANALYSIS

5.CREATIVITY, ORIGINALITY AND INITIATIVE

6.LEADERSHIP & SOCIAL INFLUENCE

7.TECHNOLOGY USE, MONITORING AND CONTROL

8.TECHNOLOGY DESIGN & PROGRAMMING

9.RESILIENCE, STRESS TOLERANCE & FLEXIBILITY

10.REASONING, PROBLEM SOLVING & IDEATION

11.EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

12.TROUBLE SHOOTING & USER EXPERIENCE

13.SERVICE ORIENTATION

14.SYSTEMS ANALYSIS & EVALUATION

15.PERSUASION AND NEGOTIATION

Thats it! 15 skills are what you need to become hireable. 15 skills that will empower you to position yourself favourably with employers and hirers. What are you waiting for? Aha, where does one actually learn and hone these skills? That is surely food for thought.

HOW DO WE LEARN AND HONE SKILLS?
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As a coach, working with professionals from varied backgrounds and industries, I have felt the pain and angst that is part of their work life, when they are unaware about what is required by their bosses and often are castigated for things that they were not knowing that their bosses felt that they should be knowing. Such negative experiences severely impact confidence levels and thereby performance. Inability to sell their perspectives, difficulties in handling day to day work experiences, in general hitting roadblocks and hurdles quite often.

With these experiences in mind, having analysed the depth of the requirements of the WEF 15 skill list, I have distilled the learning and honing process into 7 essential capabilities that we would need to realise, learn, appreciate, practice and hone. These are:

GET THESE TO GET THOSE TOP 15 SKILLS…..

ORIGINALITY: We must realise, embrace and enhance our uniqueness. It is this uniqueness that will empower us to discover solutions and ideas that are truly ‘out of the box’.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES: We are always leading. We lead consciously as well as unconsciously. When we develop our abilities, we lead effortlessly and this allows our energies to be used more effectively. Leadership to the extent that is required in our lives is eminently learnable and scaleable.

COMMUNICATION: A much underrated skill. Communication is key to almost everything in life. On many occasions, we lose out due to miscommunication. In fact, many conflicts are directly attributable to communication errors, miscommunications, misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Conflicts are part of life. We often get into conflict or are affected by it in some way. In all situations, the way ahead is to resolve the conflict. The ability to resolve conflict also manifests our abilities to view things objectively, view things from different angles, find the best ways ahead and to make win-win a way of life.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND NEGOTIATION ARE CRITICAL SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE OF 2021 AND AHEAD!
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NEGOTIATION: We are negotiating nearly all day. From the time we wake up, we are unconsciously getting into negotiation mode. Our mental dialogues negotiate with our minds – “to snooze or to wake up”, negotiating our breakfasts (diet vs taste or say time vs ease of cooking), then along the road as we listen to our favourite playlists as we negotiate traffic, negotiate time, negotiate meetings, negotiate settlements, – the list is endless. Negotiation is an endless part of our lives. Why do we shy away from it? We need to embrace negotiation and master it. Negotiation is key to success in many areas.

EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT OR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: To quote Wikipedia “Emotional intelligence (EI), emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments.[1] Although the term first appeared in 1964,[2] it gained popularity in the 1995 best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, written by science journalist Daniel Goleman. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.” The work-home-work from home-life is crazy-pandemic challenges life that we have adapted to over the past year or so, has taken its toll. Most of us are under stress. We have some thought or fear or premonition that seems to hang over our head like the sword of Damocles. Yes, most of us have managed to suppress / camouflage / deflect or somehow deal with the emotions, stress, thoughts, etc in some way. Yet we remain affected. Do see my earlier post as well here: 👉 https://ajayramakrishnan.com/leading-in-times-of-c-t-s-d/ There is a huge need to understand our emotions, our thoughts and that of others as well. Hence in the present day canvas, Emotional Intelligence is key to success.

DESIGN THINKING: Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand users, challenge assumptions and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods. Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing the products or services. It helps us observe and develop empathy with the target user. Design Thinking helps us in the process of questioning: questioning the problem, questioning the assumptions and questioning the implications. Design Thinking is extremely useful in tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing. Design Thinking also involves ongoing experimentation: sketching, prototyping, testing, and trying out concepts and ideas.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – SOLVING THE PUZZLE!
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PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

If we do a deep dive into the top 15 skills that the World Economic Forum has prioritised for becoming hireable and staying employed, most of these skills are the manifestations of the 7 abilities or capabilities that have been listed. It is not really rocket science. It is just a question of putting together and organising your inherent capabilities, thereafter identifying skill / capability gaps and then building on them. While doing this on your own is possible, working with a good coach is strongly recommended.

CONCLUSION

The current challenges are huge, yet not too difficult to overcome. We need to focus, work on ourselves and then we will find opportunities happening. In conversations with many industry leaders, I have observed a disturbing pattern wherein a large majority of executives, young managers and even senior managers, seriously lack people skills. For example, in a tech firm, someone who is good at tech will be easily picked up and will move up the ladder. Suddenly, when in a position where people skills are needed, it becomes difficult to function. Such is the situation. The need of the hour is to clearly know yourself, identify your strengths and leverage them while consolidating on skill gaps and desirable abilities. lets do this people!

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