Five Business Skills Employers Will Want Post COVID
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A lot has been written about the ‘future of jobs’ and ‘top skills’ to thrive as the industry transitions into its fourth generation avatar (Industry 4.0) and the fast emerging fluid (gig) economy. Come COVID-19 crisis, the changes that are predicted to happen in next 10-15 years in the business world are fast forwarded and are already showing up warranting fundamental structural changes in the way businesses are modeled, products/services are designed, distribution and communication channels are developed, supply chain and logistics are configured and customers are engaged, giving way to a completely new world order. Naturally, businesses globally will have to build suitable capabilities and infuse appropriate business and technical skills to be able to operate effectively in the post-COVID world ensuring rigor, relevance and resilience for their businesses.
Here are my five picks of the business skills that would be most desirable by employers globally for workplace success in the post-COVID world.
The most important and the timeless business skill, irrespective of whether one is a business owner or an employee, is the entrepreneurial skill—ability to take risk; spot opportunities in challenges; gather and deploy various factors of production in a most effective manner; to create, nurture and satisfy consumer needs in the most efficient manner; to create value for all stakeholders. In a fast emerging gig economy, further fueled by the current crisis, it is the entrepreneurial skills that shall come handy in building resilience and business continuity.
Success of any individual or business hinges on their ability to ‘think out of the box’, design innovative products and solutions and create ‘blue oceans’ to not only outpace the competition and fuel the future growth but also wade through crisis situations. In the post-COVID world, as the global economies converge and the competitive landscape turns borderless, platform agnostic, multi-channel and hyper competitive, it is the creative skills that can drive innovation in every aspect of business that shall matter the most.
The work place in post-COVID world, essentially driven by technology, machines and robots, will be characterized by a virtual borderless multicultural environment with limited human interactions among workforce loosely connected over technology platforms. In such a context, people skills such as emotional intelligence, negotiation, persuasion, team building, people management, collaboration, etc., will play a key role to operate effectively, champion the change and promote workplace well-being thereby boost workforce productivity and generate cost efficiencies. People skills are likely to be most vital in the post-COVID world.
In a highly digitalized and technology driven world, it is an imperative to understand various technologies and the capabilities they bring-in to be able to deploy them to generate sustainable competitive advantage. Deep understanding of the new age tech stack (AI, ML, DL, IOT, blockchain, robotics, alternate reality, etc.) is essential to configure new marketing mix, channel design, deploy customized communication and engagement strategy, design cost-effective production capabilities to mass customize products/services and so on. It won’t be an overstatement to say that in the post-COVID world tech illiteracy, irrespective of one’s functional area specialization, will be perilous.
Data science (DS)/business intelligence (BI)
The ability of an organization to respond to any disruptive change, brought in by crises or competitive forces, is largely rooted in its ability to harness and exploit their ‘data’ assets captured at diverse touch points pertaining to various economic actors relevant to its business. DS/BI capabilities are most critical to mine the data and discover hidden patterns, predict possible behavioral shifts in economic factors thus enabling businesses to build robust and agile response mechanisms contributing to business resilience during and post any pandemic. Therefore, professionals with DS/BI skills shall be preferred by the employers in the post-COVID world.
Apart from the above listed business skills, the ability to continuously learn, unlearn and relearn adds greater flexibility and cognitive agility to one’s personality keeping them relevant and in good demand at all times in all situations.