While 2020 will forever remind us about COVID-19, the year was a period of sustained dynamic instability. The pandemic was not only a humanitarian crisis, but it also caused the recession and political turmoil. Indeed, many companies folded last year while thousands of people lost their jobs and became homeless.
However, 2020 will haunt us in 2021. As the calendar turns, the aftershocks of the destabilized market conditions will change how we manage businesses. In such a tense situation, businesses depend on employees to meet the changing nature of the market.
Furthermore, the nature of work is changing due to technology disruption. The use of Big Data in business is fast becoming a necessity. In an increasingly digitized workplace, business managers must be able to harness technology for success. And the effect of working from home must also be kept in mind. This change has highlighted the gaps in the technical skills of remote workers. Most companies transitioned a majority of their workforce to remote work. Gone are the days of meeting clients over lunch or engaging in face to face prospecting.
But, companies cannot take a chance. They must succeed in the new normal and face these challenges head-on. To meet these challenges, managers must cultivate some primary skills through training. These skills are a hybrid of technical and soft skills.
Fortunately, they can take short term courses or enroll in degree programs to hone their craft. For example, an online masters degree in business administration can help familiarize managers with machine learning. Training programs can be vital to change management, as they identify the goals and priorities of evolving situations. Upskilling is the need of the hour. According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of the workforce will need to update their skills by 2025. It has been dubbed the “reskill revolution.” Some companies are already announcing initiatives to reskill the workforce.
Given below are the top skills needed to succeed in 2021.
- Soft Skills Are The Foundation Of Success: Soft skills are a favorite topic amongst business recruiters. The gap in soft skills exists not only in every role and organization. Leaders must develop these skills to guide employees through stressful situations. According to research, 23% of employees felt very well supported during the pandemic. Leaders have to work on these metrics to prevent burnout and increase employee retention. They can do so by cultivating the following soft skills:
- Empathy: Empathy is about putting yourself in the shoes of someone else. Empathic leaders can understand the views of others and consider their emotions. They can create an atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable and confident. Such an environment is conducive to innovation. Insight is valuable in business situations. Since many people are struggling due to the pandemic, compassion can help leaders create connections. Clients and team members want someone who can engage with them. Empathic leaders can communicate with people across cultures and ages.
- Flexibility: Even before the pandemic, the world of business was a little unpredictable. But 2021 is a year that is unlike any year before. There is a need to re-examine the old way of doing things since the old model no longer applies. In such uncertain times, an authoritative leader will find it impossible to maintain operations. Therefore, managers will have to become more flexible and do things a little differently.
- Agility: Agility, or the mixture of empathy and flexibility, is vital for survival in 2021. Not only do managers have to change their mindset about how they do things, but they also have to change their strategies. Companies must be willing to change their business model while keeping variables in stride.
- Technical skills for 2021: Commentators have long stressed the importance of technical skills for the modern workforce. The evolution of robotics and artificial intelligence brought a new education revolution to learn technical skills. The technical skills for survival in 2021 are below:
- Basic Computer literacy: This is a given in the era of remote working. Indeed, more than 25% of the global workforce will be working remotely. Leaders not only have to decide who can be among remote workers, but they also have to develop skills for remote work. Managers should be experts in web design and SEO. Leaders should be able to work with online tools for virtual meetings. Furthermore, security is a valid concern in 2021. Therefore web-based system security is vital.
- Using data to make decisions: Managers will have to make many difficult decisions in 2021. Therefore they must have relevant data to assist them in this process. The foremost benefit of big data in decision making is that it takes emotions out of the equation. To utilize this technology, managers must identify the purpose of data collection. Furthermore, they must recognize patterns in the data to make an informed choice. Data can also show what will work and what will not work. Managers must be familiar with analytics tools, as well.
- Lean budgeting: Frugality in a digital world refers to doing more with fewer resources. Therefore, managers must efficiently utilize all available resources. Furthermore, companies must budget for projects that are adjustable at various points over the year.
Other trends of 2021:
In the past year, equity has been a constant topic of discussion amongst the general population. Therefore, managers will have to recalculate company values and make lasting changes. Some companies have already made these changes in internal policy. For example, Facebook has added success with Diversity initiatives to hold executives responsible for inclusion and diversity. Furthermore, companies are also becoming aware of the importance of mental health during this challenging time. Like EY, some firms offer daily group counseling, and others send empathy filled emails to employees.
There is no doubt about it, 2020 was a trying year for everyone. While some challenges were the same for all industries, each sector has its problems. With the new vaccine finally going into production, the nightmare of 2020 is nearing its end. Managers must begin preparation for a post-COVID-19 future with bravery, innovation, and ingenuity.