Developing The Adaptive Skills Essential For Success At Work

November 23, 2018

Want to develop yourself and your colleagues, but don’t have the time, the budget or the inspiration? Are you ready to discover the most valuable adaptive skills, which are in greatest demand across all work sectors?

The Importance Of Applied People Skills

It turns out that developing applied people skills may now be more important than ever before. These adaptive work skills and approaches are not only highly prized across all work environments, but are also completely transferable.

Survey after survey is highlighting the fact that employers are now putting transferable abilities ahead of technical abilities and are acknowledging that these are the skills most closely associated with success in a role. Furthermore, while technical skills clearly are valued and remain massively important, it appears that for the most part, they are easier to identify in the marketplace. According to one of the largest surveys of its kind The UKCES Employer Skills Survey, which recently interviewed 91,000 UK organisations, ‘The most common skills deemed to be lacking among existing staff were people and personal skills’. (Jan 2016). UK employers are for example, more than 10 times as likely to appoint a candidate who can prove their communication skills in the workplace over ones with extensive experience.

The same survey discovered that ‘these skills deficits can cause major problems and disruptions for business and result in increased costs and diminished competitiveness and profitability’. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2020, over half a million UK workers will be significantly held back by their lack of transferable skills.

It seems the favouring of interpersonal abilities over technical abilities stretches across all functions, roles and sectors. Take Google for example. After scouring years of performance reviews, feedback surveys and other people data, their ‘Project Oxygen’ identified eight characteristics which employees at Google admired the most in their bosses. Interestingly, ‘technical ability’ – often considered to be the defining characteristic of the most successful Googlers, came bottom of the pile. (with interpersonally-based skills, first).

While there is clearly an appetite for developing adaptive skills, employers just don’t seem to have enough time available to devote to it. According to industry analyst Josh Bersin, the average employee now has less than 25 minutes a week to spend on to formal training, which raises the question as to what can be done to make skills development become more relevant, digestible and on demand?

Introducing Easy To Access, Easy To Consume & Easy-To-Implement Development Possibilities

Chris Watson’s Upskill provides a compendium of resources for readers to pick up and refer to in their own time and at their own pace: 840 practical ideas reflecting the latest thinking on how to extend personal performance. The suggestions have all been grouped around a set of twenty-one adaptive skills, which are associated with successful outcomes at work and beyond. The skills were identified following feedback from 8,000 businesses over a 10 year period. They can be practised and refined throughout a career and are as relevant for new starters in an organisation as they are for more experienced managers. They include: ability to influence, collaboration, commercial thinking, change and adaptation, constructive communication, creativity and innovation, direction and purpose, planning and organisation, customer service, developing others, interpersonal awareness, intuitive thought, motivation to succeed, self-development, people management, positive decisions, professional ethics, emotional control, results through action, specialist knowledge and use of information.  These skills mirror the findings of the 2018 Workplace Learning Report, which discovered the number one priority for developing people was more training in adaptive people skills. This result was supported by the McKinsey Global Institute’s ‘Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained’ report which stated that the more adaptive social and emotional skills, were the qualities most likely to be sought after in the future workplace.

Upskill provides a plethora of development ideas to help individuals adapt and adjust to new approaches and work methods. It can be used to support upskilling through the identification of relevant and realistic options for professional growth. Readers will discover a host of proven techniques: relevant articles, quotes and resources, carefully selected videos, novel approaches, time saving apps, topical insights and engaging tools. This compendium of high leverage tools and techniques delivers a dynamic snapshot of learning possibilities. It can be used by managers, supervisors, coaches, HR practioners, training professionals - as well as proactive employees who are committed to their own personal development. Ultimately, Upskill reinforces the importance of applied people skills and the human dimension of work, by putting people at the centre of their own learning journey.

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