Are you prepared with the skills required for the reality of the new workplace post pandemic?
In the space of just a few months, the current pandemic has thrown the entire world into total disarray and turmoil. Companies on the verge of collapse, fleets of planes are grounded and people are forced to work from home. In a recent estimate, the International Labour Organisation (www.ilo.org) said that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their jobs – a staggering 1.6 billion people. And still we are unsure of what lies ahead in the coming months.
Despite the uncertainties, some countries are beginning to ease restrictions and there are signs that the economic activities can recover – not for the norm but in a different way. The only thing we can be sure of is that the future of work will never be the same again.
Here are five key skills you need to navigate and thrive in a new and vastly different work environment.
Reboot your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is absolutely essential to define your values and project you as an individual who is trusted and likeable. The fundamentals and core elements of personal branding have not changed but there is an urgent need to re-imagine the image that you present to achieve remarkable performance in a rapidly-evolving workplace.
Reboot your personal brand to re-define yourself not just as an individual who is trusted and likeable, but also as a talented, resourceful and resilient person who can contribute effectively to the company to overcome future crises. If you have yet to establish your own personal brand, this is the perfect time to develop your signature talent and learn the skills to enable you to land your ideal job as the market recovers.
Learn new Communication Skills for the new workplace
Communication skills, together with possessing a dynamic personal brand, are the key qualities for a successful career and to achieve your personal goals.
The most defining impact of the current pandemic on working life is characterized by social distancing, work from home and video conferencing. Work from home and video meetings are now a global phenomenon. These have shifted our traditional perceptions of communications at work.
With work from home and some form of social distancing likely to remain with us for some time to come, effective video conferencing skills in particular, has become more important. If you have to attend a video interview, what would you do? How do you dress? With many questions still hanging over the resumption air travel, how do you make an impact on an international client you are meeting for the first time – not in person but over a video conference?
So, learning to present your personal brand on screen and having a good understanding of video conferencing etiquette and skills to achieve your objectives are now crucial for career success and profitable rewards.
Expand Your Vocal Skills and Verbal Intelligence
Consider this. You are part of a sales and marketing team making a sales presentation over a video call. Your potential customer may only be able to see your partial body – from head to torso. You lose your weapon of demonstrating positive body language to engage your customer.
This situation amplifies the need to have strong vocal skills and perceptive verbal intelligence – that is to say, using the power of your voice to convince and the verbal intelligence to say the right words.
Moreover, you are tested for your observational skills of non-verbal facial gestures and nuances to gauge the interest and response from your potential customer since you might only be able to see his face.
Do you have the vocal, verbal and observational skills needed for this type of new work environment?
Team Building Skills in Virtual Reality
The concept of teamwork and team communications have changed drastically. In the traditional style, you can gather your team to discuss a project over a meeting on a face-to-face basis. In a work-from-home or remote situation, you may find that your team is scattered in Woodlands, Tanglin, Bedok and Jurong East. Adding to that, there also be staff in Bangkok, London and Tokyo.
After a video meeting, follow-up work is mainly through Whatsapp or SMS. If you are the team leader, you have to learn to make the most out of virtual meetings and build teamwork among your diverse team members separated in far-flung places.
How do you build teamwork virtually? What are the skills you need to motivate them and maintain team cohesion? And how do you bridge the culture gap?
Read this interesting report about team building. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200515-how-to-make-teams-work-better-recognise-your-emotions
Emotional Intelligence and Resilience
The pandemic has forced companies to quickly change the ways they operate and redefine roles for their workforce. Some companies in hard-hit sectors such as airlines have redeployed their workforce to totally new working roles. And these may be permanent for some workers, requiring them to adapt quickly and stressing those who are not able to do so.
A recent report in Forbes noted the job skills needed to succeed in the post pandemic era include adaptability, creativity, critical thinking and emotional intelligence (or the ability to relate with people). A commentary from McKinsey & Co said that reskilling and upskilling of the workforce is needed to deliver new business models for companies to emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.
To this, we add that the entire suite of people skills and the character of resilience will be critical factors for success to adapt in the new and constantly evolving workplaces. Learning the tools to continuously rebrand and upskill yourself are key to a rewarding job and career.
Jill Lowe International is a Talent Transformation company specialising in corporate and personal branding. The company conducts two People Skills courses – Personal Branding for Career Achievement and Communicate & Relate Effectively at the Workplace – designed to help the workforce to adapt and cope with the rapid changes in the evolving workplace environment. These WSQ training programmes are supported by Skills Future Credit.
Check them out at https://jilllowe.com/wsq/