Money & Business

The Four Workplace Skills You’ll Need to Stand Out in the New Year

By / Jan 1, 2020 (rommma/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Want to be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead? Build your soft skills, creativity, and technology savvy to keep up at work and power your career this year.

Welcome back from the holiday break! Feelin’ rested? Now’s the time to talk about the things that will help you excel as you get back into the groove at the office.

Given that we just entered a new decade, you might be wondering: Are my (or my staff’s) skills up to snuff? It’s a fair question to ask, and the answer might involve putting some time into training. Here are a few areas where you’d be wise to place your focus:

Soft skills. More and more employers are looking for workers who listen well, show empathy for peers, and have other soft skills that help them interact well and build productive relationships with others. In a recent piece for Fast Company, contributor Judith Humphrey, a leadership communications expert, noted that people with high emotional intelligence have been shown to make nearly $30,000 more, on average, than those who don’t have such skills.

Communication capabilities—online and off. Speaking of soft skills, there is evidence that professionals are focusing more on developing better communication skills. And that’s leading some people to go online to get better at talking offline. CNBC recently reported a boom in online courses focused on teaching people how to better communicate in person. But even as offline skills are growing in importance, knowing the right way to talk through a digital interface matters, too—as a recent saga involving the luggage startup Away showed.

Technical skills. While soft skills can definitely help you stand out in the age of automation, tech savvy is still highly valued by employers. TechRepublic notes that knowing your way around AI, data science, and web development could prove a major asset in the next decade.

High levels of creativity. Citing tech executive Kai-fu Lee, Adobe’s Mala Sharma, the vice president and general manager for the company’s Creative Cloud suite, told Forbes recently that even with rising demand for artificial intelligence, “the more secure jobs are the creative jobs. It’s how we understand the world, it’s how we problem solve.” Bring your A-game as an idea person and your future will be more secure than ever.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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