Do you know what skills are needed in the workforce today?

The changes that companies have experienced in the last few years have been rapid and disruptive. We are constantly looking at new ways to progress, innovate and win against our competitors. Technology, digitalisation, and remote working have all been significant contributors to the acceleration of the change. 

At the centre of all the change is the customer. The customer experience is the driver in all the decision making. How to communicate to them, how to deliver value, and how to over deliver on expectations. Technology has advanced how we can achieve this. 

With the rapid changes and advancement there has been a critical focus on the need for new skills. To create ideas, deliver on expectations, and execute strategies, employees and leaders require certain skills and attributes for companies to achieve their goal and for customers to receive their value. 

What we have realised is that not all employees and leaders have these critical skills. Companies need to either develop them through learning and development initiatives or recruit the new skills in with new employees. 

The challenge for you to be aware of right now is the speed in which employees need to develop these skills, being able to identify the right skills for your business, and being able to effectively train those skills within your business quickly and effectively.

With the development and recruitment of these skills your business performance will accelerate, your customers will be delighted, and your company will thrive. 

At the centre of all the change is the customer. The customer experience is the driver in all the decision making. 

what are viewed as the important skills today?

Digital Acumen

There is no denying it. Digital is part of our present and an essential to our future. Digital acumen is about understanding your customers and your business to the degree that you can implement and execute digital strategies to accelerate your competitiveness. You can transform processes and workflows by implementing a digital strategy over time. It does not have to be a one-time shock. This transformation can enhance your customers’ experience, your sales and redefine your marketing approach. Unless you are digitally proactive, you are running last in a competitive race.


High achievers know that for progress to happen, change needs to happen. They adapt and embrace this change with a gracious flexibility and ease. There are two fundamental aspects with agility: emotional agility and learning agility. Emotional agility is about how we can proactively regulate our emotions in multiple scenarios to manage relationships and business effectively. Learning agility is the eagerness and willingness to learn. Most importantly, implementing the learning to improve outcomes. Change is a constant in business. Having agility drives you forward ahead of your peers.

Action Orientation

Simply, act. Be careful not to underestimate this skill. Executing your plans and actively working towards your goal is fundamental to success. Time wasted on unproductive tasks lead to low performance, delayed deadlines and consequently, your goal not being achieved. Getting things done, and done well, is a skill that makes you stand out. Focus on excellence, not perfection in your activity and keep the focus on the deliverables.


Your creativity lends itself in times when you encounter a problem and need to be imaginative to find the solution. These are times when you can challenge the status quo. By being different, you stand out from the norm and give yourself the competitive advantage to become a leader in your market. ‘This is how we have always done it’ is the opposite to creativity. It limits ideas, change and progress. To be competitive you need to be courageous. Seek to fully understand your customer and end user and by doing so you will uncover ideas that will empower you.


Being analytical is essential in critical thinking. Making decisions is important in your role as an executive. To make the right decisions, you need to have an analytical mindset to be able to decipher minimal information. It is through the analysis of data that you can convert the information into actionable insights. Those insights into results. Understanding and interpreting facts into commercially beneficially decisions encourages creativity.

what are the potential challenges for you to be aware of?

The risk of complacency

New skills are in demand. There is no question. If you are complacent or slow in accepting these new skills you could be behind the competition in attracting, hiring, and retaining the talent that can learn these skills or the talent that already has these skills.

Focusing on skill over attitude

Attitude will always outweigh skill. If you focus only on skill and not the attitude of the potential talent you run the risk of employing an individual that impacts your culture and performance negatively. Skill should not be assessed on its own. When you balance skill with the right attitude you get a better result and a higher quality talent.  

Loosing good employees

When you focus solely on recruiting the new skills into your business you can disengage those existing employees that have been loyal to you. Skills can be taught. Invest in upskilling your employees as a priority and minimise recruitment for the hard to fill and highly specialised positions.

what opportunities can you benefit from?

Creating a diverse and high-performing team

Experience is always important in quality talent. That will never diminish. But to be regarded as the highest quality talent, these five skills will give your workforce a strong competitive advantage. By upskilling current employees on these skills, you will create a diverse and consistent high-performing workforce that undoubtedly broadens the competitive advantage across your business.

Advancements and innovation

The development of these skills gives you the opportunities to improve and innovate in how you work, what you produce, how you interact, and how you solve problems. Businesses need to constantly pivot, and these new skills will help you achieve this.

Career paths and succession planning

Investing in training helps you to create a career pathway for employees across functional departments, diversifying the talent within the business and creating opportunities to develop high-performing talent through clearly defined career paths and succession planning. This not only reduces your recruitment spend, it also increases the knowledge and expertise within your business creating a competitive and progressive workforce.

How can you better prepare for the new skill requirements?

Learning and development

As learning and development schemes are put into place to teach these new skills there is a greater and more defined focus on attributes and attitude. It is because of a person’s attitude and aptitude that help new ideas be implemented successfully, strong culture is created, and businesses transform easily. To help train the skill AND the attributes look at diverse and blended training programs that deliver results for professional skills and techniques as well as personal attributes and “soft” skills. By doing so you create a holistic learning and development platform that upskills and uplifts employees.

Attraction and recruitment strategies

Attitude and attributes have become a key selection criterion over and above years of experience because of the rate of change businesses are going through.

Recruitment practices are adapting to uncover more information about attitude and attributes giving employers greater confidence that they are making the right hiring decision. Attraction strategies are targeted, and recruitment practices are well thought out with formal and informal interviews to get to know both skill and attitude.

A priority in your strategic plan

Recruitment and talent management should be your number one priority in your strategic plan. Attracting, hiring, and recruiting the right talent for the right job will significantly improve your performance, accelerate your results, and drive your competitive ranking in your market. If you have it low on the agenda or not on the agenda at all, now is the time to put it at number one.  Changing this one priority will have a corresponding impact on your business for years to come.

The market you work in will always change. As technology advances and your customers expectations develop you need to be consciously pivoting and adapting. Investing in developing your current employees skills is imperative as is your ability to attract and hire new skills and perspectives from new talent. 

Hunton Executive can help you understand what skills are important for your business and how to attract and hire new skills into your business. 

For a comprehensive guide to attracting, recruiting, and retaining your talent contact Hunton Executive.


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