Work Skills 2

Think back to just 10 years ago. Who would have predicted “Uber Driver”, “Manager of Social Media Engagement”, “Cyber Security Officer” or even “App Developer” would be career options, let alone predict the skills training necessary to be a good at any of those jobs?

How in the world can you predict the skills necessary to perform jobs that don’t even exist?

Easy, you pay attention to what’s going on today, and you dream about tomorrow. No kidding. It sounds odd, but consider this: I often read articles about the future of HR, and I think back to when I was a kid dreaming of flying cars and robot assistants. Back then, we dreamed those things but never really thought they could happen. Fast forward to today, and we are closer to flying cars than ever before.

As HR professionals, we are so busy handling day-to-day duties that we very seldom have time to see what the latest innovations in technology are (or will be), except for at the occasional HR Tech Conference. We have to do more than that. Some great companies, led by creative leaders, are trying to rethink the way we use old things but in new ways. They are automating our work lives right under our noses.

Think of all the things that have changed or been reinvented in YOUR lifetime. Do you recall the rotary phone? Can you remember making popcorn on the stove with a pot, kernels of corn, oil, and lid? Remember floor model televisions with huge wood casings? And what did we do before microwaves, dishwashers, coffee makers and, of course, smartphones and apps.

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The innovations do not stop there.

For instance, what year is your car? Yes, you. What model car do you drive and what year is it? I am asking because most of us have older cars, two to four years old (and even older), and the newer models have features included that ours don’t and that could only have come from a dreamer—someone who took time to contemplate our future needs and desires. Features like voice-activated controls and autonomous driving, not to be confused with “cruise control” I am talking about hands off the stirring wheel, feet off the pedals, current location programmed into the onscreen G.P.S., and the car automatically driving itself.

Companies must figure out what’s next, which means HR and the Executives must figure out what skills are needed to make tomorrow’s dream a reality. Ask any mechanic, and they will tell you that today’s cars have more technology than ever before, so auto-mechanics must have computer skills.

Earlier in this article, I listed some job titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago. The titles, however, aren’t as important as the skills. When trying to develop skills training and assessments for jobs that don’t exist, first you must dream of the products you want to create and the work needed to complete the tasks to get you there. For instance, if you know need a Chief Technology Officer who will take your company to the next level, then you need to predict the characteristics, traits, and skills that it will take to be a transformative CTO. If you want to create cutting-edge products, you need workers with the ability to see beyond the present. You need dreamers.

I consider myself a dreamer, so I’d like to share with you some skills that are vital for jobs that don’t yet exist:

Adaptability – We evolve because we adapt to change, and those who fail to evolve, fail!

Creativity – This is a classic skill. It is always good to be creative, especially in business.

STEAM – This stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. It is more of an educational skillset, but skills in STEAM will remain high priorities for the jobs that don’t yet exist.

Inquisitive – Also known as curious or nosey, we need workers who ask the tough questions like Why? How? What If? And Why Not?

Empathy – This is less of a skill and more a trait, but it can be developed. Employers will want more empathetic employees, especially as work teams become global collaborations, just as job seekers report that more meaningful work and companies who have social responsibility component are driving factors in determining who they will work for.

Intelligence and Reasoning – Let’s assume that these skills remain high on any employers’ list of top skills.

That’s our take on the skills needed for jobs that don’t exist. Please tell us in the comments what skills and training you think are important for jobs that don’t even exist today but will in 10 years.

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