Workplace skills are something that every employee simply needs to have, to one degree or another. They include both hard skills and soft skills, and can be developed through a mix of experience and L&D. Here are the five most important workplace skills for individual and team success.
What Are Workplace Skills?
Workplace skills are those that enable an employee to do their daily tasks. They are different from skills related to professional development, which are the focus of a longer-term career management initiative. Whereas workplace skills are needed in the here and now, long-term capabilities are built up over time and don’t necessarily relate to standard tasks. For example, a new employee who is developing negotiation abilities through a job shadowing program is not practicing workplace skills – at least not for the time being.
Different Types of Workplace Skills
Employees tend to function in an ecosystem. Not many people deal only with themselves or work on only one task all day long. Instead, workers interact with different stakeholders in different ways throughout their regular routine, and these factors make up workplace skills.
Every company has a way of doing business, otherwise known as an “organizational culture.” HR people like talking about organizational culture because strong ones result in excellent rates of productivity, engagement, and retention. In fact, many companies spend significant resources on defining and creating their culture.
But on a daily level, the expertise developed to serve a particular company is a bit more down to earth. These include:
- Following operational procedures
- Understanding hierarchies
- Familiarity with influential stakeholders
- Knowing about special product/service features and idiosyncrasies
Organization-specific skills are not always transferrable because each company has a unique group of processes and people. However, employees who are highly developed in this area know what to look for if they move to a new company.
Once upon a time, the most complex piece of equipment in many organizations was a typewriter or cash register. Nowadays, even low-level employees need to master a range of technologies in order to perform normal tasks and communicate with others. The average number of SaaS applications used by companies is 110! Although fewer than 50% of such apps actually get used, that’s still a lot of user experiences to go through.
In addition, gone are the days when we could think of executives simply as those giving the orders. Many companies are raising a new breed of leaders who deal almost exclusively with technology, illustrating that hard skills are still a part of everyday life for even senior managers. For example, Upwork has a professional technology management track as part of their leadership development program specifically for those who prefer bits and bytes to subordinates and supervisors.
Leadership / Followership
One area of mastery that executives use on a regular basis is leadership. However, as companies incorporate growth mindset strategies more into their HR plans, leadership is transforming into a concept that is relevant at every level of the hierarchy.
But this no longer means a “command presence,” and certainly not being pushy. The modern leader should have a flair for things like self-awareness, communication, change management, and strategic thinking. Obviously, very few leaders are born with these skills at a high level, and regular L&D as part of a continuous professional development program is a great way to round off these abilities.
On the other hand, no workplace functions without followership, which is a strength in itself. Actually, the best leaders in a company often show skills that overlap with followership, including empathy, taking the initiative, and the ability to listen.
From the morning meeting to crisis management, working in groups is something that most people do on a regular basis. Teamwork is important simply to understand what’s on for the day. But successful companies leverage teamwork abilities as a way to encourage collective genius.
Teamwork skills actually come in two categories. There are affiliative skills like communication, critical thinking, and professionalism that enable people to cooperate. Then there are personal proficiencies such as planning, time management, and creative thinking that allow individual members of the group to do their part of the work.
Closely related to the personal components of teamwork are the self-management skills that all of us rely on when wrapped up in our own tasks. Being organized and on time are two of the most well-known of them. However, simply taking care of yourself is another skill in this category. Being mindful, which is the ability to say “no” when you already have a lot on your plate, and being professional, which stops work issues from becoming personal, are also part of self-management.
A Productive Workplace Depends on GrowthSpace
Every company relies on the skills of its employees to survive. But if the goal is true success, then those skills need to be actively built. Yet many organizations struggle to deliver effective learning and development programs because the challenge of matching courses to the individual needs of each worker is so difficult.
That’s why GrowthSpace is custom-made to provide customized L&D. The automated platform makes it easy for HR to set training goals for each worker, deliver personalized learning, and assess the entire program across the company. To build the best skills for your workplace, rely on GrowthSpace.