By guest blogger Erica Orange
Erica is Vice President of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., a New York City-based futurist consultancy firm specializing in looking at long-term social, technological, economic and political trends.
The forces of social and technological change are demanding the development of an entirely new skill set that is unlike anything seen before. We are entering an era where individuals, recruiters, hiring managers and employers need to identify and/or master a newly emerging toolkit of professional skills that, in many cases, never existed before, especially as the old skills of many Americans no longer match job requirements in an information age economy. Find out the seven tools after the jump!
1. Mastering Social Media’s Utility
One of today’s most important skills is the ability to establish social capital and relevance by effectively commanding attention on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. A keen understanding of the principles of social media will not only be a critical skill, but can also function as an equalizer of various demographic or social groups. While employers have long screened social media profiles for information about potential hires, the ability to discern reality from perception on those profiles will be an increasingly valuable skill.
2. Learning Contemporary Etiquette
There is a growing emphasis on etiquette, focused largely on a new set of guidelines designed to govern people’s use of mobile technology. The ability to master these new principles of etiquette is becoming a critical social and workplace-related skill. A real key here will be the ability for professionals to not only use proper judgment during meetings, but also not disrupt coworkers in a shared workspace. We already see mounting evidence that a generation of younger employees who grew up on mobile technology are losing the ability to properly convey tone of message when using email – a medium they consider largely passé.
3. Employee Motivation: Screening for Newer Areas of Psychological Focus
- Means Efficacy: The most efficient, motivated employees now must not only feel confident in their own abilities, a phenomenon called “self-efficacy,” but also feel confident in the tools available to them to accomplish their task (i.e. software, office products, coworkers or systems).
- Epistemic Motivation: An employee’s degree of engagement is linked to their personality and the workplace environment – a trait called epistemic motivation (EM). People with high degrees of EM generate more ideas, show more originality, and become more engaged after receiving angry feedback than after receiving neutral feedback.
4. Grabbing Hold of an Entrepreneurial Spirit
Most of the emerging world will stay young while the developed world ages. The cultivation of entrepreneurship, in the future, will be vital. This is particularly true in developing nations that are already leveraging entrepreneurship as an engine for growth. Western policy makers will have to follow suit if they are to remain globally competitive.
5. Gender-Balanced Collaboration
According to a new study, groups do best when they include people who take turns talking and have high social sensitivity – which means they tend to include women. As more women comprise a greater percentage of white-collar professional positions going forward, these findings could affect how managers organize groups in order to maximize performance.
6. Emergence of New, Core Organizational Values
Companies are increasingly operating in two realms – the traditional brick-and-mortar and the virtual. In a world where the tangible and the intangible are becoming almost indistinguishable, camaraderie, flexibility, immersion, empowerment and engagement will be increasingly required and valued competencies in the future.
7. Re-examination of Old Career Paths
While much of today’s focus is on identifying new and/or lucrative careers brought about by technological change, the reexamination of old careers with renewed value could be fertile ground. Sometimes, more traditional careers (e.g., pharmacists) can experience a renaissance. Consideration of these careers will be important for younger employees entering the workforce and Boomers looking to pursue a new career in place of retirement.