The modern skills businesses must demand from employees

By Henry Brown

Once upon a time, hiring employees with specific skills was an excellent way to boost an organization’s chances of success. Today, things have changed dramatically, and your business must move with the times if it is going to maintain and enhance its market share. But, it’s not only about investing in the best technology and searching for profitable niches. You need to focus on your workers, too, and the abilities they possess. After all, employees put the company’s plans into action and turn them from theories into reality.

So, what are the skills workers, and therefore businesses, should have in today’s modern, global economy?

Cultural competence

Organizations are growing at rapid rates, even SMEs that take longer to establish themselves in the market. And that market can be global, even for small companies. That means your brand could soon be in a country thousands of miles away, and it’s easy to feel as if you’re a long way from home. However, workers with strong cultural competence will ensure the transition is smooth. Marketers, for instance, should understand what is offensive and what is fair game in foreign lands. Everybody needs to know how to be polite when a potentially powerful ally meets you in person or speaks to you via Skype. This is when people who have traveled before starting a career come into their own.

Big data analytics

Big data has been around for decades, but it’s only now that people are beginning to interpret it correctly. Information is a language, and your employees must speak it fluently if you’re going to spot and turn patterns and into actionable insights. Thankfully, modern colleges are in line with contemporary workplaces. Today, it’s not rare to find an individual with a masters in business intelligence who has a solid knowledge of SAS and SQL solutions. You should look out for these candidates during the hiring process as their specializations are integral to success.

The ability to lead

Again, leadership isn’t a new skill that has appeared out of nowhere in the past couple of years. But, in the same manner as big data analytics, companies are only now realizing the importance of leadership. And, not solely in management positions. Yes, managers must be competent leaders; however, the experience they gain comes from previous exposure. Putting workers in management-style scenarios, such as managing a project, is a fantastic opportunity for them to learn and for the business to develop a leader. Plus, you need motivated self-starters, and people with leadership qualities have this trait in abundance.

Connecting in person

Advancements in technology have mainly been positive. One area they have negatively impacted is an individual’s ability to speak face-to-face. Without Google to give them the answer, your employees might resemble fish out of water! Sadly, this means they won’t be able to interact effectively internally and externally, so they might do everything from making a bad impression to stockpiling valuable info that they don’t share with others. As a result, the interview process is more crucial than ever for employers.

Judging body language and applicants’ ability to work in a team will tell you how they’ll fare when they represent the brand.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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