The 7 top employee skills for your 2021 training
Interviews / Opinions

The 7 top employee skills for your 2021 training


How can employees and their skills keep up in a world and a workplace that never cease to change — and surprise us?

Technology has long changed the way we work, creating the need to cultivate people-focused employee skills through additional employee training.

And now, 2020 has brought another major change in the workplace culture.

Employers have found that work from home isn’t half bad, after all. On the contrary, remote work has had a positive effect on productivity and reduced recurring expenses both for employers and employees. Therefore, many companies are sticking to remote work or more flexible work weeks.

This new workplace reality changes once again the employee training and development landscape. Employee soft skills remain relevant, as always. But, understandably, the focus shifts to workforce skills that facilitate remote work and build resilience.

The employee skills your workforce will need in 2021

So, what type of employee training will you offer in 2021? In a nutshell, these are the 2021 employee skills you should be targeting:

  1. Communication and collaboration
  2. Adaptability
  3. Emotional intelligence
  4. Time management
  5. Curiosity and creativity
  6. Critical thinking
  7. Leadership

To see the whys, the whats, and the hows, keep reading to cultivate the following skills through training:

1. Communication and collaboration

Most applicants list “strong communication and collaboration employee skills” among their competencies. How true is that?

A recent TalentLMS survey revealed that communication and collaboration are the most important soft skills employees are lacking. Which is rather concerning, given that these two skills have traditionally been the cornerstones of the workplace. Teams that can’t communicate, can’t move forward.

Now, in 2021, that remote work has come into play, your team needs to further enhance these important employee skills to address the challenges that come from working apart.

The more diversity and talents within a team, the greater capabilities this team has. If they know how to glue everything together and work harmoniously, that is.

Communication and collaboration skills are multi-dimensional, though. It takes a lot of personal effort to build them. To work successfully as a team, employees need to know how to listen actively and communicate with assertiveness and empathy. By developing these skills, employees learn to respect each other and view their differences not as obstacles but as the blessings they truly are.

2. Adaptability

Adaptability has risen in popularity as one of the best employee skills over the last years. The recent developments have given new significance to adaptability. Employees had to adapt overnight to manage the transition to remote work and keep their cool in a time of deep uncertainty.

Adaptability also promotes flexible thinking and open-mindedness. With remote work lifting the barriers of location and the workplace moving towards a culture of diversity and inclusion, adaptability is a key trait to sustain this new culture.

Most of all, however, adaptability increases resilience. The way you feel about change, in the first place, determines how effective you can be in adverse conditions. Adaptive employees are less thrown off by change, so they’re able to cope with challenges with a heads-on approach and optimism.

3. Emotional intelligence

It’s hard to imagine a workplace where every employee’s quirks, anxieties, and personal issues are all over the place. It wouldn’t be a functional workplace, for sure.

Employees need emotional intelligence, among their top skills for 2021, to manage their own emotions and others’ better. Those who work in client-facing positions will see a tremendous improvement in the way they handle negotiations, complaints, and every aspect of the customer relationships.

Having increased self-awareness, employees with high emotional intelligence are also more receptive to feedback and confident about their abilities.

4. Time management

Another employee skill that has risen to prominence as a courtesy of 2020, time management is essential for remote and in-house teams alike.

Since one employee failing to deliver in time can create a domino effect of confusion, stress, and further delays, time management skills are not to be looked down upon as elementary or a no-brainer.

Time management skills have a massive impact on employee productivity and well-being. Employees who prioritize their tasks and manage their time well stay in control of their workload. This, in turn, helps them achieve better work-life balance and feel less stressed.

5. Curiosity and creativity

When we hear creativity, we instinctively think about art and design. But finding a new solution to an old problem is also a sign of creativity. So is figuring out a way to differentiate your business from the competition.

Creativity is the vision behind breakthrough technology and profitable business strategies. For your workplace to evolve, you need all the curious, creative minds you can get. You need employees with skills like these who are also not set in their ways but are always learning and striving for improvement.

6. Critical thinking

From department managers to front office employees, every employee should be able to assess a situation and take the best course of action in response. This is where critical thinking comes in, and why it’s one of the top employee skills.

Employees with sharp critical thinking skills are able to examine several angles and avoid pitfalls that impulsive decision-makers fall into.

Cultivating critical thinking skills sharpens the mind and equips employees with the ability to put reason first when faced with important decisions.

7. Leadership

Leaders stand out for their strong employee management skills and their ability to problem-solve and make swift decisions.

Emotional and cultural intelligence are also part of the leadership skill set. Even though not every employee is fit to become a leader, they will all benefit from developing basic leadership skills.

Why? All employees should be able to take initiative, communicate new ideas, and give feedback. They should also be able to rise to challenging situations and morally support their team. Leadership is the type of training that can boost confidence and encourage employees to come out of the shadows and have a stronger presence in the workplace.

Top employee skills for 2021: How to develop them

Skills training should be a high priority on your agenda this year. And to make sure your team is going to nail it, an LMS sounds like the best solution.

TalentLMS can help you design amazing online training courses that allow employees to learn at their own pace.

With features like ILT support, instant messaging, and gamification, you can be sure your employees will get all the guidance they need and stay motivated throughout their learning journey.

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