The Covid19 pandemic changed our workplaces, work culture and the demand for jobs in a post-coronavirus world. Leaders are only as good as the skills they possess. But what skills should they focus on to succeed in that post-coronavirus world? In just five years, 35% of the skills deemed essential today will change.
World Economic Forum has been making this list for years, making it easy to compare. We see that creativity goes up in the list, whereas negotiation skills and flexibility begin to drop out of the list. WEF explains as following “Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans (yet).”
At ORMIT, developing the leaders of tomorrow is our core business. It’s what we have been doing for more than 20 years with more than 500 millennials. We’ve asked over 50 millennials working in 15 different companies which skills they have used most during and will need most after the corona crisis. This is their list:
Some people find it difficult to change their plans and expectations when things go a little different than foreseen. Their disappointment predominates, and they can’t come to a creative solution for their problem or find another meaningful activity to pass their time. Those people lack what we call 'cognitive flexibility'. It’s a common denominator for the ability to think differently, to change perspective, to adapt to a constantly changing environment.
Very close to this is ‘learning agility’, the ability to develop new and effective behavior in new circumstances. In that case, uncertainty isn’t seen as something scary but as an opportunity. Catherine Brems, head of Recruitment & Selection: "Flexibility & learning agility are part of our selection profile. We purposely create an environment that is out of the comfort zone of the candidate to observe their level of learning agility and flexibility. After each situation, we ask the candidate to reflect on what happened and we give feedback. This enables us to observe the cognitive flexibility of the candidate”
Another set of skills that is even more important in uncertain and virtual times are communication skills. With thousands of people locked behind their screens, it is key to connect with others and being able to express your emotions while being aware of other people’s emotions.
At ORMIT, we develop this skill through a blended training. The training consists of real-life cases with actors where ORMIT’ers learn to give constructive feedback & handle conflict situations with various stakeholders. They not only practice their communication skills, but also experience in person the effectiveness and influence of their communication on others and themselves.
Corona changed the way we work. Coworkers are working from home and team structures are changing and becoming more fluent. There is less emphasize on hierarchy and more on autonomy & pro-activity. Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage collaboration, will be in demand.
ORMIT'ers are digital natives and adapt quickly to the technical changes. Yet, they have to learn how to inspire and have an impact in a virtual environment. We believe storytelling is a powerful way to do this. We’ve digitized our storytelling training, to a 5 days program where trainees are asked to write and tell their personal story, behind a webcam in front of an audience.
Thomas De Wulf, CEO of ORMIT stated innovation & creativity as the most important skill in times of crisis. The financial crisis of 2008 accelerated the creation of new business models that where in the pipeline for a while. In a post-coronavirus world, we will need human creativity to invent and imagine new products and ways of working.
At ORMIT we stimulate creativity throughout all our training. Bert Bleyen, Head of Talent Development, explains: “By opening paradigms, showing our trainees multiple perspectives, stimulating their eagerness to learn, … we learn them to continuously stimulate their creativity”
Next to that we also host a yearly Innovation Challenge, a competition that serves as a chance for our team members to unleash their creativity. Each year, they team up to cook up an innovative business idea for our organisation and present their disruptive proposals to a jury:
As this years edition will not be happening due to COVID-19, we’ve launched a new initiative: the wisdom of the ORMIT crowd. Every 2 weeks, we define one issue – and ORMIT’ers get two weeks to come up with creative and easy-to-implement solutions.
Nobody (governments, medical sector, companies) was prepared for the Corona outbreak. Unknown & uncertainty will be the new normal. To succeed in a post-corona world you need coworkers who will initiate and act for your company. From proactively undertaking online data skills classes, to critically deciding which data to use, the opportunities to grow and make a difference will be countless.
We encourage our trainees to take up personal leadership, which we define as the ability to steer your own life and career based on your knowledge of your qualities and goals. An example of our ORMIT’ers showing pro-activity is Leander starting a new assignment during the confinement period.
Catherine: "I’m happy to see that there is a lot of overlap between the skills our ORMIT’ers mention and the ones of the World Economic Forum. At ORMIT, we constantly monitor and evaluate this profile – mapping the capabilities we believe are relevant for tomorrow’s leaders – and will thus be at the core of the ORMIT profile"