Honing in on both hard and soft skills will be key in the new world of work.
By Zee Johnson
Global organisations are working to make the transition from the old world of work to the new normal as seamless as possible. This adjustment requires proactive and engaged leadership and employees who are receptive to the new skills they are needed.
Udemy’s 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report identifies the most common changes that occurred during 2020 and how businesses can effectively implement them.
For any organisation, strong productivity and mental health are crucial. According to The World Health Organization (WHO), mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. But from 2019 to 2020, mental health and wellness skills grew substantially, with anxiety management shooting up by 3,967%, resilience increasing by 1,296%, and stress management increasing by 1,015%.
After WHO officially recognised burnout as a workplace-related phenomenon that causes mental instability for many workers, companies have made great efforts to change this. Time management (990%), motivation (855%), and focus mastery (810%) have all seen tremendous growth over the past year.
“Learning and development extends far beyond vertical movement and technical skill development,” says Culture Amp Senior People Scientist Sahra Kaboli-Nejad. “This mindset is a fundamental shift to focusing on the whole employee, rather than simply the technical skills related to their outputs or deliverables.”
Mental health is not the only area where companies have sought improvement.
Great listening and healthy debate skills are also key to maintaining fruitful collaboration whilst working remotely. From 2019 to 2020, listening skills increased (1,650%), as well as business communication (1,585%) and business writing (1,371%).
Like communication, data literacy ranks high on the list of skill sets that help companies tackle goals. In fact, Jose Portilla, head of data science at Pieria Data Inc. and Udemy data science instructor, believes it is one of the best set of credentials workers can attain.
“Workforces with strong data skills across all departments in an organisation will benefit the most,” says Portilla. “Clear understanding of dashboards, visualizations, and analysis will soon become a default skill set required of any office worker,”
In 2020, business intelligence course consumption went up 1,411% as compared to 2019. The use of data-based business programs like Salesforce (664), SAP (428), and Excel formulas, functions, and pivot tables (417) also increased.
The trend of employees learning more about data alleviates data scientists from small tasks, allowing them more time to focus on complex projects.
“Recently, huge strides in machine learning and artificial intelligence have allowed for the creation of new data science tools that automate a variety of repetitive tasks,” Portilla says. “Data scientists have more time to focus on developing clear business solutions instead of cleaning data.”
Whilst workers have remained proactive in the shifting world of work by continuously learning new skills and strategies, cyber security has become a critically urgent issue. And now with employees still working outside of digitally protected office environments, but still having access to classified information, companies are placed at great risk for financial and intellectual property loss, as well as employee data infiltration.
“With remote work here to stay, IT leaders must examine the security gaps in every part of the organisation’s network,” says Nathan House, Udemy instructor and CEO of cybersecurity consultancy at Station X.
During lockdown however, consumption of courses related to digital security spiked. Ethical hacking courses were up by (418%), DevOps saw an increase of (397%), and Docker Certified Associate went up by (318%).
2020 showed the world of work many things, including that there is always room to reskill and upskill. Organisations that create a strong learning culture empower employees to upskill themselves, continuously sharpen their skills and successfully adapt to new changes.