Globalization, the pace of technological advancement, and changing labor markets are just a few factors impacting the future of work. Employees today must be able to cope with rapid-fire changes that impact the whole organization as well as how certain tasks are performed. As a result, employees will need to sharpen existing skills and adopt new ones to be effective in the modern workplace. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report, employers said that no less than 54 percent of all employees will require significant updates to skills by 2020. For the modern mobile employee, possessing key skills that reflect a flexible and agile mindset will ensure a successful assignment, no matter the location or length. Here are 4 must-have skills for the modern mobile employee:
When mobile employees arrive in a new work location, they must adapt to new ways of doing almost everything. They need to discover the best places to shop, new travel routes to the office, and they must adapt to different processes for getting things done at work. In one study, adaptability and flexibility were named among the top factors required for a successful expatriate assignment. As one survey respondent noted, “Each country and job has a different way of doing things,” making adaptability a necessary core competency for any mobile employee. To have a successful mobility assignment, employees must possess the adaptability and flexibility that allows them to manage a great deal of change, all while remaining productive outside of their comfort zone.
Cultural and Generational Competency
Whether moving across borders or traveling on an extended business trip, mobile employees need to possess sensitivity and a desire to understand how other cultures approach their work, communicate, and behave in teams. In addition, given that there are now five generations in today’s workforce for the first time in history, employees must also be able to work effectively with individuals from other generations. Without this critical skill, individuals can miss opportunities to overcome and leverage cultural and generational differences in the workplace.
AI, big data, and automation impact employees everywhere. Mobile employees need to not only have a digital mindset and be comfortable using digital tools in the workplace, but they also need to know how to leverage digital technology to improve communication and collaboration across geographies and offices. The successful mobile employee will be adept at using videoconference, chat, and collaboration platforms to drive more effective communication with coworkers. In addition, mobile employees can have a more fruitful relocation experience (and get up and running quicker in their new location) when they feel comfortable using mobility technology that helps them understand their mobility benefits, learn about their new work location, and manage their relocation expenses.
The ability to manage one’s own emotions and understand the emotional needs of others—emotional intelligence—is key to strong work performance no matter where in the world an employee is located. In fact, research has found that having high emotional intelligence may explain 58 percent of a person’s success at work. When employees can understand the emotions, motivations, and even fears, of others, they can adapt their communication style and behaviors accordingly. Mobile employees with high emotional intelligence will be better equipped to build strong working relationships with members of their new team.
While most would agree that the workplace is changing and employees must develop the skills necessary to be effective, there are skills that are particularly important for mobile employees. A successful mobile assignment requires more than technical skills. Today’s mobile employee must also possess the soft skills that enhance interpersonal interactions, and a mindset that embraces new ways of doing things in the workplace.