Are there new normal competencies?

Nowadays Covid-19 is one of the main topics, which occupies people’s minds all around the world. The appearance of the virus had an effect on everybody, it changed the way we live at home, do our jobs, and the way we keep in contact with others. It also had an effect on how we anticipate the future. Because of the scale of its influence, these changes appeared not just on the personal, but on the organizational level too. Companies and businesses had to adapt to new conditions and had to develop new processes to survive. After this, we could say the Phase I. period, for the organizations, who successfully took the first challenge, the next task will be defining strategies that can help them in the future and make it possible for them to recover and become successful again in the after-COVID environment. Whether it is good or bad, that environment will be the new normal for everybody.

Changes are infinite

Before the virus, there were certain trends regarding the world of work, which are accelerating now. The automatization and digitalization processes were already developed swiftly, but now, in recent months, we faced a situation where human contacts had to be minimalized. The McKinsey Global Institute in 2017 already estimated that, automation could affect from 400 million to 800 million jobs by the time we reach 2030. A new survey would possibly reveal even higher numbers now. In addition, to ensure their employees’ health and safety, a lot of companies tried to make it possible for them to work remotely from home. This was a necessary step to fight the spreading of the virus and it also brought us the era of home offices and daily video meetings. For proof, the usage of digital communication platforms soared this spring (Zoom: 300 million daily meeting participants, Microsoft Teams: 75 million daily active users). Companies realized that, there is a lot of tasks and projects which can be managed from home and where this kind of workstyle turns out to be successful, it could shape the future culture of the organization. Big companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are already implementing changes regarding their remote working policies and giving more opportunities for their employees to work from home. If in general businesses will follow this trend in the future, (which will lead to reduced personal meetings and social, face to face interactions) that will create a different kind of work experience than the one we know right now. With the new circumstances, doing most of the daily work-related functions online, the focus will shift away from the skills and competencies which were important so far.

The new normal competencies

As we experienced it in the previous months, things can change quickly. One day we proceed with one of our daily work tasks like we always did, and the next day we must do it with an entirely new method or tool. In the future, there will be a bigger need for flexibility and resiliency to face this kind of environment and to adapt more easily to the new normal. Also, we can come across new challenges and problems which will require different kind of solutions like before and possibly we even need to shine our out of the box thinking too. This means that curiosity, seeing through complex situations, and problem-solving skills will increase in value. While maybe the new work routines will contain more meetings, business negotiations and conversations on the online platforms through video calls, because of this, it will be more important to find ways to connect with our colleagues and it will be more challenging to build a good, stable relationship with clients. Human-centric competencies like communication skills, supporting and understanding others could help us and our team to perform better and preserve team spirit. Moreover, in this new environment it could be more difficult to get feedback about our work because of the nature of the channels we will mostly use to communicate. Our development will mainly depend on our actions: how much time we spend on reviewing our performance, how open-minded are we regarding new approaches, and how motivated are we to develop our skills. Self-development can be a key competency in the days ahead.

While COVID-19 made a lot of damage to the life of the organizations, it could be also an opportunity for them to become stronger in the future. In the new circumstances, which will create a new normal in the workplace, people will need to focus on their other skills and abilities than they did before. For the companies, besides acquiring new talents, it could be crucial to recognize and to build on potential which resides in their employees.

It could be difficult to measure the important competencies with online tools, but nowadays, with the right platforms, even the most reliable methods with the best predictive validity (like Assessment and Development Centers) can be organized and used. This shows that even in a crisis there are ways for development and advancement.

Gábor Magyar – Assessment Systems Hungary

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