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The 2 ‘power skills’ needed for the new world of work

March 10, 2021   by Jason Contant

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Learning and development (L&D) leaders across Canada have cited resilience and digital fluency as the two most important “power skills” for the new world of work in 2021, one year after the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

“There are definitely two things — among too many to count — that 2020’s challenging circumstances helped us learn,” said LinkedIn Learning’s 5th annual Workplace Learning Report for 2021. “First, we need to build our resilience muscle to help us adapt to rapid-fire change. Second, we needed to learn new ways of working and collaborating in a virtual world.”

“The good news is that resilience and digital fluency are exactly what we’ll need to thrive in 2021.”

According to the recent Workplace Learning Report, resilience was ranked as the most important skill in Canada (and a handful of other countries), followed by digital fluency. “When we asked L&D pros globally to share which skills were most important to be successful in the new world of work, we gave them many options to choose from — from time management to communication across remote teams,” the report said. “The results that came back were loud and clear: Resilience landed the number one slot, and digital fluency came in second.”

The survey polled more than 5,000 professionals across 27 countries, including 3,080 people managers, 1,260 L&D pros and 814 learners. Donson

From an L&D perspective, resilience is defined by LinkedIn Learning as “a skill or mindset you can develop that will help you navigate the new working world.” It’s about a mindset that helps employees perform well at work regardless of what changes and challenges come their way, said Gemma Leigh Roberts, a chartered organizational psychologist, executive coach and performance psychologist in her LinkedIn Learning course Enhancing Resilience.

“It’s not just about learning to cope exceptionally well with challenges, but also learning how to thrive and reach your peak,” she said in a preview video of the course. For example, resilience includes capitalizing on what you’re naturally good at, and includes six key facets: Confidence, adaptability, positivity, perspective, mastery, and stamina.

Digital fluency means that a learner has the technological skills to effectively operate in an increasingly digital world, the report said. “It includes everything from understanding how to use the Microsoft Office suite to advanced artificial intelligence.”

A two-month-long pilot between Johnson & Johnson Foundation, the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and LinkedIn Learning “overwhelmingly affirmed that fundamental personal leadership and resilience skills traditionally not provided in pre-clinical academic learning are critical to [the] professional success” of early career/beside nurses. The pilot of 100 nurses last year helped them build resilience and advocate for personal protective equipment.

Despite the pilot running concurrent to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an 80% completion rate, and all the nurses surveyed said the program was worth their time, with some noting that a few courses provided them with “just-in-time” skills to advocate for PPE or other COVID-19-related training.

“I predict that the biggest challenge in 2021 will be well-being, particularly around mental health, stress, anxiety, and loneliness,” said Mike Bedford, people development and wellbeing lead with the Education and Skills Funding Agency in Leeds, U.K. “Leaders and people managers need to be equipped to coach and support people through the year ahead — and build in resilience — as it’s likely to be a bumpy ride.”


Feature image via Stavreva

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1 Comment » for The 2 ‘power skills’ needed for the new world of work
  1. Sonal says:

    The past year brought in a whirlwind of changes in the professional sphere. It’s absolutely true that resilience and digital fluency must be learned by professionals the world over, especially at this time where everyone is talking about the future of work being remote.

    When my organization – Skuad ( builds remote teams for organizations, we ensure everyone in the team is well equipped with the new ways of working and collaborating in a virtual world. And of course, having a dynamic mindset that is open to change.

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