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The Nature of Employee Success Has Changed

17 July, 2019
The Nature of Employee Success Has Changed

Over the course of the past couple generations, employment for the average person has changed dramatically.

Across almost all industries, the typical job is now more complex, collaborative, social, technological, and deadline-driven. Jobs are also becoming less dependent on geography and less dependent on strict schedules.

In addition to the nature of the typical job changing, the typical company has changed as well. Modern companies are more agile, customer-focused, strategically dynamic and structurally flexible. Today’s companies are also less hierarchical and less likely to provide lifelong employment.

For employees, all of this change puts a strong focus on a few core competencies: cognitive ability, communication and collaboration. In general, the nature of success for employees now largely depends on their abilities in these competencies.

Cognitive Ability

Today, workers need to know more than ever before to be successful, not just to perform their job duties, but also to cooperate effectively with other people on project and in teams. Many knowledge-dependent tasks call for solid analytical and judgment abilities to do work with inadequate context, few guidelines and minimal structure.

Although need for high cognitive abilities are particularly notable in professional, technical, and managerial careers, most jobs require some degree of independent and operational decision making.

In addition to being constant learners in their field of expertise, today's employees must keep their tech abilities up to date while navigating business strategy within the context of their job. Learning on-the-job and taking training classes is no longer just for a handful of professionals, it is crucial for all employees.

Modern workers also need the capability to see different angles and points of view to come up with new ways of thinking to overcome challenges or innovate. Employees also have to be capable of bringing together disparate ideas to make cognitive leaps forward.

With this in mind, many successful companies make an effort to be learning centers; to develop an environment where workers learn not just through formal training but through interactions with coworkers.

Communication and Collaboration Abilities

As collaboration and communication become more essential, modern employees need developed social abilities, what some refer to as "emotional labor."

Conflict resolution and negotiation abilities are extremely valuable in a collaborative environment. Even in a highly-functional environment, disputes can happen daily over team goals, work procedures, projects, amount of individual work and recognition. Staff members with good conflict resolution and negotiation abilities are better prepared to deal with issues, listen and understand various perspectives to address issues in helpful ways.

Sharing crucial details, sharing responsibility, an openness to information are foundations of reciprocity and trust. When employees trust one each other, they are more dedicated to shared goals, more prone to help each other and more willing to share ideas.

Successful professional relationships are built on collective problem solving, sharing of information, learning and working together.

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