CEB’s 2013 Executive Guidance analyzed some 20,000 employees worldwide to pinpoint the challenges facing business teams today.
Here’s the biggest challenge: While employers report they will need to squeeze 20 percent more productivity from employees to meet their business goals, employees say they’re already maxed out. More than two-thirds say their jobs have become more complex; 80 percent say their workload has increased; and 55 percent say they can’t handle the current level of stress much longer.
Given that most employers don’t plan to hire in 2013, how can businesses possibly meet their goals?
The answer, CEB says, is in developing employees who have the right skills for today’s business environment. CEB identifies three key trends in the working world today:
- Frequent organizational change, including greater financial uncertainty and continued downsizing.
- More interdependent work, including cross-functional or cross-departmental work groups, team-based work and geographically dispersed teams.
- An increase in knowledge work, including new information technology, more non-routine work and greater information availability.
To thrive (and become more productive) despite these challenges, CEB says there are 10 key skills employees of 2013 will need:
- Ability to Prioritize
- Works well in teams
- Organizational Awareness
- Effective Problem Solving
- Ability to Influence
- Effective Decision Making
- Learning Agility
- Technical Savvy
What can you do to help your employees develop these skills?
- Change: To help them better anticipate, prioritize and respond to frequent change at all levels, build learning into every project. You must make learning as important as achieving the outcome of the project. At the end of a project, review what was learned. Set “stretch goals” for employees so they are continually expanding their skills.
- Collaboration: Encourage collaboration by creating employee networks, integrating work flow and procedures, and providing clear direction and the necessary technology for collaborative work. Invest more time in developing teams, both inside your business and with outside vendors and contractors. Identify employees who are natural collaborators and use them to help build internal and external networks.
- Knowledge work: Enable access to the right information that employees need, and help them develop decision making skills and abilities to use advanced information technology effectively in their jobs. Identify employees who are “natural skeptics” about information and enlist them to help others learn decision making skills.
While these actions may take time in the short run, in the long run, they’ll help you build a roster of employees who can make their own decisions, collaborate more effectively and handle more responsibility—ultimately easing the many burdens on you, the small business owner.
Employee Success Photo via Shutterstock