Learning & Development

5 ‘Super Skills’ Employers Must Instill in Their Workforce Before It’s Too Late

New research from the Institute for the Future has uncovered a knowledge gap highlighting five “super skills” that will forever change the future of work. The issue is that most employers aren’t aware of this gap—let alone understand how to foster these skills across teams.


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From enhancing digital fluency to embracing coworkers’ many cultures, tomorrow’s most valuable skills go above and beyond technical expertise. As the “super skills” gap grows, more companies will be competing for workers who possess these competencies. This is why it’s so important that employers learn how to develop them in their existing workforce—before it’s too late.
Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam, a digital workplace platform, has created a list of these five “super skills” and explains what WorkJam has done to instill these strengths in its workforce.

Super Skill #1: Connect the Dots to Make Change

Information sharing across the organization needs to be seamless. Whether it be across offices, departments, or teams, employers need to introduce systems that can help employees achieve full alignment with the company’s objectives. If the leadership team isn’t communicating its vision to its frontline employees, it will have teams that are moving in different directions. This is why companies can’t advance forward—you need to move in a single trajectory if you’re going to progress.

Super Skill #2: Grow Caring and Respect at the Core

Everything we do at WorkJam, we do as a team. For us to be successful, the team must win, not only the individual. When we have a big initiative, every employee must rally around it, whether it’s a product launch or a feature release. We build camaraderie during weekly happy hours, team bonding retreats, and even office ping-pong games.
But, one of my favorite tactics has been to have department heads deliver a 3-minute overview of what they’re focused on during the company holiday party. Think of it as a chain of department introductions from inception to product delivery to our customer centricity. These introductions give others in the company visibility into the day-to-day responsibilities of those across the organization.
By understanding what others are working on, it becomes more difficult to point fingers when there’s a problem, but it also makes it possible to be more compassionate and understanding of the challenges others face. This is how we build empathy among our employees. It’s one of many methods we use to grow caring and respect at the core.
This is also something we help our customers achieve. Our focus since day one has been to help our customers establish community across their organization. We do this by providing a digital workplace that unleashes the potential for their frontline workforce to advance the business.

Super Skill #3: Expertise in Workforce Management

There are really two types of resources we recruit for at WorkJam. The first type requires deep domain expertise in workforce management. Knowledge of our industry is more difficult to assess in an interview because you can’t simply hand someone an exam to see how much they know about our topic, our customers, or industry trends.
Rather, to test candidates on their domain expertise, we present them with a series of scenarios followed by behavioral interview questions. This allows us to gauge how much the candidate knows about our space. In addition to asking questions that are specific to situations the candidates would encounter in their work at WorkJam, we also review the candidates’ list of references to confirm they have solid industry experience.
Unlike the first type of resource I mentioned, the second one requires a very specific skill set. For example, software developers at WorkJam don’t necessarily need deep domain expertise, but they do require the right technical skills to advance our product forward in the marketplace. The interview process for a development role involves multiple rounds of interviews with other developers. Then, candidates will take an in-depth skills test to ensure they haven’t overstated their skills on their résumés.

Super Skill #4: Upgrade Your Digital Fluency

At WorkJam, we encourage employees to embrace technology. It’s the foundation for what we do as a software company. For instance, automation isn’t something that is a threat to our employees. It actually empowers our employees because it’s a tool we use in development for things like quality assurance. In years past, quality assurance was done manually, but today it’s much more automated. We train our teams to see how automating some of our QA processes can free them up to focus on higher value activities and projects.
While we’re constantly looking for technology solutions that can help boost internal productivity, I do worry there’s such a thing as too much tech. This typically comes in the form of too many communication channels. Many companies have up to six or more different messaging, training, and collaboration apps, which actually hinder what these solutions were intended to do.
That’s why we strive to limit the amount of communication tools we use. It’s also the foundation and intent of our product for nondesk workers. It’s about removing sludge (in this case, redundant applications), so that we can move faster as an organization. We train teams to see the value in being agile—and, how too many tools, disparate systems, and communication channels can slow us down.

Super Skill #5: Grow Your Multicultural Dexterity

A big mistake that many employers make is becoming too narrow in their hiring. Or, in other words, they hire all the same type of people. WorkJam’s strategy is to hire people with diverse backgrounds who can offer a unique perspective.
Just last week, I was in a meeting with a group of developers. In the room, we brought together representatives from France, India, Canada, and the United States who are all contributing to a project. Bringing this team of developers together helps our employees grow their multicultural dexterity and  architect a system that is global ready. They need to learn to embrace other perspectives, which helps them in their work at WorkJam.
If you don’t hire people with different backgrounds, your solutions will become too singularly focused. This is a problem, especially if you’re a global organization. You need a well-rounded workforce to deliver a well-rounded product that meets the needs of a diverse customer base.
The industries we serve, like retail, health care, or manufacturing are also very diverse. And, I’m not exclusively referring to age, gender, or ethnic diversity. We have customers in developing countries, for instance, whose workers have low literacy rates. Because of this, we’ve developed a solution that can support frontline workers despite whatever challenges their teams are up against.
These five skills can help employers build a “super workforce” that is ready for the future. But, to instill these super skills in a frontline workforce, companies will need to first help their team understand where the pain points are, so they can orient themselves towards addressing them.

Steven Kramer serves as Cofounder, CEO, and President of WorkJam, a leading digital workplace platform. Kramer brings more than two decades of executive leadership experience, including an extensive background in building disruptive technologies that are furthering advancements in the retail industry.In 1999, Kramer cofounded iCongo, a leading global software provider for omni-channel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent provider of e-commerce solutions with 27 offices worldwide, 1000+ employees, and more than 600 customers. Kramer was part of the Executive Management team and Board Member at hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013.
While innovating in omni-channel and the connected consumer, Kramer identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and how retailers actually hire, schedule and manage their hourly employees. With this in mind, Kramer co-founded WorkJam and is responsible for the strategic direction of the company.

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