How strange will it be to wear formal work clothes again, network with piers and present to clients in person again?
A recent article asked the question on how all those individuals who entered the workplace in 2020, and who have worked from home for most of this time, really understand the skills required to compete again in a live and professional environment?
The article went on to note that many had become “lazy” in how they presented and communicated to clients from their homes. A much better or higher standard, it noted, will be expected once the pandemic is past. Clients have been forgiving in 2020, will become less forgiving even over Zoom in 2021 and will expect far better once a working pattern does resume.
It is not just dress code, and it will be strange to wear suits once again 5 days per week, but it is also about social skills, how to network effectively once again and very importantly, how to build relationships. It has been noted that senior players have managed to continue to work effectively as they have had a bank of strong relationships and goodwill already established over time which has allowed them to find a path through. However, for those who are seeking to build careers and relationships but do not, as yet, possess the necessary skills there is much to learn. Most senior executives are experienced and skilled in the art of conversation, of hosting events and lunches, in building relationships and building trust with their clients. There is now a whole generation emerging who do not possess those skills or at least were at the beginning of their journey but who have now been at home for so long and so will lack the necessary confidence. What is to be done?
We have written previously that each generation is becoming increasingly better educated and therefore more intelligent which is true. The potential of Gen Z is there for all to see. However, the skills that did mark out the Baby Boomers, and is a piece that is often missed or not discussed, is the fact that they excelled in life skills. They had a strong work ethic and a desire to “work hard, play hard”, which they did. They understood the utmost importance of networking and built strong relationships and lifelong friendships. So many talk of the need for a work-life balance but so many of the Baby Boomers did enjoy this balance as they did work very hard but also played hard. One will often hear them recount stories of the fun they enjoyed in their career, the risks they took, and the hours they worked. The Baby Boomers excelled as they had possessed strong life skills and it is these skills that are arguably missing in the emerging generations to the same level.
As we re-emerge there will be a whole piece in the development of talent that is focused less on modules, course work and work skills, where many of the Gen Z’z excel, but far more on developing essential life skills and how they interact with work and clients. It is a craft in itself, an essential craft which has the potential to have a tremendous impact on success and enjoyment of ones work and career. Historically, those who excel in these skills will often outperform those who don’t, and the future will hold true to this again.