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Top 3 Skills Your Employees Need to Succeed in the Modern Workplace

We have several different generations in the workforce right now. We all have different personalities, unique responses, and opinions about things, and we’re all very different from each other. Managing a baby boomer is going to be an extremely different task than managing someone from Gen Z or Gen X. We are living in a unique time with unique individuals so what are the most needed skills to not only survive but succeed in the modern workplace?


The workforce in general has always been made up of people with vastly different personalities, experiences, and backgrounds. It’s not an easy task for managers and executives to lead teams and encourage their employees in the unique ways each person needs it. We’re now facing a workforce with an extra factor: generational differences. In today's workforce, we have several different generations coexisting, each with their own unique personalities, responses, and opinions. Supervising a baby boomer is vastly different from managing someone from Gen Z or Gen X. We are living in a unique time with diverse individuals, making it crucial to identify the most needed skills for not only surviving but thriving in the modern workplace. A study conducted by Purdue University highlights the generational differences in the workforce, shedding light on the importance of equipping employees with specific skills to bridge these gaps and foster success. Business acumen is the key to developing the top three skills that enable employees to navigate generational differences and achieve excellence in the workplace.

How Business Acumen Can Help Your Business Relationships:

Situational understanding is just as important in business. And it’s more critical in business now than ever. We’ve all heard the statistic that buyers have 70% of their process complete before they even meet with you. They’re now doing their own research beforehand to figure out what they want and need, to make their time with you more efficient.

In some ways, this can be great! However, the sales process used to be a lot of education to the buyers, now it is much more about creating urgency. It’s not about educating or sharing your product anymore, it’s being a consultant. It’s about understanding their problem and being able to offer solutions that solve that problem. So how can we educate ourselves to be able to articulate situational understanding?

The Purdue Study:

The study conducted by Purdue University examined the generational differences in the workforce and their implications for management and collaboration. The research revealed fascinating insights into the distinct characteristics and preferences of different generations, including baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z. Understanding these differences is essential for creating an inclusive and productive work environment.

1. Adaptability and Flexibility:

One of the most crucial skills in bridging the differences in each other is adaptability. Each generation has its own unique set of values, work styles, and communication preferences. Employees who can adapt their approach to accommodate diverse perspectives and expectations are better positioned to build strong relationships and foster collaboration. Adaptability enables individuals to navigate the complexities of working with colleagues from different generations, embracing diverse ideas, and finding common ground.

2. Effective Communication:

Effective communication is paramount when bridging generational gaps in the workplace. Isn’t communication the key to marriage? Or the key to friendships? Communication is also key in the workforce. Each generation has its preferred communication methods, whether it's face-to-face conversations, email, instant messaging, or social media platforms. Employees who can communicate effectively can bridge gaps, build trust, and facilitate meaningful collaboration. Understanding the nuances of generational communication styles and adapting one's communication approach accordingly is key to fostering understanding and avoiding miscommunication.

Elevating your Workplace Performance:

3. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence:

Empathy and emotional intelligence play a vital role in not only navigating generational differences but being an effective leader in general. Everyone has their own set of life experiences, values, and expectations shaped by the social, economic, and technological context in which they grew up. Now once you throw in generational differences, we’re now working with even more factors. Managers and employees who can empathize with the perspectives and challenges of colleagues can build stronger relationships, enhance teamwork, and promote a culture of inclusivity. Harvard business school highlighted a study done on emotional intelligence. It states that “emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance. And hiring managers have noticed 71 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said they value EQ over IQ, reporting that employees with high emotional intelligence are more likely to stay calm under pressure, resolve conflict effectively, and respond to co-workers with empathy." Business acumen is a key way in being able to understand the best ways to navigate emotional intelligence and enhance EQ. When you understand business acumen, you’re able to make smarter business decisions based on the factors you’ve been given. Developing emotional intelligence allows individuals to recognize and manage their emotions and understand the emotions of others, fostering a harmonious and productive work environment.

How to Succeed in the Modern Workplace:

As we navigate a workforce composed of various personalities, multiple generations, and individuals with vastly different backgrounds, understanding business acumen can bridge generational differences. It is crucial for organizational success. Business acumen is the gateway to understanding the needs of the people around you. The Purdue University study sheds light on the unique characteristics and preferences of each generation, emphasizing the importance of equipping employees with specific skills to foster collaboration and productivity. Adaptability, effective communication, empathy, and emotional intelligence emerge as the top three skills necessary to bridge generational gaps and create an inclusive and thriving workplace. By developing these skills, organizations can empower their employees to navigate diverse perspectives, leverage the strengths of different generations, and drive success in the modern workplace.

Navigating Change in the Workforce:

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