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Six in-demand and important skills all teams and workplaces should develop in 2022

Skills will be the workplace currency in 2022, you heard it here… well, not first, but what we lack in breaking news we’ll make up for in brilliant reporting! The truth is, Udemy’s Workplace Learning Trends Report 2021 crowned upskilling as the queen of office currency about halfway through the year.

According to that study, 38% of the workforce was upskilled in 2020 compared to just work14% the previous year, and it’s a trend that’s only going in one direction. 62% crowned closing the skills gap at their biggest L&D goal, and LinkedIn’s number came in concerningly close (although we don’t think they copied each other’s homework!). LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report revealed that 59% are prioritising upskilling and reskilling this year, up 15% on June 2020 levels.

But not all skills are created equally, and their popularity certainly doesn’t last forever! So, knowing which traits and talent are en vogue right now can help you develop, keep ahead of the pack and ensure you’re relevant in the coming year. Here’s our list of the most in-demand skills for 2022, which anyone can pick up, improve and use in the coming year.

1. Change management

Things have changed, but it’s important to remember that they’re not done changing yet and, even though the pace might change, evolution is unlikely to ever stop! Hence why recruitment giants Hays listed change management as a top skill in a report earlier this year.

Whether it’s influencing change or reacting to it, it’s important that we’re responsive and flexible! Developing change management skills means being more systematic and effective in doing that by understanding how you can influence people, teams and organisations during periods of flux.

And 60% of global employees believe learning is the secret weapon that makes them more capable of change!

2. Mental health and wellness support skills 

Occasionally, you’ll find a workplace topic we’re yet to tackle is made worse by situations out of our control. In 2020, employee wellbeing and COVID-19 were that troubling pair. Pre pandemic, 1 in 6.8 people had experienced mental health problems in the workplace, and CIPD research showed it had only gotten worse across the course of 2020. In their Health and wellbeing at work 2021: survey report, 45% said their mental health had declined, and 40% stated their physical health had gotten worse.

Hence the rising interest in skills like anxiety management, resilience and stress management. Udemy report four-digit increases in use of their courses in these areas, and it’s a trend that’s likely to continue in 2022.

Udemy employee wellbeing insights
Source: Udemy

3. Digital fluency

Named in the top two most important skills across every country in LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, most readers’ first instinct would probably have been to Google exactly what this means. The best definition comes from Karen Spencer, who tackles its two words individually.

“Fluency derives from the word ‘flow’ and when we think about being ‘fluent’ in any context, it refers to being flexible, accurate, efficient, and appropriate. In other words, the way we use skills, language, and speech flows naturally and easily. In a digital context for learning, fluency involves using technologies ‘readily and strategically to learn, to work, and to play, and the infusion of technology in teaching and learning to improve outcomes…’” 

In the workplace, this means the ability to identify the right technology and use it effectively to achieve goals, transform how we work, innovate and collaborate. Accenture report that only 14% of organisations are digitally mature, and “in many cases, it’s not the technology itself that is holding back an individual, but the lack of digital infrastructure, culture, leadership and skills,  which are required to thrive alongside technologies.”

Their Improve Digital Fluency to Improve Business Results report states that digitally fluent companies are 2.7 times more likely to have experienced high revenue growth (over 20%) over the past three years and 5.4 times more likely to still be projecting high revenue growth over the next three years. Accenture offer the below framework for becoming digitally fluent.

Accenture's digital fluency skills framework

4. Collaboration and communication

Now, this has probably been on every list since the dawn of time, but we’re arguably entering the most important era of collaboration for as long as we can remember! With people spending an average of 65.2% of time working from home and 34.8% in an office, the way we communicate and collaborate has to sync up with hybrid ways of working!

From how we ask questions and work together on a daily basis to how we share and store knowledge without five face-to-face days each week, 2022 is the year to cement new ways of working rather than crumbling back to the old ways. 

And it seems that most Udemy users agree! Courses on building listening skills reported a 1,650% increase in interest, and business communication wasn’t far behind! Further down their list, conflict management rose 890%, and interpersonal feedback jumped 686% – highlighting the desire to build open cultures where people communicate freely.

Briefly heading back to our LinkedIn report, their findings revealed the importance of learning together in this digital age and collaborating together using technology.

“Learning together increases engagement. Learners who use social features — Q&A, course shares, and learning groups — watch 30x more hours of learning content than learners who don’t.”

If you’re planning to build a shared knowledge base and create a culture of social learning in 2022, speak to one of our team today and we’ll show you how!

5. Customer experience management

Now, we did say these would be skills that everyone can develop and apply, so it’s worth highlighting that customer experience doesn’t start and finish with the customer-facing reps. Whether we’re managing projects or building products, we all have a part to play in thinking like customers and shaping great experiences.

Harvey Nash spotted this trend too in their brilliantly-named Tech Salary & Hot Skills Report 2021. They name customer experience as the second-highest tech investment priority for companies and describe it as “the super power that makes any job role more valuable and more important. Whether that’s through understanding the customer through data/insights or developing new products or user experiences.”

6. Critical and analytical thinking

Mindset was definitely on the agenda for the 1,000 respondents in Resource Solutions’ UK Skills Report. Critical thinking and its analytical counterpart were named third and fourth in the top five skills employees want (behind our old friends technology use and management). 

And you can’t blame them, we all want to make better and more informed decisions at work! Indeed put together the below five-step process for improving your critical thinking skills while improving your data prowess is the perfect place to start when it comes to developing an analytical mindset.

Indeed's Critical Thinking Framework

How about the L&D world in 2022? We’re glad you asked! We’ve put together our list of top learning and development trends that’ll be influential in this year and beyond.

Check out our other upskilling resources