Four Skills You’ll Need to Succeed in the Future Workplace

It’s no secret that the state of the workplace landscape is transforming at a historically unprecedented speed. Smart machines, social media, increasing lifespans and global connectedness are all factors creating daily efficiencies as well as frustrations.

How the workplace operates is something we like to keep track of here at The Groves Center, since we are here to build the skills and competencies that employers need to grow and compete in the marketplace. We strive to forecast to employers the outlook of the workplace and workforce, by listening to employers and customizing classes and seminars based on workplace trends and what employers are telling us.

When it comes to designing classes, we take multiple factors into consideration to make sure we prepare employees and employers for success in today’s work environment and beyond.

In recognition of the changing work landscape, below are four skills the Groves Center suggests that employees will need to acquire and employers be prepared to support, as the future becomes the present.

Novel and Adaptive Thinking: With the automation of routine work, job opportunities are centralizing around high-skill, high-wage professional, technical, and management positions; and low-skill, low-wage positions like food service and personal care.

Both these categories require a sense of adaptive thinking, meaning the need to respond to occurrences on the fly. The ability to think and come up with solutions to unexpected circumstances will be at a premium in the evolving workplace landscape.

Computational Thinking: Computational thinking skills are a hot commodity as the amount of data at our disposal increases exponentially. Familiarity with the Microsoft Suite won’t be adequate, as applicants will need statistical analysis and quantitative reasoning skills.

Computers can do a lot for us, but the human element is crucial to how companies leverage the technology. The ability to understand the feeding of the data, along with understanding its limitations, and the ability to act in the absence of data are traits employees will be expected to possess.

New Media Literacy: Audiences today are demanding more sophisticated information presentation techniques. Content creation skills in tools beyond the traditional slide deck of a PowerPoint presentation are required to engage and persuade learners. Workers will need to be fluent in multiple forms of content creation including the likes of videos, blogs, podcasts and more.

With the abundance of user-friendly editing programs and tools, video language concepts like frame, depth of field, etc. will become common vernacular. Workers will need the skills to be comfortable to both create and present their own visual information.

Transdisciplinarity: This day and age, we face multifaceted problems which require transdiciplinarity solutions. This means the ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines. Ideal workers will bring a deep understanding of at least one field, but showcase ability to converse in a broader range of disciplines. A worker who shows curiosity and willingness to learn will thrive.

The shift has major implications for the skillset that knowledge workers will need to bring to organizations. The Groves Center works closely with employers to identify the multiple disciplines that are required for employees to be successful on the job. Visit our Training Catalog to see an overview of the disciplines and training programs we offer.


Success in the modern business world means adaptation. Take a look at the courses we are currently offering and be sure to check back often as it is a constantly changing list based on demands customized to meet workplace trends. If you don’t see what you need, give us a call at 269.353.1253. We will be happy to discuss your training needs.

To see additional workplace factor and workforce skill forecasts, review the University of Phoenix Research Institute’s Future Work Skills 2020 white paper in its entirety.

Trish Schroeder
Director of Corporate Training – The Groves Center
Kalamazoo Valley Community College

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