8 Top Employee Skills for Your 2021 Training

5 min readDec 15, 2020
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

The workforce has changed dramatically this year, becoming mostly remote due to the ongoing pandemic.

According to a YouGov survey, working remotely has been a game-changer for productivity. The survey found that 54% of employees had a spike in productivity while working from home. The primary reasons for that boost include no daily commutes, fewer meetings, and no distractions from colleagues.

That’s why many companies plan to go the fully remote road, while others have started allowing more flexible work.

This shift in workplace culture calls for some changes in employee training as well. Here are the essential skills you should focus on in your 2021 employee training.

1. Adaptability

Adaptability is an essential trait these days that will be in high demand in 2021. Employees’ ability to adapt to new changes show they can stay resilient in crises and keep their cool in stressful situations.

It also shows they can be open-minded when facing new challenges and easily overcome any obstacle along the way.

Improving adaptability skills is all about changing the mindset of employees. It’s about teaching them how to embrace change and adjust their approach to performing certain tasks to suit new situations.

2. Innovation

Innovation skills are closely related to critical thinking. They come down to unleashing the creativity within to come up with new solutions to various problems.

Not everyone is born with strong creative skills, but that’s where employee training comes in. You can inspire your workforce to think outside the box and find new ways to connect the dots.

You can inspire them to be curious, to always strive for learning and improvement, and tackle problems creatively. That way, they will always bring remarkable ideas to the table.

3. Time Management

Good time management skills have always been important in the workplace, but they carry an even greater significance now that most of us are working from home.

A single employee with poor time management skills could negatively affect your entire business if, say, they miss an important deadline. If they delay completing a dependent task, they could delay an entire project because no one else would be able to work on schedule.

Training employees to manage time well and prioritize their tasks will help your whole organization. You’ll help them reduce stress, be more productive, and improve their work-life balance.

Every good employee training software has time tracking features, so you can leverage them to get an insight into how your workers manage their time.

4. Collaboration

Collaboration is one of the key soft skills in every workplace, primarily when some or all employees work remotely. Without good teamwork and communication, there can’t be optimal results. Your business would eventually pay the price because very few people would be on the same page.

Show your teammates how to work together at all times, and explain the importance and benefits of effective collaboration through real-world examples.

When creating learning tasks with your online training software, embed videos that show how to communicate with empathy and respect one another. Most importantly, teach them how to listen, coordinate well with others, and complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

Photo by Dylan Gillis

5. Critical Thinking

Does every employee know how to use logic and reasoning to analyze a situation? Do they know how to approach a problem from every possible angle and determine the best steps for resolving it?

Thinking critically means assessing the information at hand objectively to understand it better and offer a new perspective on things. It’s the key to making the right business decisions.

That’s why critical thinking is one of the crucial skills in the workplace.

6. Problem Solving

Many people think that critical thinking and problem solving are the same. While they can certainly overlap, problem-solving skills focus on specific circumstances.

Someone with good problem solving skills knows how to tackle problems that they’ve never dealt with before. They know how to solve them efficiently and effectively, no matter how complex they are.

These skills will be crucial in 2021, as the business landscape keeps changing rapidly and bringing unprecedented challenges.

The employee training software can be very useful for honing your employees’ problem solving skills, especially if you use gamification. It can help you provide them with a wide variety of complex problems to solve, ultimately improving their analytical and innovative skills as well.

7. Emotional Intelligence

Someone who is emotionally intelligent can control their emotions, eliminate stress, and communicate well with others. It’s clearly a trait that everyone should have, especially in the workplace.

So, when utilizing your online training software, include activities for building emotional intelligence. You may leverage technology and other solutions from corporate wellness companies to improve self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management in employees.

Employees who work with clients and customers directly will experience the most benefits from this training. Their ability to respond to any feedback (especially complaints) in a positive manner and empathize with customers will go a long way.

8. Leadership

Although not everyone in your organization can have a leadership position, each employee can benefit from leadership training.

That’s because leadership skills include a wide set of different skills. Some of them are critical thinking, strategic thinking, good communication and collaboration, negotiation, planning, innovation, and people management skills.

Including them in your employee training will strengthen your workforce and boost productivity. It will encourage everyone to step up in every situation, motivate their teammates, and encourage collaboration.

That’s really the only way for a team to continuously achieve excellent results and reach the ultimate company goals.


Your employees are the heart of your business who can help your organization stay relevant and resilient. Each of them is an equally crucial link in your company’s chain, and providing them with regular skills training will only make that chain stronger.

So, make all these soft skills a core part of your 2021 employee training, and you’ll create an unbreakable team where everyone is a force to be reckoned with.

The article was contributed to actitime.com by Kamy Anderson, an expert in learning management systems and eLearning authoring tools — currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.




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