The marketplace is a fickle thing these days. One minute the economy demands one thing, the next minute, it’s another. The current hot trend in building a better business is diversity and range in employee skill sets. It’s not that diversity of skills was ever out of fashion, but now, more than ever, people can build onto their current base knowledge with professional development opportunities, online learning, and tele-courses that give them (and their companies) an edge over the competition. Anyone who is not building their skill set to be diverse may fall behind.

Program Enrollment

Many companies offer the flexibility and opportunity to earn a degree or certification in skills that will help build the company. This ranges from short-term courses to full-fledged degrees. Tuition assistance programs reimburse students after they pay for classes out of pocket. Someone who has a bachelor’s degree might consider getting a second degree or a master’s degree. Helping the company or organization meet its mission and goals with diverse skills can help build the portfolio for future clients.

Many companies find value in employees who have a diverse skill set. Employers are often willing and eager to help workers who lack specific skills or who may have fallen behind the skills expectations for the workplace. The American Society for Training & Development published a State of the Industry Report in 2011 that showed more than 400 organizations in various major industries support learning and development. You can perform individual actions as an employee to aide your organization in carrying out its mission and meeting goals.

Relevant Communication Skills

Although companies use email and instant messenger, there is a whole world out there online. Social media is a complex array of things from chat programs to social networking that must be considered. Improving writing skills by taking a course or tutorial is key for businesses that  want to diversity their workforce. Improved writing skills, communication, and learning social media can help clients see a business as modern and focused on attracting a diverse client base.

Diversity of Language

The marketplace is global, whether companies like it or not. An investment in people and classes that support multicultural, bilingual workers and business plans helps them compete in the global economy. Large, multinational corporations will hire people who speak English and another language, but small businesses tend to struggle with how much this benefits their bottom line. Truth is, it is a global market for all businesses, so building a diverse portfolio of employees who offer a range of skills like second languages can boost their profile to clients.

Professional Associations

When employees want to build their portfolio in the marketplace, they should look to join a professional association in their career field. These organizations exist on a larger scale to help people who want to advance their knowledge, skills, and social network to engage with other professionals. There may be other advancement opportunities available, as well. It is a matter of finding what will work for certain employees and help the broaden their social space so they can expand to include new people into their work life.

Conflict Resolution

Companies place a great emphasis on team members who can mitigate conflict, work well with others, and address issues in a timely manner. It is hard to work with either overly aggressive people or passive aggressive people who don’t assert themselves in the workplace. With client-based work, it can be detrimental to meeting goals for the company. Some ‘soft skills’ like nonviolent communication, artfully finding the right words in conflict situations can be critical in the workplace and lead to a better flow between departments and in the company at large.

One of the last, greatest skills anybody can bring to a company is the willingness to learn. They must be willing to take some of what they know and turn it into action. With the right attitude, they can focus on building rapport with others in the company by being willing to show up and be present for what is happening around them. Not only is it about presence, but about active listening, promoting others who do well, and participating in the culture of the organization with enthusiasm. Employees who are enthusiastic to be at work will bring a lot of energy to people they work with, including clients. Diversity of skillsets simply means being able to have an array of skills, and a willingness to gain new ones, if they want to continue growing and learning for the sake of the company.

Read more relevant blog post: Building a Diverse Workforce Strengthens Business Culture
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