How adaptable are you? 

We’ve all heard of IQ and EQ, but have you heard of AQ? The Adaptability Quotient is the newest quotient on the business block and is quickly becoming one of the best ways to determining an employee’s value. 

What is the Adaptability Quotient? AQ has been defined as our ability to adapt and thrive within a fast-changing environment. With the constant introduction of new technology and therefore new ways of working, there is more demand than ever for employees to quickly adapt to new, ever-changing environments. As well as technological advancements, employees are changing jobs much more regularly than they were 20 years ago. On average, an individual spends 4.2 years at a job, which if they start work at 25, and retire at 65, they will have nearly 9 jobs over their career lifespan. 

Alongside people spending less time within individual jobs, the skills in which employees need to perform in the job effectively, are changing more than ever before. According to the World Economic Forum, 35% of the universal skills currently required to do a job, will have changed by 2020. That means in less than 1 years time, a large chunk of the skills that are deemed essential right now, will be undesirable. 

This is why having a high adaptability quotient is so important. Things are changing at an extremely fast pace and therefore the ability for employees to adapt and keep up with these changes is absolutely essential. Having employees with a high AQ, creates a business with a high AQ. Organisations need to be embracing new and more modern business models and coming up with forward-thinking ways of working. By encouraging their employees to be more adaptable, companies can therefore increase their own adaptability, which has the ability to completely transform their organisation. 

So how can we become more adaptable? 

By investing in their people, organisations can create a skilled workforce that is capable of helping them meet emerging business challenges. To create an AQ workforce, the focus should not just be on recruiting people with a high AQ, but by creating an environment where employees are  encouraged to gain the ability to be more adaptable through continuous learning. 

Stay ahead of the curve

To create an adaptable working environment, staying up to date with all the latest trends relevant to your organisation is key. Your organisation’s business model needs to be repeatedly reworked as the marketplace changes and your customers needs evolve. To put this into a bit of perspective and to highlight how important it is to have a high organisational AQ, here’s a little case study.  

Like Kodak, many other organisations have succumbed to not adapting to up and coming trends, for example: Blackberry, Blockbuster and Toys ‘R Us, to name a few.

Online Learning Platforms

Traditionally, learning and development in the workplace is based in a classroom setting. However, although there is still value in classroom based learning programmes, they’re not something that can be organised in a short period of time and keep up with how fast things are moving in the corporate world. Organisations need something that their employees can access instantly and gain knowledge from within minutes; a corporate ‘Google it’ type platform if you like. 

Online learning platforms are starting to become the most popular learning tools at work. It’s important not to think of them as an LMS, which have a notorious reputation of being clunky, slow and something we have to access in order to complete mandatory health and safety training. The idea of online learning platforms is that they contain ‘bite-sized’ learning content, that employees can access on-the-go, and gain knowledge as and when they need to. Having access to an online learning platform, instantly gives employees the opportunity to develop their AQ. 

Coaching and Mentoring 

If you couple an online learning platform with coaching and mentoring, you’re really onto a winner. By providing one to one support alongside an online learning platform, coaches and mentors can use the online content to support employee development. But how can coaches and mentors make employees more adaptable? 

  • Allow people to be responsible for their own personal development 

Instead of deciding on behalf of employees what areas they should improve on, let them decide for themselves. What skills do they think they need to improve on? 

  • Allow employees to make their own decisions, and therefore, their own mistakes 

By giving employees the freedom to make their own decisions, it therefore makes them fully responsible for their mistakes.

  • Teach people to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations

Make a habit of pushing your employees outside of their comfort zone. The more they do things that make them feel uncomfortable, the more adaptable they will become. 

In Summary: The business world is changing more rapidly than ever and therefore the ability to adapt to fast changing is becoming more and more essential in the workplace. Unlike IQ, AQ is something that can be developed and therefore increasing employee adaptability should be something that businesses invest in, sooner rather than later. 

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