Developing the Skills to Succeed in the Global Workforce
Globalization is rapidly changing the skills and knowledge required of workers everywhere. No longer is the workplace centered on a city, state, province, or even country. For many working adults, their profession or company is increasingly focused on doing business in other parts of the world, and they need help to identify and build new skills in order to succeed.
“Globalization has created a supply and demand not available even 10 years ago,” explains Dr. L. Ward Ulmer, associate dean of Walden University’s College of Management and Technology. “The driving factor is the advance of technology, as now people anywhere in the world can be your customers or your suppliers via the Internet.”
Globalization presents both a challenge and an opportunity for workers because organizations need professionals who can find opportunities that others might miss. In today’s fast-changing environment, online higher education is an especially effective way for working adults to enhance their skills to succeed in the global workplace. Here are five skills that can help an individual add value to his or her global organization.
- Communicate effectively in a global environment: Improving your communication skills to adapt to the global marketplace doesn’t have to mean learning a second or third language. It’s usually much easier than that, more like adapting your current skills to compete in the global marketplace. Whether you are communicating via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Skype, you need to find ways to “close the gap” with co-workers and customers in the global workplace.
- Develop cultural awareness: It’s also helpful, as a global professional, to think like your counterparts, recognizing that cultural awareness matters on both individual and group levels. This creates the need to be aware of cultural sensitivities with communications and what may not be appropriate. The diversity of the online classroom helps students develop communication skills to foster respect and understanding of one another.
- Learn to work in virtual teams: A skill that is increasingly valuable in today’s global, technology-driven business world is effectively interacting with others in an entirely virtual environment. Often co-workers and colleagues don’t even meet face to face during their working relationship. In the online classroom, students often work together in “virtual teams” on projects, which gives them collaboration and communication competencies that are highly valued in a global economy and networked world.
- Build a global network: Whether it’s through LinkedIn or attending international conferences, global networking opportunities and connections will prove beneficial not only in your current workplace, but also later on as you progress and move forward in your career. Students in online programs enhance their on-the-job expertise by exchanging best practices and sharing professional experiences. They also build their global network with their online colleagues, both students and faculty, from other cities, regions, and countries.
- Put into practice what you learn on the job now: Effective online courses are designed to give working professionals the skills and knowledge they can use immediately in their workplace. Not only are students earning a higher degree, they are also learning important new skills and building competencies that are crucial in a global technology-driven business climate—all of which can be immediately applied on the job.
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