McKinsey recently analyzed which skills and attributes (they refer to them as DELTAs) will be most helpful for continuing relevance in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, adaptability happens to be highly correlated with continued employment. In their words “Some work will, of course, be specialized. But in a labor market that is more automated, digital, and dynamic, all citizens will benefit from having a set of foundational skills that help them fulfill the following three criteria, no matter the sector in which they work or their occupation:

  • add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines
  • operate in a digital environment
  • continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations”

Here are the DELTAs:

56 skills and attributes required for future workplace success

As you can see from the header image, adaptability is hugely correlated with ongoing employment, and here are the key factors for high income and job satisfaction:


This makes sense to me, and my advice is to always start with your customers’ needs (current and desired) and work backwards to understand current state and overall gap at the company, functional, cross-functional (which is always the hardest part), team, and individual level. The “tickets to play” or minimum skills and needed attributes are something to prioritize and link to the metrics and goals that matter most, and then find easy, integrated ways for people to learn on the job (more on that in a later post).

Adaptive Talent is a talent consultancy designed to help organizations achieve amazing results and ongoing adaptability. Founded in 2008 and based in Vancouver, Canada we offer retained and executive search, assessments, total rewards consulting, training, leadership coaching and development programs, and culture & organizational development consulting.