What is the most important skill of companies?

by | 16.01.2023

An impulse for reflection: Which skills are important for employees and which for companies?

Lifelong learning, dealing with values, the search for new employees or the continuous adaptation of organisations – there are different aspects when it comes to skills that employees and companies should possess or use. I would like to take a closer look at the topic of skills. “What is the most important skill for employees in companies?” and “What is the most important skill of companies?” – I asked Madeleine Kern, Janine Tychsen and Joan Hinterauer these two questions.

What skills do employees and companies need, Madeleine Kern?

Madeleine Kern¹ supports IT companies in recruiting staff. The most important thing for her is to make the strengths of the company visible to potential candidates. She works out all the steps of the Candidate Journey with the entrepreneurs and employees and helps with the implementation in small and large steps. 

Madeleine, what is the most important skill for employees in companies?

On the one hand, I stand for shortening the lists of requirements in job advertisements. Especially qualities in the form of buzzwords like team player and resilient are a no-go there.

What I do see as an important skill, however, is the ability to learn – the ability to acquire the skills and knowledge in the fast-changing world to remain successful and satisfied in one’s job. For me, this includes, above all, bringing along a good portion of self-motivation in order to stay up to date with the latest technology and knowledge.

Interestingly, many companies offer a whole range of training opportunities that employees don’t take advantage of as much as they would like.

I couldn’t settle on a single skill and so the transition is perfect: keeping focus in a world full of distractions, concentrating on one job, that’s a real skill for me. (I’m working on building that skill myself).

Especially the distractions in the home office have shown many workers their deficits here. Social media is as big a distraction here as dirty laundry or windows.

And what is the most important capability of companies?

Companies need to create the opportunities for focused and concentrated work and also development. Providing a working environment, whether in the office or remotely, for efficient and undisturbed work is a very important capability for me.

The skill is called enabling!

In doing so, companies have to adapt to different individuals with different needs. Not only in terms of working hours and location. We are also talking about remuneration components offered on an individual level, holidays, equipment and, of course, leadership. Because some people need a lot of freedom to work successfully and others need close guidance and some even control. That’s okay. We are people, not a resource with a number. We are individuals.

Companies that understand how to empower individuals will always find employees and survive in the future.

What skills do employees and companies need, Janine Tychsen?

Janine Tychsen² is a systemic coach for Inner Work and Self Leadership for women, a communication strategist for individuals and companies and a book author. She coaches, consults and teaches in the context of personal and career development.

Janine, what is the most important skill for employees in companies?

The most important skill of a human being – and thus also of employees – is the non-negotiable loyalty to oneself and the conscious identification with one’s own values, strengths, talents, competences, one’s own core of being and one’s unvarnished self-worth. This requires the courageous will to permanently deal with oneself, one’s thoughts, feelings, fears, doubts, challenges and possibilities, to face them and to willingly bear all consequences.

Every person can decide at any moment whether he or she is in good hands in the system in which he or she lives and works and whether he or she can develop. Because everything in life – whether personal fulfilment or professional success – begins within us: With our thoughts, which lead to emotions and feelings, which in turn lead to a certain attitude, behaviour and actions, as well as a certain outcome. If we are aware of this cascade of identification, we can tackle and master almost all challenges in our professional and private lives. It is always how we deal with things – and that starts with the mercilessly honest Inner Work First.

And what is the most important skill of companies?

Things are changing in companies. Gone seem the days of defining employees “detached from above” as mere workers – because that is no longer how working people in companies see themselves today. They want to participate, shape, change, be seen and heard, with all their ideas and competences. Above all with their personality – otherwise they will quickly be gone again. They no longer want to throw themselves at the feet of the “corporate system” and be swallowed up by it. They also no longer want the notorious knight’s armour that women often put on in order to belong to the management levels that hover over everything.

People themselves and their soft skills are the new currency of corporate success. Thus, one of the most important skills for companies is to recognise the value of each employee, to look closely, to listen, to value and to communicate empathically, assertively, transparently. But THE company in itself cannot do it. It needs capable, open, non-ego-centred people at the top levels of management – specifically at the top of the company. This requires a very special form of leadership (which can still be learned): leadership with personality.

The leadership FORCE with an egocentric and authoritarian style of leadership has had its day. It needs people at the top who are aware of their own leadership PERSONALITY, who know their own strengths, values, fears and challenges and are willing to learn every day. Leaders who inspire, motivate, challenge and encourage others. Only leaders can recognise employees in their full radiance and working power.

In a nutshell, the most important skill for companies is to have a good hand in selecting their leaders and turning them into leaders. And this is where the circle closes.

What skills do employees and companies need, Joan Hinterauer?

Joan Hinterauer³ accompanies decision-makers in the development of a sustainable attitude for the digital age. He also advises companies with innovative thinking tools on the way to a self-controlling network organisation and the sensible use of agile concepts and methods.

Joan, what is the most important skill for employees in companies?

People are the foundation of organisations. An organisation comes into being the moment at least two people decide to collaborate. Collaboration in turn means that individuals decide to put their own interests behind those of a group, at least temporarily. This happens unconsciously all the time in our lives. We negotiate our interests with those of the group in different systems such as family, association or even company. If we look at this picture and fly high up in a helicopter, what do we observe?

I discover a network here. The dots are the people with whom the aforementioned negotiations take place every day. They are connected by an opaque spider’s web. Thousands of threads create a fascinating picture, a work of art. What we have before our eyes is our web of relationships. In the end, everything thus reduces to our relationships with other people. This results in the most important skill for employees in companies. They must be able to form healthy relationships under formal constraints. To constantly balance them by negotiating interests. And in doing so, delineate themselves and preserve the boundaries of others. If we reduce this to its essence, what remains is the ability to self-reflect and the resulting competence to lead oneself.

And what is the most important skill of companies?

It is best to first ask ourselves what purpose companies serve. There are heated discussions about this at the moment in the context of the climate crisis and the like. Above all, people are criticising the entrepreneurship that is practised, which is primarily about profits. Everything is subordinated to this and we even go so far as to destroy the basis of life of our species by causing lasting damage to the planet. Shareholder/owner interests dominate our businesses. So much for the status quo.

In my world, companies serve the common good. They do this by securing the material livelihoods of both shareholders/owners and all other stakeholders. Profits are distributed among all value-creating stakeholders. Paying taxes is a pleasure because they serve the development of society. Social and environmental sustainability are a matter of course. Externalised costs are borne by the polluter and not passed on to the general public. There are many requirements, which in turn are highly interdependent. We are thus talking about complexity. And this brings us to the most important capability of companies. They must be able to deal successfully with complexity in order to survive under these multiple demands. The market is the summary of all these stakeholders (customers, regulators, society, …).

Figuratively, an organisation that is embedded as an island in the sea of the market must deal with the impulses that emanate from its environment. It takes in these impulses as unfiltered as possible (no bureaucracy, no formal leadership, …) and transforms them into an organisational adaptation through the network of relationships within. So in the end, it’s about constantly adapting and thus securing the existence of the company and its stakeholders, supporting society with taxes and not harming the planet in the process. It’s simple, isn’t it? 😉



[1] For more information on Madeleine Kern, visit her website and LinkedIn. She has published a post about the Candidate Journey on the t2informatik blog.
[2] You can find more information about Janine Tychsen on her website and on LinkedIn. In the t2informatik blog he has published a post about Inner Work – The confrontation with oneself.
[3] You can find more information about Joan Hinterauer on his website and on LinkedIn. On the t2informatik blog he has published posts about Heroes, Leaders, Digital Humanists and Adaptive Organisations. See here for an overview.

If you like the post or want to discuss it, feel free to share it in your network. 

Michael Schenkel has published further articles in the t2informatik blog, including

t2informatik Blog: How do you and organisations learn?

How do you and organisations learn?

t2informatik Blog: Rating: Really wonderful!

Rating: Really wonderful!

t2informatik Blog: Quotes for people in businesses

Quotes for people in businesses

Michael Schenkel
Michael Schenkel

Head of Marketing, t2informatik GmbH

Michael Schenkel has a heart for marketing - so it is fitting that he is responsible for marketing at t2informatik. He likes to blog, likes a change of perspective and tries to offer useful information - e.g. here in the blog - at a time when there is a lot of talk about people's decreasing attention span. If you feel like it, arrange to meet him for a coffee and a piece of cake; he will certainly look forward to it!​