Importance of Workplace Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability can be defined as creating modifications or changes in oneself to adapt or suit the new environment. For a work environment culture, it connotes being opened to new ideas, innovations, or alterations. Someone with this skill can work independently or in groups, or perform tasks not designed only for a single individual.

Employers are buying into flexible job descriptions and rotation of roles, as against single positions. Adaptability is a sought-after competency as it shows the individual can adapt to new technology trends and ever-changing customer needs.

It is also connected to career progression as the employee becomes more equipped and versatile.

An adaptable employee is an individual that can implement multiple tasks, perform various assignments by establishing priorities, and making attitudinal changes to align with the new culture.

To perform or function in this cosmos in any circumstance demands that an individual possess this essential skill of adaptability. Thus, the relevance of adaptability becomes stronger when more opportunities abound.

What is Workplace Flexibility?  It is the ability to evaluate occurrences and adjust to the roles and tasks or the job being offered.  It is very crucial for both employer and the employees to be flexible as it establishes a streamlined technology and workforce adopted, due to innovations and changes in the market.  (We highlighted the Advantages and the Disadvantages in this article- What is Workplace Flexibility? (Advantages for Employer and Employees)Opens in a new tab.

We found ten factors when we examine the word ‘flexible’ at work and the benefits.

1. Open to new trends:

This attitude depicts that either the employer or the worker is ready to take chances and follow through. There is mental readiness to adapt to imminent change and are positioned to face new challenges.

2. Not rigid in thoughts:

Flexible individuals can be accessed easily as they always ready to receive and implement changes. They are not rigid in accepting the views. Possessing workplace flexibility skills permits for pushing through the unimaginable.

3. Adjusting to situations:

These individuals can quickly adapt to the circumstance they face. They know the best practices to adopt in aligning with new corporate culture, and they know what to do. They are reliable when assigned with new tasks or projects. Showing resistance to changes ends in futility and always leads to undue stress. Such workers are ready to implement tasks beyond their roles.

4. Effective problem solving:

Flexible individuals are competent in devising solutions to problems as they have encountered diverse situations that have compelled them to take action for implementing changes within their system. Not only this, they know where to turn to in case of any problem.

5. Negotiation skill:

Negotiation is made more comfortable when you have flexible individuals on your team. Their perspective on the negotiation aspect can be easily identified. They know what is required and what is needed to be factored in to make negotiation work out.

6. Work under pressure:

Sometimes, a company may need to downsize its payroll when it is not doing well. Flexible people are the change agents that rescue the company as they can manage pressure or workload. Their skills may not correctly fit in, but they willingly respond to take up additional responsibilities.

7. Ability to Listen

 A sign that an individual can hear other views is when he or she is open to changes. Listening is a crucial aspect of communication. Possessing a flexible attitude means the individual will be ready to listen to other views.

8. Able to communicate:

Changes are what facilitate flexibility; individuals having this skill get to learn the art of communication. They are versatile in this art that they become unbeatable. They have rich exposure as a result of their experience in diverse fields, which results in more wisdom culminating into communications.

9. Acknowledging others view:

This set of people are opened to the uniqueness of views and opinions. To bring about necessary change, they correctly understand the significance of recognizing the opinions of others. Acknowledgment is, therefore, the right attitude.

10. Allow expanding:

Success is inevitable for employees who are flexible to new developments. Their readiness to learn a new approach and adopt new trends beyond their skills and competencies introduce many developments to the business, as well as the success of the company. Employers see those individuals as valuable corporate assets.

(We have written a detailed article on the Attributes of Workplace FlexibilityOpens in a new tab..)

Importance of Adaptability in the workplace

One of the crucial skills employees watch out for in an individual is ‘adaptability.’ It is a vital emotional intelligence attribute. It ranked above other skills such as interpersonal skills, communication, work ethics, and principles.  (Check out this video on OSW – 20 Signs You’re Emotionally Mature)

1. Fit the culture:

 A recruiter is interested in knowing if the prospective employee would be a good fit into the corporate culture. Also, if the individual can prompt changes, respond, and implement changes daily. Every organization has its customized corporate and work culture that is strategically vital for its advancement.

Having initiated the hiring process, the employer looks beyond the skills, qualification, and experience. He goes further to check whether the individual would align or blend with the culture of the company.

What is a cultural fit?  An individual is culturally fit if he or she can adapt to corporate values.  Cultural fit shows how the corporate workstyles align with that of the employee. The prospective employee is questioned during the interview of their background experience and work culture.

2. Make or break deal:

Showing adaptability is an attribute that employers check, and they could terminate the contract if it is not present. Companies don’t want individuals who are deficient in adaptability skill. Most notably, when they cannot adopt their corporate values or work outside their comfort zone despite having excellent pedigree and skill sets.

Thus, a company would instead employ an individual who can fit into the company’s culture but with fewer skills than otherwise. This is because the company believes skills can be learned and acquired through training and retraining, but adaptability cannot be learned.  It is an innate potentiality, that is, inbuilt in the individual.

3. More productive:

Employing adaptable individuals who fit the company’s culture culminates into success as they are efficient and productive. Promotion benefits and employment is higher for flexible employees because a lot of individuals lack these skills.

4. Job Requirement

The adaptability nature is additionally required for management roles. Managers are regarded as leaders., they need to oversee the team and show them the means of adapting to the company’s culture. The expectation for cultural fit goes up as the seniority level also goes up.

The hiring process is stringent or stricter when it comes to selecting individuals for a higher level of management. Due diligence is required to avoid making the wrong choice.

5. Highly valued:

This set of individuals who align to work under pressure, cater to the requirement of job rotation, or take up roles beyond their skills are highly valued.  They also possess skills to take the lead during emergencies or crisis. They can deal with unexpected work situations, devise new methods to complete a task; they are considerate and open to other views. They can naturally adapt in a  new environment, positive naturally, confident at work, manage stress effectively, and are composed, as well as focused on the job in a stressful circumstance. Not only that, they are innovative when it comes to overcoming challenges, and they under workplace diversity and differences in culture.

Here are Five Ways to Show Adaptability at Work

1. Establish alternative solutions

Adaptable individuals can easily adjust when others turn down their first suggestions. Demonstrating this skill means you always come up with alternative solutions to views previously shared. For instance, amid a sales pitch, salespeople usually present many options to clients before closing the deal. Moreover, demonstrating acceptance when rejected presents you as a team player.

2. Make Easy transitions

The modern global economy has many, newly evolving and fast-paced establishments with recurring mergers, changes, and acquisitions. Being cooperative when transitioning to new roles means you are committed to your organization. Also, attending to new tasks during this phase widen your horizon. During this phase, the workload is always high. (We have written an article on How to Handle a Stressful Workplace ExperienceOpens in a new tab.)

3. Keep calm and confident

How do you respond when faced with unexpected challenges? Your reaction provides a lasting impression concerning your adaptability. Do you give up or give it what it takes? Leaders of organizations must be calm, yet confident, make quick and holistic decisions. This is how to set the pace for the upcoming leaders.

4. Acquire New Skills

Technological changes have redefined the way we acquire skills. With an exceptional click, we could access many coursewares on different topics. Maximize this opportunity and gain a new skill, even if it requires taking a part-time class. You can also participate in an internship to develop skills in organizational strategies. The more you do this, the more you widen your work experience.

5. Diversify your knowledge

Avoid limiting yourself to a specific line of expertise. In a transitional phase, you may be called upon to assume some roles outside of your job description briefly. Individuals with less adaptability skill will find this stressful. Make it a practice to take on various projects, especially during the peak period. Also, cross-train and acquire more information and knowledge from your colleagues.  (You can also read an article we have written  25 Ways I Can Improve My Flexibility at WorkOpens in a new tab.)

Here is a bit of advice for individuals seeking jobs. Always take time to evaluate the job description when seeking for a job. Pay rapt attention to the company rules and get to know if you will be a good fit.

If you are not satisfied, it is better not to provide false commitment. This will save you from compromising and jeopardizing your career progression. Search for companies that fit your values and work styles. This will surely enhance your credibility.

What is the Importance of Workplace Adaptability and Flexibility?  Adaptability is when an individual can adapt to changing roles and align with changes in the workplace — devising a solution when faced with unexpected challenges. It is also thinking out of the box. This skill is essential because it widens the horizon of an employee and opens to career achievement. 

How can an employee show adaptability in the workplace?  Adaptable individuals can devise new solutions when their first suggestion is rejected. They are cooperative when a company is in a transition phase.

What is a cultural fit?  It is aligning with company values and work styles. Companies can incorporate current cultural adaptability best practices to facilitate adaptability.

Steve Todd

Steve Todd, founder of Open Sourced Workplace and is a recognized thought leader in workplace strategy and the future of work. With a passion for work from anywhere, Steve has successfully implemented transformative strategies that enhance productivity and employee satisfaction. Through Open Sourced Workplace, he fosters collaboration among HR, facilities management, technology, and real estate professionals, providing valuable insights and resources. As a speaker and contributor to various publications, Steve remains dedicated to staying at the forefront of workplace innovation, helping organizations thrive in today's dynamic work environment.

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