Are you a storyteller, networker or problem solver?

How do you continue to be an attractive employee in the future? By taking a critical look at your own skills. We can help you with this by providing an overview of 12 so-called future work skills. With a well-filled backpack full of skills, you will be the ideal candidate for the job you are looking for.

Future work skills are skills that a computer can’t take over from us. They play an increasingly important role in this digital society and determine our added value in our work. The World Economic Forum uses ten skills and Rabobank adds two more: ‘self-reflection’ and ‘storytelling’. (Read more about them in our story Knowledge or skills: how do you make an impression as an employee?)

Choose your three skills

Don’t worry: to get a strong position in your job, you don’t have to become a star in all skills. It’s smart to choose a few and develop them further. That’s what Annelie Lander, lead in the field of learning & development at Rabobank, says. “Choose the skills that you have a talent for, because you will grow to a higher level faster. You can also choose a skill that is important in your position, but which you are not yet very adept at. Don’t try to become a super human. After all, a football coach doesn’t turn a born striker into a defender. But it’s nice if he’s able to defend a bit.”

12 Future work skills

Future work skills play an increasingly important role in the digital society and determine our added value in our work. Prepare yourself for the future of your work with these 12 skills.


The mother of all skills is self-reflection. This is at the basis of all other skills. If you don't have self-reflection, you can't take a critical look at your other skills. Those who do self-reflection take the time to think about their strengths and weaknesses. You ask your colleagues for feedback and use it as a tool to further develop yourself. "The better you are at self-reflection, the more alert you are to your development."

Complex problem solving

The first step in this skill is to recognize the complexity of the problem. Then you start looking for the right information to clarify the problem for yourself. You think critically and come to possible solutions. And also from different perspectives, including those of your client. "People who have a talent for complex problem solving can apply this skill in an increasingly complex environment. With more time pressure, impact or conflicting interests."


If you score high on this skill, then you have the ability to move along with unexpected changes. You react positively to a change, because you recognise that it also brings opportunities. You therefore know how to flexibly adapt your own actions, approach or direction to the new situation. "It is important, in the context of work, that you also understand technological developments and that you receive them positively."

Service orientation

Anyone who is service-minded treats customers professionally and with integrity and respect. You take the responsibility to provide customers with top service and you know how to maintain good relationships with them. You think from their situation and try to understand their needs. In this way you come to effective solutions. If necessary, you adapt your services or optimize your processes to meet the wishes of the customer.


Do you let people grow in their talent? A good coach guides and supports others in improving their performance. "You do so without judging. You ask open questions and give honest feedback. You consciously give people those responsibilities in which they develop their talents". A coach also encourages people to improve team performance. Does anyone need other skills? Then you help to improve or sharpen those skills.


How do you convince others of your point? If you do that with interesting stories that clarify your message, then you have already mastered storytelling. The style of storytelling is decisive: always adapt the content and choice of words of your story to the audience. And tell your story in a clear, credible and honest way. "If you do this with enthusiasm, you can motivate and stimulate colleagues, teams or the organization."

Judgement & decision-making

For managers, this is one of the most important skills: making good and honest decisions. You do this by carefully considering the risks and benefits of an action. You think critically and analytically. You also include ethics and your own experiences in your decision making. "You do not shy away from difficult choices; a good leader makes decisions that may have major consequences for you, the team or the organisation."

Emotional intelligence

Can you train emotional intelligence? Yes, you can. With this skill it is important to be aware of someone's needs, preferences and emotions. And that you use that knowledge to inspire and involve someone. "Understanding types of personalities helps in this. Is someone introverted or extroverted? Is someone acting out of feeling or numbers? This helps you to help colleagues and clients in an appropriate way."


An expert in negotiation knows how to bring together different perspectives of people on a situation into one common decision. "The funny thing about this skill is that it has a negative connotation. That you're trying to regulate or manipulate something, good or bad. Not true! Because if you master this skill well, you understand the different needs and motivations of the participants in the negotiation. And put the good relationship first."


How do you help each other? That's the key question in this skill. You take responsibility for the goals of your team and the organization. When planning your work, you think not only of yourself, but also of the interests of others. You actively ask for contributions from colleagues and clearly show your appreciation. "If you excel in working together, you know when to put your personal needs aside to help others."


Creative people can come up with unusual and smart ideas that contribute to the organisation's mission. So this is not about your painting talent, but about your quality in turning a problem into a solution. A different mindset. "For example, if a customer of Rabobank is experiencing financial difficulties, we help him or her to come up with a solution he or she hadn't thought of yet."


A true networker easily makes conversation with a stranger. You listen carefully and show sincere interest in the other. You then develop these new contacts into business relationships that are honest, sincere and valuable for both parties. "In this way you create a kind of 'knowledge base', which contributes to your own development and that of the other. If you have a large network, you can link colleagues and customers to help them further."

Immediately start working with the future work skills?

Ask your colleagues to write down briefly what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Do the same with family or friends, they know you from a different perspective. Draw up action points based on this and train your skills during your work. After all, you learn best in practice.