Nine skills YOU should cultivate to avoid redundancy

Revealed: The NINE skills you should cultivate to avoid redundancy – including brushing up on your tech, seeking out a senior mentor and being the ‘positive team member’

  • Innovation expert Greg Orme reveals nine skills to cultivate to avoid redundancy
  • He insists invaluable staff should have technology smarts and a sense of humour
  • Comes as 9million furloughed workers become concerned with job security

Competition for jobs is fiercer than ever, with more than nine million furloughed employees likely to be concerned about their work security after the government scheme ends in October.

With unemployment already hitting many, one innovation and creativity expert, based between Warwickshire and London, has revealed the nine skills you need to harness to make yourself invaluable at work.

Greg Orme, author of The Human Edge: How Curiosity And Creativity Are Your Superpowers In The Digital Economy – named book of the year at the Business Book Awards – revealed to FEMAIL the steps staff should take to avoid redundancy.

They include having a sense of humour and making the office a fun place to be, as well as having good networking skills and being skilled with technology.

He explained: ‘Right now it’s a good idea to ensure your boss views you as indispensable. This means more than being reliable, trustworthy and hard-working.

‘These are important qualities, but they won’t necessarily keep you in a job in 2020. Instead, there are nine phrases you want your boss to think when he or she thinks of you.’

Here, FEMAIL reveals the top tips given by the business writer…    

With unemployment already hitting many, one innovation and creativity expert, based between Warwickshire and London, has claimed boasting just nine skills could make you invaluable at work (stock photo of three employees during a meeting)


Greg said: ‘A good tactic is to master a new technology because software changes so quickly it’s easier to become a thought leader in an emerging area. The pandemic has accelerated tech trends already in play. 

‘For example, we’ll see an acceleration of AI automation. The humans that are left will need to become adept at partnering with machines. 

‘By 2025, it’s hard to see how a person is going to make a living without some connection to technology. It is embedded in every step of our lives.’


‘One of the biggest challenges in times of disruptive change is anxiety. Be the person that let’s some sunshine into the room,’ insisted the business expert. 

‘Individuals with a sense of humour experience less stress than people who are more serious, even when facing the same challenge. 

‘Make a person smile and their brain releases the neurotransmitter oxytocin – known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ – which facilitates social bonding and trust. 

‘You’ll also be seen as a leader. Research shows people view those who use their sense of humour at work as being more influential.’

Greg Orme (above) explained: ‘Right now it’s a good idea to ensure your boss views you as indispensable. This means more than being reliable, trustworthy and hard working’


‘This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build alliances,’ Greg explained. ‘In particular, it’s just organisational reality that knowing important people matters. 

‘Ensure you are known to the half dozen in your working world that makes the place ‘tick’, including your boss. Seek out a senior mentor to offer advice on your next career move. 

‘Don’t forget, especially in large departments, a manager won’t have the capacity to know everyone equally. It’s in your interest to be more than just a staff number. 

‘Faceless employees are easy to let go. When push comes to shove you need to be well connected.’


Greg said: ‘Psychologists have identified a powerful and universal human trait. It’s called reciprocity. This means if you do someone a favour they feel a powerful urge to return it. 

‘The biggest professional gift you can deliver to your boss is to fight for his or her agenda. To find out what this is, ask: ‘I realise times are tough right now…how can I help you succeed?’ 

‘Think about volunteering for projects that other employees don’t want to do. Flexibility is highly valued in turbulent times. 

‘In extreme cases this might mean being open to changing your job type or even taking a temporary pay cut. 

‘One caveat: This only works with decent human beings. If you have a toxic boss, as sadly some do, better to focus on the team goals as you see them.’


The creative guru said: ‘Emulate the secrets of social success in hunter-gatherer societies. 

‘In forty eight studies of tribes in different parts of the world anthropologists came up with a list of winning social qualities: generous, brave, wise, fair, impartial, reliable, tactful, strong and humble.

‘Scientists found those who fail on many of these qualities get kicked out of the group. 

‘A work team is a tribe by another name. Instead of survival of the fittest, think survival of the friendliest.’


‘If you are able to listen to what’s needed and take action without help you’ll be known as a self-starter,’ Greg said. ‘For bosses this is gold dust. 

‘To achieve this, productivity is vital. Tricky if you’re working remotely for the first time, where there’s no visual cues about what you should be doing.  

‘At home it’s even easier to get distracted by social media, news reports, household chores, partners, housemates or kids.

‘In our distracted digital age, the ability to focus – to pay conscious, absorbed attention – for extended periods of time is becoming more difficult to achieve. It’s far more valuable as a result. 

‘To be more focused, organise your day with a clear ‘to do’ list and structure. Tackle emails in specific time slots, rather than responding as each one comes in.

‘This avoids unproductive multi-tasking which is proven to be a myth – for both men and women. Take regular breaks and incorporate hydration, light exercise and rest into your schedule. 

‘If you feel better physically you’ll be sharper mentally. This will help you to be truly present when required. 

‘When nearly everyone has their nose in their device, be the worker who looks everyone in the eyes. No one looks more replaceable than the person who’s glued to their mobile phone.’


‘Cultivate one skill where you corner the market,’ explained the business guru.

‘If you want to be truly indispensable, you need to have knowledge or expertise your employer just can’t afford to lose.

‘And, don’t be shy in sharing your knowledge around. Offer to deliver seminars to help others. In this way you’re presenting personal value and helping to support wider learning and development.’

‘Every email or interaction is a chance to make a better impact,’ insisted Greg (stock photograph of a man calling his clients while at work)


‘Every email or interaction is a chance to make a better impact,’ insisted Greg. ‘COVID-19 has started the biggest remote working experiment in human history. 

‘Are you the person who’s late for the Zoom start time, with the camera angled up your nose? Or, the sort of person who doesn’t even turn on their camera and looks grumpy when they do? 

‘When it’s time to look at who stays or goes, it’s often how you made other people feel that’ll decide your fate. If you were your own personal PR agent, what advice would you give yourself to tell the right story about your contribution to the team?’


‘In times of change we desperately need new ideas,’ the innovation guru revealed. ‘Reframing the current situation – trying to see opportunities as well as threats – will mark you out. 

‘During meetings give yourself 10 seconds to think before contributing. As much as possible frame your thoughts as potential solutions.  Creative-thinking – the ability to generate valuable ideas – is one of the key superpowers to future-proof your career. 

‘To ignite your creative potential is initially a simple change of attitude. It’s built on practical and attainable habits: 1. Learn something new every day 2. Get very curious about what problems need to be solved 3. Ask yourself and others great questions about these problems to transform them into opportunities.’ 

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