The Future of Work: Reskill to Survive


The Future of Work: Reskill to Survive

A job used to be for life. 30 years of dedicated service, in the same career, doing the same thing. Every single day.

And that’s what we wanted.

Enough money to support a family and savings for retirement – only starting to really live our lives at the end.

That’s not what work is anymore.

It took a viral pandemic that brought the world to its knees to prove that the future of work isn’t rigid. It’s flexible, adaptable and always evolving with new technology.

And we, as people in work, have to be flexible and adaptable, too.

Skills needs have changed

A friend of mine runs a small department in a well-known national charity. We often talk about the challenges of modern management; running efficient teams and the challenges we can face as leaders.

We chat about everything; recruitment techniques, training, engaging and motivating staff – as well as dealing with “difficult” employees.

Through lockdown, we talked about the challenges of COVID-19, and how the future of work was set to change again. We talked about roles changing, skills shortages – and hopes and fears for the future of work.

One day, he asked me a seemingly simple question:

“What’s the one key thing you look for when hiring new employees?”

I was blindsided. It’s amazing how sometimes, the simplest questions can be the hardest to answer.

I heard myself give vague, waffley, nonsensical answers about the “multitude of skills needed in the modern workforce”.

I rattled on about the “importance of being flexible” and even had a take on how “cognitive diversity is a driving factor”.

Feeling my answers (and confidence) slip away, I grasped at how “motivation and enthusiasm” were the key factors I’d look for, to complement my team.

And my friend tried to hide his smile. To be fair – if someone had given me an answer as bad as that in a job interview, I wouldn’t have invited them back.

Safe to say, this wasn’t my finest hour. I thought about my rambling response for a long time afterwards.

And the question, too. But the question morphed in my mind, into something more pertinent:

“What’s the top skill someone would need to stay employable in the future?”

Many Skills Are Better Than One

As manager of the Innovation team at a rapidly growing tech company, the future of work is a topic I’m very familiar with.

Read more: Futureproof workplaces – the benefits of Cloud for remote working

But by changing the frame of the original question, I realised I already knew the answer.

Everything that I had (somewhat inelegantly) mentioned to my friend was important. But something was missing.

An article by Stephane Kasriel (CEO of Upwork) confirmed my thoughts. In it, he discusses the importance of reskilling:

“…ask yourself: Are my skills still in demand? What’s the outlook for these skills? And what skills could I work on today that would increase my income potential in the coming years?”

This was the missing piece. The one thing that connected all the factors I deemed important in my initial answer.

Put simply, reskilling is the ongoing process of developing your own skills. The pandemic basically forced people down this route – so at first, it didn’t seem as obvious – but then I realised, there’s actually a skill to reskilling. And it’s not something everyone possesses.

The answer to my friend’s original question hit me hard:

The key thing I look for in a new employee is their attitude.

Attitude is Everything

I could argue that everyone in work is constantly improving their skills. But, in order to be skilled at reskilling, a person must be able to recognise their own shortcomings, knowledge gaps and be aware of their working style.

You must have the right attitude for reskilling to work.

Your attitude and approach to reskilling are potentially the largest factors to determine your success.

We all need to be able to ask difficult questions about our skills. Especially in a post-COVID world.

  • Are my skills still in demand?
  • Will they be in demand in 5,10,20 years time?
  • What other skills should I be looking at to increase my value?

Attitude makes up for a lot of shortcomings on paper.

I would personally take an inexperienced individual with the right attitude over a more experienced counterpart, every single time.

Because, being driven and proactive enough to take responsibility for your own learning – and flexible enough to make changes where necessary – is critical in work. Actually, it’s critical in life.

It’s no good waiting for disruption to catch up with you before you realise you need to evolve.

No matter if you’re talking about contractors, full time employees, interns or CEOs – I would argue that knowing how to reskill and upskill yourself, and working to make sure you have the right attitude, is going to become the most powerful combination you can possess for surviving in the future.

And so, in answer to my friend:

The top thing needed to succeed in the future is the skill of reskilling – with the right attitude.

After all, an employee who is willing to invest time and training into themselves will continue to be a credit to their employer, now and in the future.h

Hire Atlassian contractors – experienced remote workers

ClearHub finds top Atlassian contractors, equipped for the future of work. Our global network is made up of skilled, adaptable and flexible DevOps professionals: the kind of people who never stop learning.

Want to know more? Get in touch with our friendly team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to

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How to set goals for contractors: think SMART

How to set goals for contractors: think SMART
How to set goals for contractors: think SMART

How to set goals for contractors: think SMART

We all want to be successful in what we do. But to be successful, we’ve first got to define what success is – otherwise, we’re just working aimlessly.

Think of it like this; you get in your car, and you start driving – with no destination in mind. Where are you going? Where will you end up? What’s the outcome going to be?

Sure – you might have a nice drive. Or you might get hopelessly lost. Most likely, you’ll probably just decide to go home, and be right back where you started, only with less fuel and less time in your day.

But, if you knew where you were going, you could plan your journey – and get a step-by-step roadmap to where you want to go. You’d find your way there, even though you’d never been there before.

Setting goals works exactly like that. Knowing what you want to achieve is the absolute bedrock of success, no matter what you’re doing. You need to know what your end goal is, and then create a roadmap to achieving it.

With your internal teams, goals are likely to be established and well-known. But with contractors, they’re coming in from the outside – and it’s all going to be new to them. Don’t just sit them in the car and tell them to drive: integrate, motivate and engage your contractors, by giving them a simple, clear, achievable path to success.

And the best way to set goals for contractors is to think SMART.

SMART goals

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Each goal is written around these five simple rules. By setting SMART goals, you and your team will know exactly what needs to be accomplished and when. You’ll know if you’re on track, or if you’ve hit setbacks. Best of all – you’ll all know when you’ve succeeded.


The more specific, the better. Otherwise, your goals will be too wooly and difficult to measure. You need smaller, more concrete objectives to aim for. A goal like “launch new versions faster” can be made specific by breaking it down into separate, mini goals – like  “improve development workflows”, or “reduce testing times”.

Yes, you now have more goals – but they’re smaller. This makes every step easier to make, and gives your contractor a more actionable timeline towards achieving the end goal.


A goal like “reduce testing times” might be specific, but to be measurable you need to quantify it. Let’s say you want to focus on reducing testing time to aid your end goal of faster version launches. By making the contractor’s goal to “reduce testing times by 20%”, they now have a solid benchmark to check themselves against.


Realistic goals need to be set – but you might not know how realistic your goal is until you start working towards it. Sticking with the specific goal of reduced testing times – let’s say 20% was a little optimistic, and even with after overhauling your company’s testing process, testing time has so far been reduced by 12%.

That’s okay – there’s still an improvement – but importantly, you can assess the goal at this stage and scale it back to something more achievable; say, 15%.

This can be a good motivator, too. It shows leadership is listening, is part of the process and trusts that the contractor is doing a good job. Adapting to the reality of the goals you’ve set is far more effective than grinding to achieve something unattainable.


What would achieving the goal mean to you? Why is the goal important, and what benefit will it bring to the company? This is your reason for doing it, the key motivator that you want your contractors to engage with.


Each goal and mini goal must have a deadline. This is when you stop, look at the results and assess whether the project was a success. Without deadlines, the work will never be finished – but make them realistic, and listen to your contractor when they give you their thoughts on timescales needed to achieve the goal.

What your SMART goal might look like

Using our example, our goal might look like this:

S – We want to cut software testing time

M – By 20%

A – Scaled back to 15% after review

R – This will lead to faster launches, and more happy customers

T – We want to achieve this by end of Q3

Or, in a paragraph:

Our goal is to cut our software testing time by 15%, by the end of September. The Contractor will accomplish this goal by [outline each step as mini goals]. Accomplishing this goal will lead to faster launches, happier customers and more sales this financial year.

Keeping tabs on progress

Set regular check-ins with your contractor – to make sure they’re happy with the work, on-track to hit the goal and to find out if they need anything to help them do their job.

Measuring along the way will help you keep the goals achievable, and you can scale up or scale back as appropriate. Importantly, it’ll be motivating for your internal team and your contractors to see how much progress is being made – and that they are being listened to along the way to reaching the goal.

Hire Atlassian contractors – reach your DevOps goals

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian contractors to meet your business goals. We understand what it takes to help businesses integrate contractors into their teams, and work together to achieve your desired outcomes. Want to know more? Get in touch with our friendly team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to