Adaptability Quotient (AQ) is the new, must-have metric of adaptability that hiring managers are looking for in 2021. The workforce is about adapting, and AQ is the measurement of a person’s individual potential and workplace performance. At a time when many employers are trying to recover from the difficulties of 2020, AQ provides a measurement that businesses can use to determine the company’s or employees’ ability to adapt to change in real-time.

What Does Adaptability Quotient Reveal About Individuals?

Employees may understand that AQ is all about adapting, but what does it really mean? It means that a person with a high AQ has:

  • An open mind allows them to view different situations from multiple perspectives to truly understand the possibilities available.
  • The ability to look at situations through the eyes of managers, other employees, or even customers.
  • The understanding that the unknown is possible and that while uncomfortable, they can adapt to a situation that may have numerous variables.

Employers want an employee that’s capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. A high AQ is indicative of an employee that is willing to advance their skill set and gain additional education to handle future demands. A forward-thinking mindset is one that employers are seeking and managers are willing to promote. Business needs are changing rapidly. Employees need to have a vast set of skills to continue helping businesses grow. If employees need to learn a new technology or work in a new office, they need to be adaptable. The needs of businesses change, and hiring an employee with a high AQ allows the business to continue to grow with a core set of employees at their disposal.

Increasing AQ in the Workforce

Similar to EQ, AQ is also something that can be improved. A few ways of improving a team’s AQ are:

  • Find the right resumes. Reviewing a resume has changed, and hiring managers should be looking for adaptable employees, able to evolve and embrace change. Employees who have experience volunteering or who speak another language are great candidates who have left their comfort zone to advance themselves.
  • Model a high AQ behavior. Managers need to lead by example and reward employees for modeling the same behavior. For example, a leader can encourage open-mindedness and willingness to learn in the workplace by being open to new ideas and adaptable.
  • Adaptability assessments. What does adaptability mean to your workforce? Hire employees that demonstrate, through past experience, their ability to adapt to new situations and change. When a person is adaptable, these challenges excite them rather than upset them. Asking employees how they handled past experiences can be a good way to judge their adaptability.

Small and large businesses should influence adaptability in the workplace. The leaders and executives need to be adaptable if they want their employees to follow their example. Business leaders can shape an entire business by being forward-thinking and rewarding employees for doing the same.

Why It’s Time to Put Emphasis on Adaptability Quotient

Automation is rapidly becoming part of the business world. The hard skills that many employees have put emphasis on for decades are starting to be replaced through automation. IBM conducted a study in 2019 that found 120 million people are in jeopardy of losing their jobs due to automation. These individuals need to adapt to new situations, but more importantly, they also need to determine what’s relevant in their field and what’s going obsolete.

Soft skills and adaptability are becoming just as important as many of the hard skills that have been the focal points of employees and employers for far too long. Managers play an important role in shaping employees to have a high AQ. Managers should focus on prioritizing exploration, allowing employees to seek out new skills while helping businesses grow.

AQ is not fixed. Employees can improve their AQ when they take charge, are proactive and innovative. Feedback from managers can help, and providing employees with challenges and opportunities to adapt can help. Oftentimes, a manager’s role is to help employees meet their potential and increase their confidence through positive feedback and opportunities to improve their AQ.