Four top tips to improve adaptability in the workplace

Indoor rock climbing

The pace of change is accelerating and the demands on leaders and employees are intensifying. It’s critical that your organisation develops an adaptable workforce to thrive in this changing work environment. Every person, at every level of your organisation, must be able to adapt quickly and effectively. Fortunately, adaptability is not something we either have or don’t have: like other soft skills, adaptability can be developed.


adaptability was ranked in the LinkedIn Learning Top 5 soft skills needed most for 2020.


C-suite leaders found that adaptability was one of the top 5 skills they felt they needed to succeed in the future.

Here are four tips you can apply right now to improve adaptability in the workplace:

1. Hire people who demonstrate adaptability

It sounds obvious but during the recruitment process, are you looking for adaptability in candidates or do you just look for capability and experience? Think about the type of questions you could use to help measure adaptability. Examples could include;

  • Tell me about a time you had a setback, how did you respond?
  • Can you give me an example of when you mastered a new skill? How did you do it?
  • When was the last time you tried something new? How did it go? What did you learn?

2. Create a learning environment

We can only learn when we have opportunities to practice new skills. If an organisation’s focus is only on short term performance, individuals may not feel safe to try new things or develop new skills, especially when major career decisions are at stake. It is about managing the paradox of driving high performance and creating a safe environment where people can fail fast, learn and adapt. Organisations can nurture adaptability by building a culture that rewards it.

3. Role model it yourself

It’s worth reflecting personally and leading by example. Ask yourself, how adaptable are you? Are you encouraging it with your teams and your peers? How much are you currently doing this and how could you do it more?

Challenge yourself; What is the next thing you are going to do that makes you feel uncomfortable but you will learn from?

4. You can develop adaptability

It is one of the top five skills for 2020, but is adaptability on your curriculum? Are you giving people the tools to be adaptable and take charge of their own career? If not, what are the quick wins and where does more time and energy need to be focused on adaptability in the workplace?

If you’d like to explore this further, speak to us about our adaptability training products.

Organisations can nurture adaptability by building a culture that rewards it.

Want to know more?

Lane4 has produced a short paper to share our insights on adaptability and why it is the key skill your people need for the next decade. In the paper, you can:

  • Discover why adaptability is important, how to develop it and how it can be utilised to enhance performance.
  • Discover the critical skills leaders and employees need to succeed in the next decade.
  • Read our latest research on the future of work.
  • Learn how to develop adaptability to enable your people to thrive in this changing environment.