The Definition of Adaptability in the Workplace

Technology has ramped up demands for adaptable employees.
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Adaptability is a sought-after job skill as employers increasingly rely on flexible job descriptions and rotate employees into different roles. Your ability to adapt to changing situations and expectations makes you more valuable to a current or prospective employer. It also makes you more equipped for a variety of career opportunities.


    Companies must constantly adapt to changing dynamics in society or an industry, so they need workers who can adapt to changing customer needs, technological capabilities, and job roles. If you can easily go from talking with customers on the phone to writing a report to coordinating an event, you have a tremendous advantage in an event planning company or career in which each project or task is unique.

Personality Traits

    Your ability to adapt is often tied to core personality traits. Some people naturally work well with change and can easily adjust on the fly. Others, through nurturing or developed preference, prefer predictable work that remains constant over time. Adaptable workers usually demonstrate an open mind, listen to alternative ideas and approaches to tasks, come up with creative or innovate ways to solve problems and can adjust behaviors and actions to meet current day or task demands.

Job Motivation

    Closely related to your ability to adapt at work are common job motivational tools employers often use. Job enlargement, job enrichment and job rotation are methods to improve employee motivation, increase work efficiency and help employees develop more skills. Adaptability helps you benefit from skill development and demonstration of greater skills. In job enrichment, you normally take on higher level tasks or supervisory responsibility. Job rotation literally moves you from one job to another or one project to another periodically. You not only show off your adaptability through success in job rotation, but you make yourself more valuable to current and future employers.


    Adaptable workers find more employment and promotion opportunities because many people lack these critical skills. Results of an employer study presented in December 2011 by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools revealed that fewer than 10 percent of employers felt colleges were adequately preparing students for career success. Employers indicated specifically that employees performed below expectations on adaptability and the closely related skill of critical thinking. The general struggles of workers in being adaptable leads to greater potential for those possessing this skill.

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