The workforce of the future needs a diverse set of skills to succeed globally and across industries. Do your employees have these much-needed qualities?
The rise of technology has made a profound impact on the employment landscape — widening skills gaps and heightening the need to prepare for future skill requirements. Come 2020, there will be greater demand for professionals who aren’t limited to their technical skills. They must also have the right soft skills to take on new roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
Bridging the ‘soft’ skills gap
To survive in the world of work, organizations need employees with both strong technical and soft skills. Because no matter what industry you’re in, hard skills can only take you so far. Even Apple CEO Steve Jobs insists that STEM skills alone are not enough. Perhaps they’re more tangible, easier to learn, and simpler to test. But did you know that soft skills are regarded as more relevant in the job market? Just take it from the 92 percent of a Deloitte study’s respondents who’ve rated soft skills as a critical priority.
So, in the advent of automation where machines have already taken over a number of jobs, there’s a desperate need for the expertise of those who are educated in human, cultural, and social as well as computational fields of studies. This is why HR leaders have to focus on building their employees’ skills in areas robots can’t do well in. But why?
Well, developing soft skills is critical for a number of reasons. It ensures individual and corporate competitiveness in today’s dynamically changing business environment, fosters employee retention, improves leadership, and helps build a meaningful culture.
Conversely, the lack of soft skills makes employees prone to conflict, suffer from low self-confidence, feel unheard and misunderstood, and become unhappy. That’s just how important they are for today’s workforce. But with the different soft skills there are, what are the most vital in order to stay competitive in the future?
What are the top 7 soft skills employees should have?
1. Communication skills
According to a lot of big organizations today such as Google, Chevron and IBM, communication skills are now recognized as the most-sought quality by job recruiters. Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report even ranks this innately human quality as one of the top five skills employees should have in the coming year.
To put it simply, there’s nothing greater than the ability to communicate effectively with others using the right word usage, tone of voice and body language in order to get your message across. And to get that extra edge, those with proficient language skills can cater to more global audiences, expanding the reach of business.
2. Diversity and cultural intelligence
Today’s workplace is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive. And it’s bringing great benefits for companies. Diverse and inclusive teams make better quality decisions, often faster and more precisely. To have individuals who are able to understand, respect and work with others whose culture, language, age, and background differ from theirs is vital. And this kind of culture is one that builds a wonderful workplace dynamic that also rapidly attracts skilled talent.
With a globally dispersed workforce and generational divide comes the need for increased social skills such as collaboration. The ability to work effectively in team environments ensures that everyone is contributing something of value to the table in a way that also promotes peace and healthy relationships in the workplace.
Ultimately, confidence is apparent in everything you do and say – your appearance, your behavior, even the work you submit and the simple ways in which you hold yourself. It is also knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and having the courage to speak up when needed. So, when employees have that healthy level of confidence, they’re sure to engage in challenging but manageable projects. This also allows them to achieve new goals and success.
Compared to machines that run on formulas and algorithms, humans have this robot-proof trait: creativity. It’s gone from being the tenth most important job skill in 2015 to the third most important job skill in 2020. And rightly so! In the age of digitalization, creative skills such as open-mindedness, critical thinking, and conceptualization are valuable to have.
6. Growth Mindset
Anyone in the workforce needs to actively grow and learn. Because five years from now, over one-third of technical skills considered important today will have changed. Unlike soft skills (which are long-term, valuable qualities), who knows how much more hard skills will become obsolete in ten years or so? This is why professionals should take the time to learn in order to improve and add to their skill sets. Certainly, those motivated to reach higher achievements by learning new skills that can’t be replicated by technology are much more likely to succeed.
7. Adaptability and Decision Making
In the face of today’s ever-changing world, employees should be open to change and be able to adapt to any situation they find themselves in. Whether it’s tackling a new project or providing the best solution to a problem. As we’re seeing more automation in marketing practices and the like, these automation tools will only ever be that: tools. So, it’s up to us humans to go beyond the capabilities of tech, making critical decisions, and brainstorming new and innovative solutions.
Get ahead of the game
As robots are on the rise, the very things that make us human are exactly what makes employees valuable. And while developing these soft skills may not be easy, it’s still completely possible! All it takes is designing the right learning strategy and selecting the best solutions provider.
Start empowering your workforce to drive global success in 2020 and beyond!