As companies shift to compete in a digital world, organisations recognise that change is the new normal in business. Technology innovation, like artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics, are changing the fundamental nature of work. In 2019, Forrester predicts that automation will become the tip of the digital transformation spear, impacting everything from infrastructure to customers to business models.
With new applications and solution, the skills to work with any given technology or carry out a task will quickly become obsolete. Hence, in this “new normal,” the world of work is changing with profound implications, and to have the skills to thrive in ongoing change is becoming a prerequisite for success. Across industries, the changing nature of work and increasing complexity of talent management has focused the attention of Boards and executives. This new normal presents both new opportunities and unique challenges, prompting the need for workers and organisations to adapt. In today’s environment, with the technology driving new needs in new domains, the demand for more varied skills grows. So, what skills can help businesses be better and faster so that people and technology can work together seamlessly?
Soft Skills and Automation
According to Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking site, written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills are among the most demanded ones. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report also concludes that “human” skills like originality, initiative and critical thinking are likely to increase in value as technology and automation advances.
Effectively understanding and addressing customers’ dynamic needs and creating more personalised products and services, will require a workforce capable of developing innovative strategies. The skills required to understand the context, propose alternative solutions and creatively apply new technology to deliver better results remains. Further, these capabilities will likely become more critical as companies across the economy face market shift and the demand of new offerings
Skills desires are changing quickly, and concerns in organisation about growing skills gaps and workforce obsolescence are reported on the news daily. Focusing on development underlying essential human capabilities, can give business leaders a sustainable way of finding the talent they lack today in a time of constant innovation. The kind of human capabilities we are analysing in this article, not only will likely escape automation, but also support an individual’s ability to gain other skills:
For many recruiters, communication ability reigns as the foundation of every other soft skill. Communication skills are fundamental to one’s capability to execute and deliver the day-to-day requirements of leadership and having oversight a team. Effective communication requires constructing a compelling story using both soft data and fact, technology and business interweave to procure the emotions of others to take action on a topic or an initiative. Communication occurs about a particular content and within a context. Deep and broad knowledge of a subject within its dynamics combined the ability to move new knowledge is very hard for machine learning to mimic as it operates on data sets that by definition were created previously, in a different context. Humans can easily take background into account when making decisions or having interactions with others. The ability to communicate compellingly will always be in high demand and hard to automate.
Emotion plays an essential role in human communication. It is critically involved in virtually all forms of nonverbal communication and empathy. But more than that, it also plays a role in helping us to prioritise what we do. Emotion also interacts with many of our decision processes. The functioning of emotion has proven challenging to build into an automated system, even with AI products such as Amazon’s Alexa. The defining characteristic of executive decisions at the most basic level of emotional competence is being able to recognise the emotions at play in the context of analysis and action or persuading individuals and groups. With AI as an innovation taking over tasks with logical and analytical thinking, empathy will still remain in the workplace as emotions can promote ethical decision-making. Emotional competencies will become valuable and in demand.
While logical thinking and rule-based decision-making will no longer be exclusive to humans, AI capability of creativity is currently limited. AI works according to algorithms and reinforces the existing patterns of its data. The creative product of AI is based on existing data and trained algorithm. Human creativity goes beyond historical data and models and actually feeds AI.
The Case for Soft Skills
In a time when technological change is having a disruptive impact on workers, labour markets and organisations, these soft skills are more necessary and valuable than ever. Hard skills have a shorter shelf life and organisations across industries instead of emphasising the need for specific titles and experience are starting to shift the focus towards the skills that a potential employee may bring. These social and emotional skills that cannot be automated help connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems. Also strengthening these skills do not expire and are transferable across industries and positions.
The capacity to thrive on ongoing change is becoming a condition for success. Skills like data and analytics make it possible to decode what works, emotional intelligence and empathy are essential to understanding people’s needs and problems, creativity is the key to devising solutions, and technology innovation, like AI and RPA, provide the necessary tools to develop new business opportunities.
About VIP Apps Consulting
VIP Apps Consulting provide business process management and technology consulting services. We operate in the intersection of technology and business, combining deep business and industry insight with the understanding of how technology and innovation impact the industry and business model. Our unique process-driven approach and AMOBI and DELIVER proprietary methodologies deliver greater value and efficient business outcomes, minimising cost and risk. Our team has extensive experience within the leasing and financial services industry with the knowledge, capabilities and operational expertise, to help organisations assess and implement changes
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