Throughout history, the face of work has gone through several iterations, from an agrarian economy relying heavily on manual labour in which the wealthiest didn’t take part, to the mainstream knowledge economy as we know it today, relying on computerization, automation and intellectual capital rather than production.
The future of work is now
While the pandemic has accentuated this trend and made certain skills appear irrelevant moving forward, it has also demonstrated the flaws associated with a technology-driven economy and therefore highlighted the need and accelerated the implementation of a human-based economy and of a human-centric workplace.
Welcome to the future of work – a world where know-how takes a step back and human skills are no longer an asset but a definite must for workers and organizations, acting as a counterbalance to the overpowering technology.
In this bizarre era, human skills can no longer be ignored by organizations when it comes to positioning themselves as trustful and successful employers, partners, brands and leaders.
In the future of work, human skills allow organizations to:
Show their true colors and express their individuality
Retain and attract talent
Build a culture that people want to be a part of
Get management to lead more intentionally and more efficiently
Engage workers and make them feel listened to
Benefit from enhanced individual and team performance
Model diversity and inclusion authentically
Make their technology more impactful and relatable
Make a hybrid or remote work environment more efficient
Human skills are what make us adaptable, well-rounded individuals leading adaptable, well-rounded organizations ready to face this ever-evolving workplace and economy.
In short, human skills are the catalyst of a successful organization. Even business schools are trying to incorporate them in their curriculum.
Ok. But what are human skills exactly?
Human skills, soft skills, interpersonal skills. These are all synonymous.
Human skills and soft skills are HR concepts that refer to personality and behavioral traits and a certain set of transferable skills that focus on people and their capacity to interact with one another, solve problems and manage situations. To the contrary of ‘hard’ skills or technical skills, soft skills are inherent to a person. This is not to say that you are necessarily born with them. Such skills can be learned through experience and can be improved over time when cultivated.
Amongst them, we find communication, trust, empathy, adaptation, curiosity, resilience, leadership and flexibility.
Being a good communicator and creating a culture of communication is not an easy task and involves different things: concision, clarity, intention, honesty, collaboration, active listening, enthusiasm and leadership. When done well, it can achieve miracles for organizations.
Empathy is what makes us relatable. It’s about being able to see the world through someone’s eyes, to authentically put ourselves in other people’s shoes and to say ‘I know how you’re feeling’. It’s showing that we are human after all, no matter our role or our position.
Entrusting others and demonstrating that sense of trust through delegation, collaboration and empowerment is a requirement to avoid frustration and conflict and generate cohesion and adherence.
Flexibility and adaptation
Being able to remain flexible and adapt is one of the most precious qualities one can have in this ever-changing landscape. It sends a positive message to those around while making things easier for ourselves.
Keeping an open-mind and facing challenges as they arise is much easier to achieve when training and stimulating our brain regularly. Forcing ourselves to ask questions, to learn and to read is a good way to generate a fresh perspective on things and to deal with uncertainty.
Our resilience is best tested when faced with adversity. It is our capacity to deal with situations, to confront challenges, to look for solutions and to start all over the next time an issue arises. Failing to do this can result in being perceived as inadequate.
Leadership is not reserved to management. Everyone has the capacity to demonstrate leadership. It’s about taking one’s place, sharing ideas, collaborating, being able to respectfully state a position and allowing others to take their place.
Not to say that ‘hard’ skills are no longer relevant. But as workers are being replaced by computers, it is clear that learning to be is becoming more important than learning to do. Machines may have an edge over us in terms of savoir-faire. But our very nature as humans still gives us a competitive advantage.
As Manish Bahl of the Center for the Future of Work puts it: “your skills + social and cultural context = hard-to-automate skill”.
More so, Forbes contributor Charles Tower-Clark tells us that “while automation and digitization may displace around 85 million jobs by 2025, around 97 million new roles may emerge that are better adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms".
Indeed, there are a lot of synergies for machines and humans to work together. When we look at it that way, it becomes obvious why working on improving those complementary soft skills is so important.
Ultimately, this is what will lead to more compassionate and better performing workplaces.
Through workplace training, coaching and human resource solutions, Intuity Performance applies a Whole Person Performance approach to cultivate an environment for growth within organizations.
Contact us to find out how we can help you take on the future of work.