The workplace is constantly evolving, driven by advances in technology and the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. As a result, the skills required for success are also changing. While technical abilities are undoubtedly important, soft skills remain essential to thriving in the future of work. Just like any other skill, soft skills are acquirable and trainable.
The future of work is here!
There are many things happening in the world that dramatically impact the way we live and thus, the way we work. These changes are taking place right now and are not stopping any time soon. An obvious example is the rise of automation and AI. These technologies are taking over repetitive, mundane tasks, leaving more time for creative, human-centered work. While they offer incredible opportunities for efficiency, they also demand a new set of skills that humans need to focus on in order to succeed. That’s what the future of work refers to, the rapid and transformative changes occurring in everything revolving around work: “the work itself, who does the work, and where work is done.”
How is AI affecting the shift in skills humans need to thrive in the workforce?
As we mentioned before, with AI and automation now commonly used, humans must shift their efforts to other areas. While machines are great at tasks that are rule-based and require consistent output, they lack the intuition, empathy, and creativity that are inherent in humans. These faculties known as soft skills cannot be replaced by machines and therefore are among the most valuable skills for the future of work.
A closer look at Soft Skills
Though there isn’t a definitive answer, soft skills can be defined as the set of personal attributes, traits, and abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. These non-technical skills are not specific to any particular job or industry but are highly valued as they are important for success in almost any role.
In fact, as Samantha MacLaren stated, “92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. And 89% said that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills.”
Soft Skills in demand include:
- complex problem-solving
- critical thinking
- emotional intelligence
- social intelligence
- time management
- conflict resolution
How to train Soft Skills?
While technical skills are often learned in a classroom, soft skills are typically developed through experience. However, there are ways to actively train and improve these skills. In addition to following strategies, it’s important to adopt a growth mindset and a positive attitude. These competencies are essential and can help individuals acquire these skills more rapidly.
Seek out feedback:
The first step to improving any soft skill is to identify areas for improvement. Seek feedback from your colleagues, managers, and mentors to gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Be open to constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Practice in real-world situations:
Soft skills are developed through practice and experience. Look for opportunities to practice your skills in real-world situations, such as working on group projects, leading team meetings, or giving presentations. Take on new challenges and try to step outside your comfort zone to gain valuable experience.
Take training and development programs:
There are many training and development programs available that can help you develop your soft skills. Look for online courses, workshops, or coaching programs that focus on communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and other soft skills.
Read and learn from others:
There are many books, articles, and blogs that can provide insights and tips for developing soft skills. Look for resources that are relevant to your industry or specific skillset, and learn from the experiences of others.
In summary, the key to thriving in the future of work and navigating the new and complex situations we continuously face, it’s more important than ever to expand our soft skills. By investing in developing these skills, individuals can set themselves apart in a constantly evolving job market.