Fine tuning soft skills for the future of work

Automation may be dramatically changing the world of work, but for those of us working alongside increasingly sophisticated technology, there is an imperative to fine turn the social and emotional skills that machines can’t figure out.

For organisations seeking to help their workforce to adapt, this necessitates changing how the train and develop their people’s soft skills – those non-technical skills that impact how we interact with colleagues and customers.

The pace of technological progress means this transformation is urgent for most organisations, with reskilling at scale a priority concern for 80% of executives according to a recent survey from McKinsey.

These skills can be broadly categorised in five areas:

1.       Communication and negotiation

2.       Emotional intelligence

3.       People and team management

4.       Enterprise and innovation

5.       Adaptability

So how should organisations go about developing these skills? 

Soft skills development needs a more varied learning programme than the development of technical skills. Effective reskilling in soft skills areas requires a blend of guided instruction, practical and social learning activities that enables participants to master new skills over time.

Personalisation of each colleague’s programme is typically required to reflect each person’s different start point, ways of learning and personal styles. This adds a layer of complexity for business owners and HR professionals seeking clear return on investment from their learning and development programmes.

However, evidence from organisations engaged in soft skills development suggests clear return on investment from increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and strengthen job retention.

If the topics explored above have got you thinking about the skills you and your colleagues may need to develop, I would love to have a conversation about upskilling and how straightforward improvements can drive bottom line improvement for your organisation.