What are the most important human skills for the future of work?
In the world of work, we’re in for some serious shifts over the next few years. Some changes, such as AI and robotics, come as no great surprise. Others, like remote working, have moved in faster than many experts could have predicted thanks to Covid-19.
The upshot of these changes is that it’s no longer enough to have the right tech know-how or data analytics prowess. While these skills are still valuable, there’s another set of skills that employers are looking for – skills that will fuel innovation, adaptability, creativity and happiness in the workplace.
We’re talking about human skills.
Pay attention, because there are certain human skills that, when harnessed, will help you not only stand out to employers but thrive in your future career.
Here are the most important human skills you need for the future of work:
The world is changing fast, and uncertainty is becoming the norm. The pandemic has shifted where and how people work. New technologies are being invented every day. Businesses are finding ways to pivot in order to survive and grow.
To succeed in the future workplace, you need the ability to deal with this ambiguity, and even embrace it. Being adaptable means you have the ability to learn and unlearn, to remain open and flexible in your approach, and accept that you may succeed or fail along the way. It means you are comfortable with not knowing what’s ahead, and can move forward with confidence, even in the absence of complete information.
In a world of ambiguity, an unquenchable curiosity will rule the day. You need a hunger to learn, understand and know more about a wider variety of things. The more you understand the what, how and why, the easier it is to join the dots and make sound decisions.
Curiosity is good for business. It drives creativity. Invention, innovation and problem-solving all start with questions, like “Would this work?” and “Why?”
Curiosity is good for you too. In “Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life”, Dr. Todd Kashdan sets out his idea that curiosity is a vital ingredient for happiness.
How can you be more curious? Do as children do – ask more questions, BUT equally, commit to really tuning in to the answers.
Setbacks happen. But it’s the way that you deal with setbacks and recover that is important for your future career – this is resilience. Being able to manage hurdles, setbacks and pressure are essential in the workplace. You need to become comfortable with failure, learn how to overcome obstacles in the future, cope with unexpected outcomes, and use your experiences to bounce forward.
Building resilience is something you can start today. Download the Hodie app to learn this essential skill.
The future workplace needs smart action – aka the ability to make things happen and get stuff done. Employers value those who jump into the ring and engage. Not only does this get things moving and achieve those all-important results, it also motivates others to do the same. Research shows that when we see others working hard, it inspires us to work hard too.
So, show employers that you’re ready to join in and participate. Ask for feedback and act on it. Take initiative. Put your hand up and take on new work, ask questions, and contribute ideas – even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Empathy gives us the ability to put ourselves in other people’s shoes so we can see and feel from their perspective, and be compassionate towards them. This is the big one – research shows that empathy makes people better workers, leaders and managers. It makes us better friends and family members. But most importantly, researchers say that empathy is critical for a sustainable and humane future.
While some people are naturally more empathetic, it is a skill that can be developed. The first step to understanding is to simply listen. By listening you’ll understand where people are coming from, and why they feel or think the way they do. Along the way, you’ll become more open to a much richer, less obvious world of information: the connections between people, the things unsaid, the energy of a room, and ideas that stand out rather than fit in.
Communicate with impact
Having brilliant communication skills isn’t about being a smooth talker or being able to stand up in front of a room and present while oozing confidence. It’s not about writing the perfectly worded email or pitch. So, what is good communication?
It’s about communicating with impact. This means being able to get your message across in a way that really strikes a chord with your audience and inspires action.
The reality is that being able to communicate with impact will play a massive role in your career success. If you can communicate skilfully, you will be able to build a rapport with people, get your ideas across, grow your network, influence others and get things done as a team. Now that’s a powerful human skill.
Critical thinking tops the list of human skills sought by employers. But what exactly is critical thinking?
Critical thinking means sorting through the details to come up with a big-picture perspective that helps with decision making or problem solving. Imagine you’re at work and your manager presents you with a problem. You go off and start looking for solutions. But what if you took a step back to firstly analyse the situation, and gather and review as much information as possible? What if you asked people how the problem impacts their work? And what if you tried and tested different solutions before presenting your recommendation? This is critical thinking.
So, how do you demonstrate critical thinking to potential employers? In a job interview, rather than skipping straight to the results of a project, tell the story. Talk through the situation you faced and the thinking that led you to make certain decisions and take action.
Knowing yourself, your strengths, why you react a certain way, and what drives you as an individual is the most important human skill of all. It’s only with self-awareness that you can identify which other human skills you need to work on and improve.
If you want to get ahead in the future workplace, reach your career goals and be happy, start with self-awareness.
Start building self-awareness today – download Hodie.