It is no secret that robots are taking over! Manufacturing, healthcare, driverless cars… you name it. The increasing advent of automation is shifting the focus on the nature of jobs like never before. The World Economic Forum predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will take more than 5 million jobs by 2020. This could mean that companies will increasingly focus on nurturing more of technical and functional skills isn’t it? Not really!
In fact, globalization has rapidly increased the process of adoption of soft skills as well, which has for a very long time not been given its due. Soft skills are like the invisible shroud around the organization, maintained by things as simple as greeting your fellow workers, picking up the phone with a greeting, shaking hands or being enthusiastic about work.
Many researches showcase the importance of soft skills. A joint research conducted by the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation found that 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge. According to the Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2016, communication skills, strategic thinking, leadership skills and creative problem-solving are the most desired skills, but are less commonly found among talent.
In the Industrial Revolution era, the lack of soft skills wasn’t a big deal since jobs were mostly routine and reliant on specific skills to accomplish. In the Knowledge Era, soft skills have become a bigger deal. Today, 9 out of 10 employers believe that graduates with soft skills will become increasingly important. The lack of soft skills hence can have a detrimental effect on your business today. Here’s why you need to ensure that your organization trains people in soft skills
5 soft skills, the lack of which can kill your business
Communication: One of the biggest soft skills that professionals lack today is proper communication skills. Listening is an important intangible skill related to communication which is often ignored. Failure to communicate effectively can lead to misunderstandings. This can further create stress, anxiety and uncertainty. This could be between employees themselves, employees and management or employees and the clients. Therefore this takes a huge importance.
Interpersonal skills: It is a cliché now that a team achieves a lot more than any single individual can, is it not? Having said that, it is often seen in organizations that most people struggle to work in teams due to their inability to understand a larger goal of the team and in turn the organization. Sometimes individual egos take precedence over the larger purpose. A good training program structured around activities and helping people see the bigger picture helps mitigate this or can become a major problem area.
Managing Change: There are moments in our lives when we are confronted with change. Change is the only constant and can be very scary, but learning to adapt is an investment worth making. Adaptability and flexibility is about being open to other alternatives in any situation. Thinking creatively “out of the box” will help to accept the reality and cope with it. Creative problem solving is another important skill that can be acquired in this regard.
Time management: Be it managing interruptions from yourself or others, time management is a critical skill that eventually defines how you handle critical thinking and problem solving skills. Do what you say you’re going to do (stick to your deadlines) and manage your procrastination. Irregular management of time can lead to delayed projects and consequently cost businesses.
Work Ethics: Ability to take ownership, be accountable to the task at hand and be willing to accept blame when you fail are all important traits. Interpersonal skills complement the technical skills, enhance your job performance and social interactions be it with your boss, colleagues or clients. Strong work ethics and interpersonal skills help bond with the team, tackle stressful situations and is the difference between good and great employees.
As you can see, soft skills are not just about handshakes and greetings and any lack of them can shake the very foundation of your company. You don’t have to leave such things to chance – soft skills can be assessed, taught and eventually made a habit thus creating a great company work culture.