- What are the most important set of skills that the organizations of today and tomorrow would need?
Since decades and even more recently, the world of work has been in continuous change. Therefore, the requirements to perform are in constant evolution as well and the ability to learn, to change and to adapt become much more important than any specific set of skills. We call it: LEARNING AGILITY.
Learning Agility can be described as “knowing what to do when we don’t know what to do” or “being able to learn to learn from our mistakes”.
It requires an open and receptive mindset, an ability to accept feedbacks and a great adaptation to new situations and new business problems. The most precious capabilities to move forward and successfully during difficult and volatile times.
- Based on your expertise, do companies that are rethinking their business strategies and the ones that keep moving forward with the same focus need the same set of skills?
The crisis has accelerated and intensified the need for leaders to shift their organization’s operations while fundamentally reimagining strategies and business models.
Even for the ones not going through an entire revolution, the need of change, adapt and innovate is real and so is the need of developing new skills.
The type of skill set specifically needed will much more be influenced by company size, sector specificity and the type of function.
- In the past, you mentioned that Soft Skills are more important than Hard Skills, why?
There is no formula for building a company that can not only withstand the climates of change and uncertainty we’re living in, but “transform, perform and innovate” can be one of those.
It was a time when this formula consisted on building a team that had the technical expertise and work experience to execute on “the plan.” Today it’s not enough. Hard skills are important but not enough.
- What makes the Soft Skills more important?
Companies increasingly need to become more dynamic, interconnected and flexible. They require new structures, behaviors and culture. Hard skills are important, as I said before, but it’s Soft Skills that are the key factor of success to drive change within organizations. Moreover, soft skills are critical because:
- They are irreplaceable: Although some tasks at work will be automated, soft skills like emotional intelligence and the ability to teach, won't be. Learning to foster these skills may be key to succeeding regardless of how much of our job is taken over by tech.
- They set us apart: Good communication and negotiation skills can help you gain an edge over other candidates. Hard skills can be learnt in a limited time, but these skills are harder and take longer to develop, since they depend more on your nature rather than knowledge level.
- They allow career change & development: Once we developed the adapted set of skills in relation with our job, the competencies that will allow us to move from an industry to another one or to adapt to a new work environment are our soft skills.
A recent study from Hiring Insights found that "Ninety-four percent of recruiting professionals believe an employee with stronger soft skills has a better chance of being promoted to a leadership position than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills." It has become vital to develop these skills if we want to progress in our career.
- They satisfy and retain clients: Consumers these days have a huge number of choices of where and who to buy from. Therefore, create strong relationships with clients is the best way to understand serve them better.
Why Reskilling & Upskilling are so important and urgent?
Even before COVID-19, revolutions in technologies and in automation, consumer preferences, and business models were affecting the global workforce. It’s been few years now that Reskilling but also Upskilling are urgent priorities to build capacity, lead business transformation and drive performance but also:
- To enhance business success: Addressing skill gaps within organizations especially when related to succession planning provides several benefits. It allows the building of more diverse teams. It can be more cost-effective and quicker to train existing talent rather bringing in external hires who will need to be onboarded.
- To improve retention: No one wants to work at a company that does not invest enough in its employees’ career development. Upskilling & Reskilling ensures employees' skillsets won’t become obsolete and shows our people we care about their careers and their futures.
- To boost morale: Employees who have training and development opportunities are happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook on their future with the company. Reskilling our workforce helps them see the path to career advancement in front of them and gets them excited about what could be next. Knowing they’re working toward something that will better their lives creates a deeper sense of purpose.
- To increase customer satisfaction: Happy employees lead to happy customers. When workers are happier with their company and believe in what they are working toward, they do better work. Plus, upskilling & reskilling keeps our workforce up to date on industry trends, allowing them to offer the best recommendations and insights to clients and prospects. Clients are willing to pay more to work with a more knowledgeable, proactive team.
- To increase brand awareness: When employees feel a sense of purpose with their company and clients are happy with their work, they become stronger brand advocates. That means they are more likely to recommend your organization to their network of friends, past colleagues and family members.
What are the Soft Skills that the Leaders of tomorrow would need to overperform?
The world has changed as well as our way of working, that’s a fact. Although surrounded by many uncertainty, one thing is certain: to be successful in today’s and tomorrow’s world, talents need more than ever to be agile, adaptable and resilient. It’s a must, not a key differentiator. However, there are some skills that will make the difference between performers and over-performers.
- Leadership & Social Influence: Remote working is becoming more popular. With more offices allowing their employees to work from home, good leadership skills are becoming essential. Leaders to be able to inspire and motivate their colleagues and encourage collaboration from a distance. Leadership is also about being to have a high-level of decision-making, and develop a strong entrepreneurship mindset.
- Team Spirit: With the growth of the gig economy, teams are becoming more fluent, requiring initiative and proactivity from everyone involved. It has flattened corporate hierarchy, the need for solidarity has changed our way of communicating all together. All in all it allowed teams to easily meet at the same table and enhanced communication and break former hierarchical rules. The best leaders of tomorrow are the ones with strong team spirits, able to work closer to their teams amd let them co-create the new codes of work.
- Creativity & Innovation: We have seen the importance of creativity and innovation during the pandemic. Businesses that have been able to come up with ways to deliver services online or quickly shift their production have served as role models to many. In a post-coronavirus world, human creativity will be essential.
- Critical thinking: Critical thinking skills can suggest innovative solutions and ideas, solve complex problems using reasoning and logic and evaluate arguments. People with strong analytic thinking will be needed to navigate the human/machine division of labor.
- Empathy: It has several components – awareness, perception and regulation, but essentially, it’s about leading through influence and collaboration. The post-COVID-19 world can be full of uncertainty and challenges, and companies will need emotionally intelligent and empathetic leaders to help their workers navigate through these difficult times.