In the last twenty years, we have witnessed a rapid growth of information technology and the whole world is a global village thanks to digitalization, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI).
We have reached a stage that technical skills and digital literacy are inevitable and anybody who remains so will be left out in the lurch.
Some human traits are unique to the species and can never be replaced, no matter whatsoever be the advancement in technology. Not just employees, employers too must consider the same while implementing the entire process of selection and recruitment as soft skills remain the parameter of a company’s reputation and stability.
Is it not prudent then, to delve into the aspects of soft skills, so very much unique to the species of Homo Sapiens?
1. Leadership: Organizations and companies run on leadership and the company is perceived to be as good as it’s a leader. Crisis management, goal setting, administration, decision making are important functions of a leader besides the normal functions like setting up of selection, recruitment, and training procedures.
In the years to come, even though technology and remote work centers will take a front seat in many companies across the globe, a good leader who can amalgamate, will be much in demand.
A good leader must be able to analyze, guide, motivate, and bring results from his team members that achieve the organization’s short-term and long term objectives.
Some debate leadership is inborn, while others say leadership can be inculcated, but whatever may be- leadership is always respected and revered.
2. Innovation: We all know companies require cutting edge technology to be ahead in the rat-race, but it is human intervention that takes technology to a higher level.
Out-of-the-box thinking leads to creativity and that is what human brains are capable of. Companies like Toyota, Nike, Sony, and even our home based Maruti, etc. have some great innovation as assets and that is why they are such huge names to reckon with.
Innovation is the name of the game which helps organizations to create and promote products and services that help to surpass the imagination and expectations of its customers.
Successful companies keep rolling out new products with better and improved features and services from time to time to keep their customers engaged and satisfied. Complacency is considered a bane, in the pursuit of growth and perfection.
If you observe carefully, you will understand that all successful companies in the world have learned to survive for such long only due to its human factor called innovation. The greater your innovation is, the better is your market value!
3. Cultural sensitivity: Machines and robots may be able to carry out a huge amount of work faster and more efficiently than humans, but a workplace which may include employees and staff from diverse cultures, traditions and background demands respect for each other’s culture for better teamwork, productivity and to achieve time-bound goals.
The ability to respect, understand, and sensibly adapt to each other requires more than mechanical skills and data based statistics and is an emerging pre-requisite in this cross-cultural borderless world.
In modern day organizations, it is very common to have people engaging in clusters and in groups to meet common objectives, and it becomes all the more important to understand and respect each other’s traditions and beliefs for an amicable working environment.
Companies that have followed this policy of being holistic and adaptable through their human resources have emerged winners as more customers interact and engage with them to pursue their products and services.
4. Crisis management: CEO’s and managers across the world are paid more for this specific ability to thwart problems in the companies they work for, primarily for the reason that they should hold the bull by its horns.
Crisis management demands spot decision-making skills by its senior management which must be precise, skillful, and fool-proof. Only humans are capable of this unique skill of critical thinking and analysis.
This is one of the top soft skills no automation, no artificial intelligence can ever topple. One of my top crisis management quotes is “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” aptly named as Fail Quote. It takes a human being to nullify a crisis created by another man or a machine.
Experience and logical thinking go a long way in effective crisis management and an individual develops it after numerous trial-and-error applications. It is always said that salary is always commensurate with the candidate’s crisis management skills.
5. Emotional intelligence (EI); Probably this is where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) takes a direct hit from humans. This is because of a human’s complex ability to empathize, relate and synchronize with each other by understanding simple emotional and mental feelings.
Computers, robots, and machines are getting more and more developed as days pass by, but the subtle connectivity between individuals is just unique to human beings only.
Many hotels and other service-oriented organizations across the world have successfully implemented automation and artificial intelligence, and customers do vouch for their impeccable services but they connect they get through another fellow human by way of gestures, smiles, and hospitality is unmatchable.
Another striking example of EI over AI is the short life of restaurants and eateries in the developed countries which solely depended on artificial intelligence to serve food and beverages to its customers. Many of them have already reverted to its human component and human waiters do stand by their robotic counterparts.
6. Attitude: It is purely emotional and learning based. Human attitudes can be altered with training, counseling, environmental changes, and circumstances. Attitude is what makes or breaks people to pursue their goals and objectives.
Reputed companies spend millions of dollars on training and mentoring for human resources development, and it pays in terms of customer satisfaction, achieving targets, and perceiving it’s customer requirements.
Attitude shows on the body language, smile, and warmth of the person. It has a direct relationship with productivity and is a deciding factor as far as the brand image and reputation is concerned.
When a human being faces challenges, he resorts to his past experiences, adapts to changes, and embraces growth. Companies too, which incorporate their attitude into their mission statements, do better in terms of growth, sustaining product quality, and live longer.
7. Language skills: The art of communication is through the medium of language. A machine that can process multiple languages or a human being who can speak multiple languages- which one do you think is more impressive?
Of course, a person who is able to handle language complexity is much in demand for his ability to relate personally to his colleagues and customers. An employee who can speak multiple languages effortlessly is in a better position to negotiate and crack deals with his clients and will be an asset for trans-national transactions.
Many languages may be processed by a robot, but a person with multi-lingual ability is far more attractive and acceptable to both the client and the management.
Language is a powerful soft skill and some people are gifted with this exceptional quality to learn and connect through languages most articulately. It is a soft skill that will give most automation a run for its money.
In the coming years, technology may revolutionize artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation – and it may evolve further, but it cannot pose any threat to soft skills mentioned in this blog. Technology will create a deep impact on industries across the spectrum but human intelligence is unbeatable because it is what creates artificial intelligence and automation. It is beyond doubt that these soft skills will always be relevant and we as human beings must always be adaptable to change.