April 2, 2018

Soft skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Unless you've just emerged from Plato's cave, you're likely aware that today, more than ever, digital transformation processes are a crucial necessity for organizational efficiency. However, merely acquiring technological tools does not guarantee success. Organizations aiming to maximize the potential of software and hardware require an even more critical element: wetware.
What is wetware? Don't worry; you already possess it—it's the people in your organization. Your colleagues serve as the foundation for your company and its transformation. You need individuals with the requisite skills and mindset to adapt to constant change.
In addition to specific skills for operating particular tools, the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands soft skills—skills that will become increasingly essential as digitalization continues to grow."

And what are those skills we need? We (whose fundamental ability are to be saints) share with you the catalog of soft skills necessary to have an organization that is more digital and more human than ever:

  • Ability to learn. Where else should we begin? The willingness to learn and reskill is particularly crucial in preparing for the future of work. Learning to use new technology is a skill in itself.

  • Critical thinking. One of the most sought-after qualities, critical thinking involves the ability to objectively evaluate information and make informed judgments, distinguishing valuable data from irrelevant information to solve problems or make decisions.

  • Collaboration. Employees must understand how to collaborate effectively to accumulate knowledge and share progress with one another. An organization fosters strong teamwork when, in addition to providing the necessary digital tools, it promotes a culture of mutual trust and recognizes and rewards both teamwork and individual effort.

  • Troubleshooting. What if the newly acquired tool crashes, or new team members are unsure how to use it? Beyond teaching employees how to use technology, we must also help them develop problem-solving skills. This starts with fundamental skills such as learning how to search for error messages on Google or accurately describing a problem to find online solutions.

  • Emotional intelligence. In addition to social intelligence, organizations that cultivate emotional intelligence among their members achieve maximum effectiveness in both individual and team work.

  • Interpersonal communication. This encompasses the process through which people exchange information, emotions, and more, utilizing both verbal and non-verbal messages. We must be adept at knowing what to say and how to say it, while also being mindful of our tone of voice, gestures, and body language. Communication plays a pivotal role in fostering workplace relationships, as it is essential for listening, negotiation, problem-solving, and decision-making.
  • Adaptability. This refers to the ease with which both individuals and organizations can adjust to changes. Being adaptable enables us to be more flexible and open doors to new opportunities.
  • Open-Mindedness. This skill encompasses various aspects, including the ability to understand and respect colleagues, supervisors, and clients, as well as the willingness to learn new things and embrace emerging technologies.

  • Creativity and innovation. In the era of digital transformation, our teams need to connect with new clients in innovative ways and design projects with a focus on speed and flexibility. You can delve deeper into creativity in our post: Competitions for 2018 and beyond.

According to The Future of Jobs by the World Economic Forum study by the World Economic Forum, 5 million jobs may be displaced by 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, and other factors replace the need for human workers. Given this, and the fact that future specialties and jobs do not exist yet, much like how they didn't exist 10 years ago, continuous learning of new skills is imperative. Organizations and employees alike must embrace flexibility and be prepared to abandon outdated concepts and processes to remain efficient. No matter how much we invest in technology, it's the readiness and preparedness of our employees that truly matter.

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Do the individuals within your organization possess the requisite professional skills to effectively address the challenges of the future? Whether you are an employer or an employee, continuous feedback is essential to foster your professional growth and adaptation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.