Rapidly changing technology is in the news every day. Headlines about robots replacing workers, AI taking work from office workers, and driverless trucks and cars are making workers and employers wonder what skills will be necessary to keep people employed.
If only HR recruiters had a checklist that could precisely tell them what to look for when selecting their candidates. With so many requirements, recruiters can easily fall into the trap of wanting “everything” from “everybody”. But the truth is, most employers want only ten valuable skills. Below is a list I compiled from a variety of sources.
To fend off the robot coming to take your job, you need to have more “people” skills than technical skills. If you read my post “The Top Five Soft Skills Necessary for the HR Professional,” you will get an inkling of what I mean by people skills. Gerd Leonhard, who I wrote about in “Future Friday: Lost your job to a robot, sorry but re-education will no longer secure your rescue,” says that jobs in science, government, law, and surgery–just as much as those in manufacturing, transportation, and hotel services–will be replaced, and productivity will become the task of robots. He says, “The richly ironic fact is that the truly human skills (such as artisan and craft abilities) that preceded the industrial revolution will now be the only ones that will guarantee fruitful employment in future.”
The ability to clearly and effectively communicate is important for both humans and machines. The old saying “Garbage in, garbage out” applies to both computers and people. The ability to hone a message in a written format is critical, especially in the social media age where messages are being truncated. Getting your point across in 140 characters can be vitally important. Spoken communication is equally critical as speeches are being truncated, too. TED talks, often 15 minutes or less, generally get the more views than traditional speeches for other occasions.
Computers, hence robots, are very good at quickly processing massive amounts of data according to programmed algorithms. However, the nuances of interpreting that data require a more critical and human approach to making those decisions. Not every situation requires the same response, such as a robot might make.
The power of the collective cannot be underestimated. Even computers work together to produce a more powerful computational machine. Today, and in the future, the ability to effectively collaborate and work on a team will be an essential skill. Employees working in positions that do not engage their collaboration “muscle” are selling themselves short.
With the ever-increasing speed of change, no situation will stay the same for long. Employees must become masters of handling VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). In other words, they must quickly adapt to new situations and be flexible in thought.
Innovation will come about as a result of the first four skills; however, we have to develop the skill to grasp new ideas and create new ways of doing things. In the coming world, the inability to move forward is not just standing still, it is moving backward.
Curious to see the next five skills needed by employers? Hint: They are about people, vision, and empathy. Stay tuned for the next part of this article to find out why each of these skills is so crucial to your organization.