Smart automation systems wading through deep pools of data, chatbots becoming more and more common, the map apps on phones leading us to our destinations. Clearly, the age of automation is here to change the landscape of the workplace. We are in the fourth industrial revolution and now there is no turning back. The world of work is changing fast and workers will have to change as well.
Even though tech skills remain the most in demand, soft skills such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking are growing in prominence to help expand the application of new technology.
According to a report on global talent crunch by US-based management consulting firm Korn Ferry, creativity, adaptability, collaboration and time management allow people to navigate new information and make decisions effectively. In India, 60% of employees feel that soft skills are important for career progression, while 89% of Apac executives say it is difficult to find people with soft skills..
Here are 5 skills you can acquire to sustain in the age of Automation
CREATIVITY: The future of human work is creativity and imagination. It is believed that creative minds can outlive the era of Automation. Can machines replace human imagination? Work that requires high degree of imagination and creative analysis is hard to automate. Though, computers are good at optimising but not so great at using common sense. The quality of randomness and the ability to build something out of ideas is a skill that will pay off now and in future.
COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY: It refers to the adaptation of human behaviour to the changing environment. It is the ability to disengage from a previous task and respond effectively to a new one. Flexibility is what’s needed to deal with the automation of high-mix operations.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The concept of emotional intelligence has evolved over the years which includes self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy and social skills. In response to widespread automation, there is call for Emotional Intelligence. This is because machines can’t understand, motivate and interact with human beings as other human beings can. Machines cannot display the results to a patient in a compassionate manner. Elements like self-awareness, understanding others, empathetic listening, stress management cannot be automated.
For the same reason, it would be difficult to completely replace an HR with a robot. While payroll could be managed by a machine, employee engagement can never be automated. Well, at least not unless the employees are machines 😉
CRITICAL THINKING: In the age of machines, this skill will give people an edge. Critical thinking skills are widely cited as not only the most effective tools of the uniquely human mind but also as one of the most in-demand skills in the future job market. That is why, now, most educational institutions also focus on complex cognitive abilities and not only on traditional academics. No matter how advanced AI may be in the coming age of automation, human beings still need to make judgements and critical decisions.
STRATEGIC APPROACH: This is extremely important as Artificial intelligence lacks this kind of approach. Organisations which are comprehensibly mindful of the significance of adopting innovation and technology, fail to look at the things from a strategic point of view. In the age of Automation, companies must have a well-defined procedure before spending huge amount of cash as well as time on AI intelligence initiatives. Hence, adopting a strategic approach will become quintessential to sustain.
Understanding a consumer (who happens to be a human) and her behaviour is not something a machine can do. Strategising or vision-mapping a company’s growth chart is based on consumer behaviour analysis and how people think. If you possess a strategic approach to thinking and visualising, you will always have an edge over machines.
The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees. Automation is changing the workforce and is becoming a familiar and accepted concept. For better or worse these skills will become essential to anyone who wants to stay relevant in their field as automated systems proliferate.