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Fostering Human Skills In The Workplace: Strategies to Future-Proof Your Business

As AI functionality and automation are increasingly integrated into the workplace how do we best up-skill our existing team for agility? And what will be the high-value skillsets we need to be recruiting for with an eye on the future?


AMP Senior Economist Diana Mousina noted recently in an interview in the Australian Financial Review that "AI has not evolved to the point where it is a replacement for human skills such as empathy, creativity and critical thinking – which are still highly valued in many industries and professions and are likely to remain important for years to come.”


But how do we ensure that our team are developing these key capabilities and embed them into our company culture and recruitment processes? The below strategies are a great place to start:


  • Open Communication: Foster an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged and facilitated. Empower employees to share their ideas, concerns, and insights.

  • Problem-Solving Exercises: Incorporate regular problem-solving exercises and brainstorming sessions. These activities can boost critical thinking and creativity.

  • Mentorship Programs: Establish mentorship programs within your organisation. Experienced employees can guide and nurture the skills of younger team members. Development of skills such as Leadership, Management and Conflict Resolution are greatly enhanced by guided on-the-job learning opportunities and practice.

  • Training and Development: Invest in ongoing training and development programs that focus on soft skills - both internal and external. Encourage employees to seek out courses, workshops, and resources.

  • Encourage Empathy: Encourage employees to put themselves in the shoes of their colleagues, customers, and partners. This can be facilitated with verbal encouragement or with more formalised workshopping during staff training or off-sites. This empathy will lead to better decision-making and improved relationships. Another great way to do this is to get your business involved in supporting local charity events and give a PDO each year for staff to work for a local charity. This broadens the world view of employees - shifting the focus from an insular organisational function to being part of a wider community that supports each other over the long term.

  • Recognition and Rewards for Soft Skills: Performance metrics are often focussed heavily on fiscal KPIs. Recognise and reward employees who excel in skills such as empathy, creativity, and critical thinking. This reinforces the fact that business places true value on these skills and will encourage the cognisant use of them within the workplace.

  • Create A Feedback Loop: Create a feedback loop for constructive criticism. (This helps employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Company Values: Ensure your company's core values and mission statement reflect the importance of human skills. This reinforces their significance in your culture. Rio Tinto is another business who distils this down even further in their Core Values to enshrine the human skills of “Courage, Care & Curiosity”.

  • Lead by Example: As a business owner or leader, demonstrate empathy, creativity, and critical thinking in your own actions and decision-making. You set the tone.

  • Recruit for Emotional Intelligence & Behavioural Adaptability: Understanding and managing one's own emotions, as well as recognising and empathising with the emotions of others, is a critical skill for effective interpersonal relationships. The ease at which one adapts to new situations will also play a significant role in determining the value of an employee to an organisation’s future success. EQ and Behaviour Adaptability can be measured with tools such as a DISC Profile. Employees with a higher EQ and Behaviour Adaptability are likely to be able to build and nurture relationships with both internal and external stakeholders…. And you know my favourite tenet that the best business is built on meaningful relationships :)

  • Build Diverse Teams: When recruiting, it’s not enough to state the intent to be inclusive in your advertisement. Ensure you are advertising on platforms that will specifically attract application from diverse demographics across race, gender, age, ethnicity and sexuality. Build processes into the recruitment process that will avoid hiring bias. Different perspectives and backgrounds can drive creativity and empathy, enhancing critical thinking.


Remember - these strategies are simply a starting point in future-proofing your business. In a world where we are increasingly reliant on technology, it's the human touch that will set your company apart and ensures its long-term success.


By hiring for and cultivating human skills such as empathy, creativity, and critical thinking you not only future proof your business but create a workplace that values personal growth, collaboration, and resilience. These skills will empower your business to adapt, innovate, and excel in an increasingly dynamic and competitive professional landscape.


If you’d like to chat further about strategies to future-proof your business, book a discovery call today.


Have a great week!


Rachel

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