There is a fear out there that Artificial Intelligence and computers will take over the workplace and cost people their jobs, but AI can’t replace good old-fashioned soft skills. It seems unlikely that soft skills can ever be taught to computers, but who knows what the future holds? For now, soft skills belong to humans.
What Are Soft Skills?
All jobs have a certain set of specific and unique skills that are needed just to fulfill the requirements of that job. Soft skills are those characteristics and attributes that allow an individual to interact and work well with others in a professional workplace with other professional individuals.
Soft skills are sometimes referred to as transferable skills because they are less specialized. They aren’t specific to any industry or job, so they are general skills that can be transferred between jobs, departments and even industries. Having transferable skills increases the opportunities and employability of any employee.
Soft skills reflect the emotional intelligence, disposition and personality of the candidate.
A workplace is an interpersonal space, often including many people. In order for a work environment to be productive and healthy, there must be good relationships, and when conflicts inevitably arise, they must be resolved. Soft skills make working with others possible.
Soft skills are needed in order to employ other skills, so they are of great importance to employers.
Here are the top three soft skills to look for in an employee:
1. Problem Solving
Computers can’t replace human creativity. Creativity not in the sense of art, but for solving problems. This creativity allows an employee to recognize difficulties and complications, and then identify possible solutions. Once identified, solutions can be implemented and followed up on to see if they are successful.
Creative problem-solving means finding fresh solutions to old problems, or discovering actionable insights from seemingly unrelated data, and finding connections and solutions from varying ideas.
In today’s employment environment, it is not enough to do one thing well. It is also important that an employee can do several different things and adjust to changing situations.
Adaptability allows work under differing conditions, and under pressure. As things change, a worker must be able to adapt their way of thinking to reflect new facts and information and be able to adopt new behaviours as needed.
Employers look for candidates who can communicate effectively at all levels, meaning they can communicate with clients as well as colleagues at all levels within an organization.
This can mean training and managing staff or giving strategic presentations to executives. Employees may be called upon to pitch research, products or new ideas directly to those with the power to make the decisions.
Communication skills are what is needed to create and maintain relationships, and relationships are important because relationships are necessary to get things done.
Soft skills are important in any workplace, and the three listed above are among the most sought-after skills.