February 18, 2020
The dawn of 2020 has brought with it an ever rising demand for newer skills that are critical for the modern workplaces. In this blog, I explore what soft skills today’s organizations must prioritize and what soft skills provide the most value to the modern workforce.
In today’s day and age, it has become imperative for businesses and employees alike to stay ahead of the curve and ride the skills train to its desired last stop. Irrespective of the goals set for 2020, learning some of the most critical soft skills can certainly help businesses and employees stand out from the rest and achieve a competitive advantage.
At Plethora, we have identified some of the most sought-after courses that will help L&D and HR leaders get a better understanding of the current upskilling and reskilling trends and device an effective learning program, starting with the skills they need the most.
Why Soft Skills?
The key difference between ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’ is not the knowledge itself, but the way that knowledge and skill are applied in the workplace. Where hard skills focus on employees’ ability to do certain (tech) tasks, soft skills focus on the way employees do those tasks, a process that involves agility, collaboration, problem solving, and quick and efficient decision-making.
Hard skills can often be easy to define as they include technical skills and specialized knowledge, like Data Science, Software Development or Accounting; while soft skills include behavioral and personal traits that are usually hard to analyze, but have a major role to play in an employee’s and business’ growth.
Soft Skills Enterprises Need Most in 2020
So, here are the top five in-demand soft skills that businesses should prioritize in 2020-
The reason creativity tops the list of most in-demand soft skills in 2020 is due to the constant workplace disruptions that call for out-of-the-box thinking and creative problem solving at a consistent level. Enterprises need employees who are capable of fostering a creative approach to problem-solving across diverse roles and functions, right from business development, finance to HR and L&D. No surprise then why the World Economic Forum has placed ‘creativity’ on the third spot in the most important skills for 2020 list. It is now critical for business to know why creativity is an all-important skill for employees to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to achieve a competitive advantage.
As the name suggests, a growth mindset is a skill employees must cultivate in today’s era of rapid change to rise up to the evolving workplace challenges, while organizations need to foster a growth mindset by updating and nurturing the employees’ knowledge and skills required for their professional role. In an ever-growing globalised and competitive society, the importance of having a growth mindset cannot be overstated. From the learner’s perspective, individual employees must remain competitive with peers, and seek opportunities to stand out from the rest. However, employees often see having a growth mindset as something that they achieve through courses and training programs. But, a growth mindset is more about continuous learning and skill development that will help improve performance and help stay updated on all new developments in the industry.
Miscommunication can potentially lead to a loss of $420,000-$62 million for businesses. That’s right. Strong communication skills are critical in almost every aspect of life, be it at the workplace, in the household or in the society as a whole. However, strictly from an organization’s point of view, communication is the bedrock on which all functions coalesce to achieve a particular business objective. Poor or vague communication almost always leads to misunderstanding and loss of time, energy and resources. That’s why LinkedIn has listed communication skills as the top-most priority for soft skills among businesses. So, having excellent communication skills is not only an essential characteristic for employees and managers, but also a prerequisite to better understand the function and the transfer of information more efficiently.
There is an evolved and prioritized emphasis from businesses on the value of Emotional Intelligence for employees to work in today’s disruptive and agile workplaces. Emotional Intelligence, in terms of the workplace, is one’s ability to understand one’s emotions and the capacity to control or manage those emotions in relation to colleagues and tasks. This is the very first step towards realizing one’s true potential. Today, Emotional Intelligence as a skill plays an all important role in the workplace, be it collaborating with colleagues (departments), bettering interpersonal communications, improving workplace relationships or handling stress, driving productivity and better decision-making.
Reports from the World Economic Forum suggest that critical thinking and complex problem solving are two of the most sought-after skills for today’s employers. So, what is critical thinking? The Foundation for Critical Thinking defines it as ‘the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.’ Critical thinking is a ‘critical’ skill for multiple professions, like engineers, data scientists, analysts, lawyers, doctors, among others. But, in today’s evolving workplaces, critical thinking has become a must-have skill for almost every business function. Critical thinking is fundamental for employees/ managers who need to come up with innovative solutions, analyze data/information, solve critical problems, and more.
It’s an undeniable fact that evolving workplaces will demand newer skills. The skills employees have today may not be relevant tomorrow. That’s why it’s absolutely imperative for businesses to adopt a continuous learning culture, while also tapping into the latest trends and in-demand skills sought by global organizations.
Are you ready to strengthen your workforce’s soft skills for 2020?
Click here to explore the wide range of soft skills offered by Plethora – the one-stop-solution for your learning needs.