The Future of Work Capsules: (1) Soft Skills as one of the most important trends changing the future workplace today


Baptista is a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is an HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can reach her via e-mail on [email protected]  You can follow this conversation on Linked-In: Baptista Sarah Gebu and on twitter @SarahTista.  Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313. Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC


Soft skills are now considered global useful skills for the changing future workplace today. How did we know this?

We need to learn to prepare for tomorrow’s job today? In preparing for tomorrow’s job today, the human element will be necessary and still relevant. Human beings will be needed to create, develop, program and invent for the future. All jobs cannot be taken over; the human element will be very much needed. There is still light at the end of the tunnel if we stick to the rules of the future of work protocols.

All is not bleak, let’s not be desolate, new jobs will be created. Who ever thought an idea of an online community to virtually engage will be a good selling proposition. Zoom now, Facebook and other social media sites have created some opportunities which hitherto never existed. So will this new normal be. Our ability to think out of the box to solve problems and create solutions around us will shape our future of work.

The employer-employee relationship is evolving and soft skills, work flexibility and pay transparency are agreed to be very important to the future workplace including recruitment and to the human resource practice. Talent professionals according to global talent report voted 91% to soft skills, 72% to work flexibility and 53% for pay transparency as trends transforming our workplace for the future.

For today, I want to discuss the three most important trends we need to be aware of. This is because; these three trends are altering the future work place today and will continue into the future.

Hitherto, the position of power that employers hold traditionally which cannot be over emphasized will have a paradigm shift.  An employer decides which employee to hire base on its talent acquisition policy. An employer decides which branch of the organization an employee employed will be suitable to work, how much information could be shared with employees and how much remuneration is expected to be paid to employees. This dynamics is changing and a bit slow pace for us in Africa but will emerge the new normal where the employee- world will evolve with more freedom. Due to evolving practice within the human resource feild, most organizations now request employees have a say in deciding the location that works best for them which hitherto wasn’t the trend. With the advent of information technology, so much information is available to employees with the click of a button. As a result, there is now greater demand for information from employers to include transparency, flexibility, accountability and empathy for employees. This supports their desire to work and be retained as valuable employee assets offering great competitive advantage. Employees are willing to commit to organizations willing to allow these professionals put their technical skills to use couple with their creative thinking skills in the right way. Most organizations are recording high numbers of resignation from professionals pushed against their will to practice vices instead of promoting virtue whiles engaged in the employer-employee relationship which hitherto wasn’t so visible and the case. In return, employers these days are seen looking forward to engaging professionals with sound technical skills and great collaborative, problem solving, adaptability and creative thinking skills to mention but a few. In the long –run this demand for an equal employer-employee relationship is a step in the right direction and the way to go. Business continuity can be assured of this great collaborative equal employer-employee relationship as each offers the other, the duty of care.

According to the global talent report, this survey was conducted in 35 countries with over 5,000 professionals concluding to these three trends as emerging: Soft skills, pay transparency and work flexibility.  91% of professionals according to the report agrees to soft skills as a very important and useful trend to transforming the workplace and the future of recruitment and the human resource management practice.

Would machines be able to do everything? Would machines be able to compete in soft skills? The rise of automation and artificial intelligence as demonstrated severally in my previous writings are evidential that, success in the workplace now and into the future needs skills beyond hard skills. Hard skills are dwindling now and will be same for the future of work. Soft skills are important and will continue to be very important and vital now and into the future. No matter, your industry and technical competence; collaborative skills, adaptability skills as well as creativity will always be treasured and desirable.

Hiring for soft skills will be the future of recruitment, a strategy to be embraced by all professionals. Its common knowledge in human resource practice to know that, most organizations and professionals struggle to assess soft skills. According to the global talent trends report, 5,000 professionals from 35 countries agreed that 80% soft skills are increasingly important to business success. The main reason we all need to get serious about soft skills.

Let’s discuss creativity as a soft skill;

Can machines get creative? Am not sure, this soft skill can be imitation by machines yet. Life is all about problem solving, and the earlier we come to that realization, the better for use all. How we solve our everyday problem is very important and necessary to promoting business success and continuity. Soft skills such as creativity skills will be in very great demand because as automation transforms the kind of skills organizations will need now and into the future, there will be greater demand for creativity now up to 2030 for the start. This soft skill is the most in-demand skills but currently in short supply, the report detailed. This position was also put forward again in the latest Mckinsey study on “automation and the changing demand for workforce Skills”.

It has always been my principle to hire character first before competency. Two or more professionals may possess the same technical competency skills but may not behave the same way in a given situation. Hard-skills including technical skills are very relevant and needed. But in as much as these skills are the attractive skills, your soft skills will complement your hard skills. Don’t just get your foot in the door to your ideal organization, get it opened with your cultivation of soft skill.

For most talent professionals, soft skills are not predictively accessed during interview sessions. 68% of talent professionals say they pick up clues from candidates during the interview sessions instead of resulting to behavioral interviewing which is prone to rehearsed responses most times from job applicants. Whiles I was supporting a USAID sponsored project, interesting ways we manage mass recruitment to access soft skills also included the use of practical team building interview sessions utilizing the project style. When looking for a team leader; put a case study for discussion and request for group participation. The natural leaders will emerge and take control. The evaluators will start their measurement assessments and tracking indicators of how projects can be monitored. The administrators will make use of their short hand skills to accurately capture the proceedings of the day. We need predictive ways to accessing soft skills. Artificial intelligence can be used to measure systematically candidate’s soft skills including the use of tech-based assessment such as plum, pymetrices and Koru. Though 75% of talent professionals admit using behavioral questions globally, no data exist for the measurement for Africa or sub-Sahara Africa. 70% were reported to be “reading candidate’s body language” during interviews as compared to 31% admitting to using project situational scenario and 17% tech-based assessments. Soft skills are now globally being considered as important in the world; 96% of Talent professionals in Mexico says soft skills are very important and the future of recruitment and HR, in Brazil its 95%, India ( 95%), Italy (95%), Southeast Asia (95%), Spain (95%), Canada (94%), China (93%), Middle East and north Africa (93%), Argentina (92%), Australia (91%), United States ( 90%), United Kingdom (90%), France (88%), Netherlands (85%) and Northern Europe( 82%) just to mention a few.

These are simple ways you can assess soft skills

  1. Find out the most valued soft skills at your place of work. You can know this by considering the soft skills you need now and into the future to succeed. Consider what soft skills your top performers are exhibiting and how you envisage solving future challenges in your chosen industry.
  2. Identify and define the most important soft skills needed for each role through engagement.
  3. Consider online tools to prescreen candidates for strength and weakness and be concern about bias.
  4. Learn to standardize your interview questions to easily evaluate interview responses. Ask problem-solving questions to find out soft skills demonstrated in action. Most managers do not know this and may consider these problem-solving questions style in job interviews as a waste of time. Talent professionals are expected to provide that education and awareness ahead of the interview to the panel.
  5. Learn to be data drive, but don’t do away with removing relationship or the human connection with the process. I have found that to be very useful personally.

Look no further for support in navigating your way through in management, policy design and assessment of soft skills as a vital trend for the future. FoReal HR Services is available to offer professional business support in this regards. Write to us today on [email protected]. Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313. We provide virtual support.

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