The top Soft Skills in the AI era

AI soft skills

What are soft skills and why they are needed in the AI era?

Nowadays the impact of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our way of working is undeniable, but mastering new technologies is not enough anymore to best respond to the new challenges that companies and professionals must tackle, especially in the setting of an ever-changing market. It’s needed to listen, empathize, collaborate and think critically to leverage new tools and opportunities issued by AI.

Thus, in the AI era it becomes essential to form working teams including people who possess the right soft skills to make the difference in terms of creativity, thinking and innovation, considering how automation of routine activities had increased over the last few years and the implementation of smart systems capable of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data more efficiently is menacing the stability of the role played by several professional categories.

Soft skills are cross-skills applicable to all professions and to all working sectors. Indeed, this term refers to all those skills that characterize a person’s mindset concerning key aspects like social relationships, critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, work ethic and intercultural fluency. In the workplace, especially in this disruptive and game-changing AI era, HR managers consider soft skills as a very important integration to hard skills to build the best professional knowledge and know-how possible and enhance the overall value to the organization’s team. To learn more about how digital transformation is changing recruiting processes, click here.

In the digital onboarding process, recruiters look for candidates who have the necessary hard skills to carry out specific tasks and, in addition, are able to collaborate with others, listen to different points of view and quickly adapt to the dynamics of a company.

For sure Artificial Intelligence has profoundly changed the way businesses run their activities and workers get their job done, but it’s key to keep in mind that people are still the ones who should be able to master the driving force in the digital transformation: AI can process large amounts of data, solve problems, even perform some basic creative tasks by now, but cannot replace the human factor for everything directly regarding soft skills.

Soft skills: examples to understand their relevance in the AI era

Soft skills include the personal attributes, personality traits and communication skills that can influence relationships and interaction with others and the efficiency and effectiveness at work. Here are some examples of soft skills to understand how they’re relevant in the AI era, considered essential in the current job market:

  • Adaptability to new situations, technologies or environments;
  • Communication in effective and clear way, by using different means;
  • Compromise to negotiate and find common ground between two or more parties;
  • Conflict resolution to recognize and resolve disagreements constructively;
  • Creative thinking to propose innovative solutions, strategies and ideas;
  • Critical thinking to think beyond, analyze events and factors and solve problems;
  • Empathy to understand what others are feeling and to act accordingly;
  • Leadership to guide and motivate the team towards the fulfillment of projects;
  • Listening to understand and consider the ideas made by coworkers;
  • Motivation to stand strong and inspired even in the most difficult situations;
  • Negotiation to discuss agreements and come to mutually beneficial solutions;
  • Reliability to accurately meet deadlines and keep promises;
  • Teamwork to build strong collaborations with colleagues and achieve mutual goals;
  • Time management to effectively manage the perfect timing to achieve goals;
  • Work ethic to take responsibility, commitment and dedication to work.

9 top AI soft skills that workers should learn and train

According to digital transformation expert Bernard Marr, who advises many of the world’s best-known organizations (e.g. Forbes), there are nine soft skills workers should learn and train to stay ahead in the age of Artificial Intelligence. According to Marr, these key AI soft skills are:

  • Creativity, as machines can perfectly do many technical things, but they still can’t compete at the same level with humans when it comes to create, imagine, invent or just dream; workplaces of the future will require new and open ways of thinking, making creativity an important asset to value;
  • Analytical and Critical Thinking, as the ability to think analytically will be increasingly valuable to come up with innovative ideas or solve complex problems, all by using logic and reasoning rather than relying on instinct or emotion;
  • Emotional Intelligence, so the one’s ability to be aware of, control, and express their own emotions and be aware of those of others, which is something that even the most sophisticated machines nowadays can’t replicate; so, this factor will surely be key for future workers to stay competitive in the AI era’s world of work;
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills, so the crucial ability to successfully exchange information with people and interact clearly;
  • Active Learning with a Growth Mindset, as workers who possess such individual factors understand that their skills can be developed leading to higher results, but it needs to take on new challenges, learn from mistakes and actively seek to expand their knowledge; these skills will be in high demand especially for those positions that will directly require to handle with Artificial Intelligence systems;
  • Judgment and Decision-Making, as humans are still the ones who ultimately make the decisions, and consider all the possible implications and outcomes, while computers are simply very useful tools to make this process convenient, accurate and efficient; therefore, human-based decision-making skills will remain very important for companies, but there’s no doubt that AI is going to be essential for all those who will take responsibility to manage and lead organizations;
  • Leadership Skills, as future workplaces and organizational structures will be flexible, thus they will both require skilled and expert leader to guide and manage teams of people able to cooperate well together and leverage the great potential of machines to get things done at best;
  • Diversity and Cultural Intelligence, as workplaces nowadays are diverse and open, and will keep changing in future, so workers will need to be able to respect, understand and adapt each other and deal with different ways of being, thinking and perceiving the world; this is a very important human factor to nurture, as AI machines still struggle a lot with everything regarding the recognition of diversity and potential discrimination risks, for example concerning racism or sexism;
  • Embracing Change, as last but not least people will always need to be agile, embrace and even celebrate change, finally seen as an exciting opportunity to grow and take the path towards the future rather than as a burden to hinder.
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