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Future of work

Communication skills are key to an ever-digitised future workplace


Peter Russell

Director, Research and Development, UNLEASH

In just a decade, technology has taken the world by storm, forever changing the world of work. Soft skills have taken a back seat in the rush to embrace change at a time when they have never been more needed.

Change and transformation won’t happen unless there is an effective and clear deployment of empathetic communication. Soft skills are key to workplace change.

The digital technology revolution has created seemingly limitless opportunities and benefits for society, organisations and individuals. Today, we find it hard to choose from the plethora of applications and technologies that offer improvements in efficiency, consumer relations and employee performance.

How we use application software and our devices is mostly a matter of choice. Learning to manage our usage of the technology at our finger tips however is not as easy as it seems.

For organisations implementing new ways of working with digital technology this can be a huge challenge. Innovation and agility have become watchwords for organisational transformation, but achieving that transformation fast and effectively before the next wave of technology development happens can create stresses.

Transformation needs soft skills

People, not technology, are the real catalyst required for change to happen in an organisation. We need individuals in our organisations adept at written communication, whose skills include a high degree of humanity and compassion, and who really understand the art of conversation to go beyond the text or chat messages used in today’s workplaces. 

For the new generation of leaders and managers in business, these are going to be critical skills, and they will be skills in high demand from employers of their employees.

In the fast-moving, always-on world of work, soft skills are becoming harder to find and cultivate, and they are vital at a time when often communication with colleagues at the next physical or remote desk is by short form message.

Communication with tomorrow’s workforce

People entering today’s workforce are seeking self actualisation and personal development in their work. Security of belonging is also a growing demand from younger employees at a time when, paradoxically, people feel the need to change jobs every two years to demonstrate ambition and breadth of experience.

Change and transformation won’t work unless there is an effective and clear deployment of empathetic communication; ask any seasoned change manager. Now more than ever, organisations need employee buy-in to stay agile and respond rapidly to change and disruption.

At UNLEASH, we know from the many conversations we have on a daily basis with influencers, CHROs and CEOs, that soft skills are essential. The third decade of the 21st century is almost here, and technology will change work, society and how it is governed. There has never been a greater need for knowledgeable workers who have the required soft skills to communicate.

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