4 ways to update your soft skills in an automated workplace

  • career advice
  • July 14, 2017

As automation becomes more prevalent in the workplace, it is necessary for today’s job seekers to continuously develop and update their skills in order to work successfully in the post-digital age. According to the 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research, job seekers and employees are on board, as 51 percent of respondents agreed they would be happy to retrain if they were being paid the same or more than their current salary. 

Future job growth will depend on a balance of upskilled and retrained workers operating alongside automation. While the productivity and efficiency benefits of automation are indisputable, workers should focus on improving unique human skills that artificial intelligence (AI) and robots are unable to replicate, such as complex communications, creativity and leadership competencies. 

Complex communication.

Contrary to what Sci-Fi movies may portray, research shows that regardless of strong machinery, automation is unlikely to take on human-like social and emotional intelligence. While robots are able to interpret pattern recognition and some communication, humans still have the upperhand in these areas. Simple machinery has a difficult time understanding the communications of body language, which can only be sensed from human intuition. 


Advanced automation has greatly evolved to our advantage, but these devices are limited in cognitive thought. While AI can detect a problem, humans can solve the issue with as little or extensive creativity as needed. AI helps by taking on tedious tasks, yet it’s restricted to its programming without any original thoughts on enhancing the process. This gives workers the opportunity to highlight how they apply problem solving by thinking outside the box. 

Leadership competencies.

Humans by nature crave social interaction. Workers want to collaborate, seize development opportunities and have meaningful conversations with supervisors. More often than not, you commit to a company for its inspirational leaders or leave for the lack thereof. While automation can understand and respond to simple employee questions, it does not have the delivery, experiences and ability to lead an organization. Leaders are able to practice active listening to different viewpoints in order to motivate or influence change in business. 

How to upskill your soft skills in an automated environment. 

In an increasingly digital world, employers see the value of employees who demonstrate reputable character and those who possess strong people and communication skills. It’s important to consider the following to work in collaboration with automation:
  1. Teamwork: Today, we are in the midst of a collaborative revolution, where organizations and individuals are working more cooperatively than ever before. Upskilling your teamwork skills is crucial and leveraging technology is one of the biggest driving factors that enables collaboration today.
  2. Critical thinking: Machines step in to allow employees to work smarter and it is important that workers take advantage of this free time to get curious and creative. Employees who can critically think and overcome workplace roadblocks for the company’s best interests will be indispensable. 
  3. Initiative: Engage with employers to seize training opportunities and workshops that broaden skillsets. The changing landscape should drive employees to hold more conversations on how to build expertise and transform their role through automation.
  4. Agile: It’s easy to get wrapped up in personal frustrations from the shifts in company structure. However, it’s best to be flexible and respond positively to changing expectations, needs and goals of an organization for a better chance at success.
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