30 August 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Organisations can keep employees aligned and engaged by investing in the development of soft skills, according to a World Economic Forum economist.
Saadia Zahidi said that "uniquely human skills, such as collaboration, creativity and innovation, will become more important than ever before over the next few years".
By 2022, nearly half of the average worker's day-to-day duties will look profoundly different, said Zahidi.
She cited analytical thinking, complex problem-solving, active learning and technology and design as key skills that will be in demand and which are vital for shaping workers more aligned with a company's values.
Zahidi, managing director and head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum, describes the current era of work as "a coming-together of digital, physical and biological systems leading to the rise of machine learning; the applicability of technology across many different fields; and the creation of wholly new fields, markets and sectors".
Zahidi has studied these forces within large multinational companies across developed and developing economies. She contends that the current era has unfolded exponentially faster than the previous three industrial revolutions, which were defined by mechanisation.
Harvard psychologist Susan David also believes that companies looking to build organisational alignment should start with individual alignment, which is when employees feel a sense of clarity and connection between their values and day-to-day work.
Her comments were part of a research project by collaboration hub company Slack and market research firm GlobalWebIndex.
Both companies surveyed 17,000 knowledge workers across 10 countries in the first quarter of this year. See earlier coverage from Facilitate here.