Driving a future-fit strategy has become a top priority for most organisations, aggressively putting systems and processes in place to remain competitive and relevant in this constantly changing business climate.
Research has shown that one of the key drivers of a future-fit strategy is Learning. If this past year has taught us anything, learning is at the heart of thriving in the next normal. Employees must possess the requisite skills to execute and deliver on company strategies and constantly unlearn, relearn, and reskill to meet the requirements of the future of work, which is now.
One of the key questions most business leaders ask is, what skills must employees build and possess to lead in this changing world of work? Should our attention be focused only on building technical skills, or should it tilt significantly to power skills?
What differentiates Technical Skills and Power Skills?
Organisations have over the years seen power skills as something inherent and regarded them as pleasant to have. But for businesses to thrive and survive, attention and priority must be given to skills like Communication, Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Creativity, Management, Persuasion, and Agility. These skills allow organisations to use their technical skills and knowledge effectively and efficiently. Studies have shown that power skills boost productivity and retention by 12% and deliver a 250% return on investment . Emotional Intelligence skills, for instance, make up nearly 90% of the attributes that set high-performing leaders apart. (Lauren Landry, 2019)
According to Josh Bersin, the ‘Skills of the Future are not Technical but behavioural.’ They are the essential skills in our companies. We must build them, nourish them, and continuously evolve them with vigour. Without them, organisations will struggle to succeed, and developing them takes a life-long commitment.
Why call Power Skills’ Soft’?
Power skills are the non-technical skills that enable employees to navigate the work environment, interact effectively with others, manage, solve problems, perform well and achieve their goals. They are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, personality traits, attitudes, social and emotional intelligence that enable employees to work and interact well with others. Unlike most hard skills, which are easier to quantify and learn, power skills are immeasurable and often challenging to teach. Skills such as Adaptability, Creative thinking, Work Ethics, Time Management, Communication, Problem-solving, and Critical thinking are essential for the long-term success of any organisation. However, according to hiring managers, it is often difficult to find candidates with these skills set.
If Power Skills are challenging to build and take extreme time and effort to obtain, why are these Skills regarded as Soft? According to Josh Bersin, “soft skills” should be renamed “power skills.” This will remove the perception and assumption about these skills and make leaders and HR managers appreciate the fact that these skills are critical to the growth of every organisation and must be taken seriously.
What should organisations do to build these Power Skills?
Succeeding in this constantly changing business climate requires business and HR leaders to make a deliberate and conscious effort in providing tools and platforms that will enable the reskilling of their workforce. Future-proofing the business requires constant upskilling and making the workforce future-ready. This can only be achieved through continuous learning, as these power skills require conscious, deliberate, and constant effort to build.
At pcl., we believe Power skills are very crucial to the continuous growth of every organisation, that is why we have partnered with world class content providers like Skillsoft to provide organisations with vast libraries of content that addresses the various learning needs of the workforce. These platforms allows for flexible, on-demand learning experience and foster easy collaborations.
It is time for business leaders to stop calling these skills’ Soft, and start seeing them as the Power skills that enable practical business function and foster effective collaboration amongst the workforce. Therefore, we should invest in learning experience platforms that provide vast contents that allow continuous learning to build these Power Skills effectively.