Do you have any meaningful friendships with machines? Been on any good dates with a bot? Nope, thought not. Although the pace of innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) has accelerated rapidly in recent years, machines still can’t effectively replicate the skills that make us human. In the age of AI disruption, the characteristics that enable a person to interact effectively with others have become increasingly important for employment and future career success. Interpersonal skills (or soft skills) include creative problem-solving, communication, listening, understanding, teamwork, and empathy—all very different from the hard skills acquired through education and on-the-job training. Despite all of AI’s potential, it can’t replace human capabilities founded on emotional intelligence (EQ) that are needed for many roles. Now, more than ever before, it’s crucial for employers and workers to focus on refining humanity’s defining traits.
The only feasible workforce of the future is an agile one
In a Harvard Business Review article, McKinsey reports that only 8% of firms engage in core practices that support the adoption of universal AI. The researchers point out that “new applications will create fundamental and sometimes difficult changes in workflows, roles, and culture, which leaders will need to shepherd their organizations through carefully.” As AI continues to advance and redefine the modern workplace, it will be up to human workers to use emotional intelligence and other uniquely human skills to adapt and learn quickly. Employers need to create an agile culture in which learning is a part of work. Work must be assessed on a routine basis to understand which activities can be automated using AI, and what skills people need to hone to execute the tasks that rely on social and creative intelligence. Organizational learning and development strategies will need to shift too.
Overcoming the EQ and creative problem-solving skills gap in the era of AI
A survey by the Dale Carnegie Institute asked senior leaders which soft skills would be most important to enable workers to work successfully alongside AI. It then asked all respondents whether they’d received training in those areas in the past three years. The results revealed a significant gap between the skills required and skills trained:
- 69% of senior leaders say communication skills are vital, but only 40% of respondents say they’ve received communication skills training recently
- 64% of leaders emphasize creativity skills, while only 30% of respondents have received creativity skills training in the past three years
- Similarly, just 27% have received critical thinking training
- Only 19% have received emotional intelligence (EQ) training
For any organization with the future in mind, life-long learning should be a key strategic goal. Both employees and senior leaders need to commit to prioritizing reskilling, upskilling, and career development as essential elements of the future workforce. In the age of AI, many of these opportunities will take the form of EQ and creative problem-solving skills development.
The benefits of AI depend heavily on people’s attitudes towards it. To feel positive and confident about the potential of AI, people need to believe they can adapt and develop skills that will enable them to continue to be valued in parallel with new AI initiatives. That’s why organizations need to align their training strategies to develop EQ and creative problem-solving skills that deliver unique value in an era of AI—failure will inhibit AI’s widespread adoption by the workforce.
Empower your people in the age of AI
Training your team is also a necessary investment in your company’s future. One best practice for developing EQ and creative problem-solving skills is to use highly contextual scenario simulations that mimic real-world challenges and offer opportunities to experiment with complex decisions. Blueline’s immersive learning experiences model sophisticated challenges with multiple feasible solutions—where the best solution is often gray. Presenting learners with challenging dilemmas in realistic contexts that require them to “play in the gray” accelerates adoption and application. This is how learning really happens, and behavior change begins. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a private demonstration for your company.