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Change has come rapidly to the workplace. The biggest legacy from Covid-19 is the transformation in Employers and Employees attitudes to remote work. In many instances working remotely proved to be an experiment that went better than expected. With vaccinations and global mobility on the increase, everyone is trying to work out where to go from here. Companies are adjusting and trying to work out what is best for their people and for their company. Some leaders believe that everyone working in the physical office is best whilst others are open to working from home options. Conversely many people now believe it is their right to dictate where they work and working remotely is their preference. Why would you want to leave the comfort of your home for city life?

The suburbs offer a perceived safe haven compared with the current chaos of Auckland’s CBD. It is becoming challenging for many leaders to navigate this minefield. Emotionally intelligent leadership helps. Businesses led by people who are emotionally intelligent and with strong skills in communication appreciate this dilemma and are focusing on the key skills essential to future proof their business. As a recruiter I see already that being human is the key differentiator. Many businesses are struggling to find highly skilled people with the right behaviours and attitudes. The market is tight and tightening daily. With our borders closed, how do we meet the demand for highly skilled people now? I believe it is time for everyone who employs people to focus on the skills that the workforces of the future are going to need – a workforce that is astute in communication, social perceptiveness, mental elasticity, critical thinking, collaboration, complex problem-solving skills, creativity and emotional intelligence. The good news is that many of these soft skills can be developed in people but to be impactful it takes time, experience and capability.

Bold leadership and acting when hiring is critical to bringing about positive change. The days when our workplaces were merely a physical space with regular hours has gone. Our world is going through rapid transformation. Many people are enjoying the ability to work remotely and bring home commitments into their daily lives. But what will happen when the delayed AI developments become the key focus of many business leaders? What will happen to those people who have not shown flexibility around their work commitments? Where will they stand post pandemic? What will happen to those who do not have the in-demand soft skills? Soft skills are essential to the future of work. Assessing soft skills must become, if it is not already, an essential part of everyone’s hiring process. It is expected that post this pandemic we are going to see a significant shift between humans and machines when it comes to existing work tasks. Every manager, myself included, must ask – what soft skills are needed in our future workplace? Social and emotional skills are on the rise and core in this group are collaboration and empathy. Innovation and creativity fuel the growth and development of companies and often these ideas bounce off one another in a group setting. Yes, it can be achieved virtually via Teams, WebEx and Zoom meetings but often a group setting where people interact face-to face is more successful.

Are you ready?

Robbie Quinn


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