Human skills for the digital era


How do our experts see the future skills needed for professional efficiency?

By Cegos Team 

In an increasingly digital world, it’s critical that training companies are agile to keep up with the learners’ needs and expectations and, perhaps, anticipate them. As digital transformation continues to shape the “new normal”, what are the key competencies for professional efficiency?

Are training needs the same across generations?

To answer these questions, Cegos Group gathered a group of 7 experts from 5 countries on 2 continents (Cegos Expert club), only to conclude that these were perhaps not the right questions.

Maybe we should be asking: What professional efficiency skills need to be developed to include all forms of intelligence and use them to stay focused in a growing, challenging environment?

Don’t get lost in the generations

According to Susana André Alves, Psychological Coach, trainer and University Professor in Portugal, younger generations strive for greater autonomy in work perhaps to give them time to pursue a purpose, and meaningful life. However, according to Gregory Gallic, Offer and expertise manager at Cegos France, most of the time, this purpose is found outside work as they don’t find work meaningful. According to Dan Porto, Head of Coaching & Mentoring at Crescimemtum in Brazil, this directly impacts engagement rates and, in turn, the management and leadership skills and team building approaches.

As per Chiara Barbieri, DEIB practice leader at Cegos Italia, all generations are experiencing the same challenges, coming from a complex context. The pace is accelerating at exponential speed, and fast pace is a problem for every human being in general. Keeping attention and focus on important goals is becoming something complicated to do. In this context, L&D solutions have to adapt to the learning habits of younger generations.

Ricardo Martins, CEO at Cegoc in Portugal, said “It’s true that the new generation learns in a completely different way. They go to YouTube and get all they need without necessarily asking for anything. They tend to be a little more proactive but are less social.” This opened new avenues to one of the most traditional topics inside professional efficiency: How to build relationships and communicate effectively at work? Ricardo continued “We need people that are able to reach out and communicate. Therefore, professional efficiency training should address these issues: develop in each generation the ability to understand the other’s language and give tools to mutually decode each other’s motivations and triggers. We can go even further and implement cross-generational gentlemen worshipper and put each generation to teach the skills they master.”

But again, communication skills for inter-generational dialogue are not entirely a new theme. The challenge in recent times is to communicate with machines, chatGPT, and its relatives. According to Gregory Gallic, the question of how to communicate with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer an eccentricity. It’s the new hot topic in professional efficiency: Generative AI and the revolution of Assistant of Productivity and with the skills of AI core responsibility, but also human skills to communicate to AI (Ricardo Martins). According to Dan Porto, we need to determine how to ask the right questions and, of course, the ethics and the compliance around this new growing form of collective intelligence.

Professional efficiency in a hybrid context: connect and include

Fátima Gonçalves, Head of Talent & Innovation Head of Learning & Development Solutions at Cegoc in Portugal, stated, “Professional efficiency in a hybrid context is about being connected and included. These will be the major drivers of professional efficiency in the short term.”

“When your context is hybrid, but it’s also going to be a multiverse, the question is, why should I go to the office to do the same work I could do better and more effectively if I was at home? It’s almost as if the possibility of being connected online at any time makes people demand more from their human interactions and professional life. It’s no exception. What can make my trip to the office worthwhile?” (Ricardo Martins).

In this sense, the connect concept is much broader than the digital connection. It’s the collaborative connection with the company and the group, but it’s also focused on the self. Today, it’s not easy to keep the attention and focus (Chiara Barberi), and also inner resilience is something that we really need to be able to incorporate within the solutions we offer (Nicki Spencer, Key Account Manager at Cegos UK).

Being quiet is not less dangerous than quitting. We, as individuals and professionals, are distant, distracted, and demotivated. To bring us back to earth, to others and our company, active listening is really a competence we have to work on as individuals (Dan Porto). On top of that, organisations should open the way to foster empathy within the team (Ricardo Martins) and create trusted relationships as well (Nicki Spencer).

It's important to keep in mind that individuals still struggle in this new hybrid normal (Susana André Alves). If it’s true that by now, most have already mastered a specific set of skills required to work remotely, it’s no less true that a new work-life balance is still being redefined under an increased sense of urgency (Dan Porto). People are becoming slaves of their agendas (Susana André Alves). Again, these are the traditional topics of professional efficiency: time management, prepare and conduct meetings, and set priorities in a new context (Gregory Gallic).

Further to the above, it’s no surprise how critical it is to create a safe and inclusive environment (Nicki Spencer). While inclusion and diversity play a major role in organisational success in the BANI world and are widely considered a requirement of civility and humanity, they are not still fully acquired and, for sure, cannot be taken for granted.
In the same way a hybrid environment could foster inclusion, it could also contribute to perpetuating inequalities of access to work and education; and training may tip the scale in the right direction.

The future of professional efficiency

Professional efficiency is constantly changing because technology speeds up every interaction. However, people can lose track of efficiency and also of themselves.

The world where we live shows us a sort of paradox: As technology becomes more powerful and widespread, empowered human skills are even more relevant and can make a real difference.

Therefore, we can find the classic skills related to a good personal organisation in addition to new and more complex skills.

From the different contributions and insightful dialogue in the Expert Club, two main essential skills emerged:

  1. The ability to communicate and learn with all
    o Inter-generational communication skills in to decode each other’s motivations and triggers
    o AI language, for chatbots and other AI-powered assistants, and integrate it in daily work

  2. Skills to connect with yourself and others
    o The ability to be present and focused to know how to set priorities and manage multitasking, attention, and stress in a fast-paced environment.
    o Foster inclusion and teamwork across different functions and locations, promoting a sense of belonging through a shared set of values and goals.

In the near future, these are the competences which will empower professional efficiency. Should you wish to find out how Cegos can help you develop professional efficiency within your teams, please contact us.