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Professional Soft Skills for a Digital Workplace in 2022

Professional soft skills have always been valuable, but the move to a hybrid office underscores the importance of these skills. Teamwork, communication, flexibility and a strong work ethic are just as important as technology solutions that enable remote working. If leaders want to improve the employee experience, they need to hone their own job soft skills and help employees hone theirs.

With the rise of hybrid and remote jobs, having the right soft skills is highly valued by potential employers and gives job seekers a competitive edge. Some professional soft skills may have already been learned before the move to remote work, while other skills may have been less valued in an office environment. In some cases, robust technology is needed so that employees can fully demonstrate their soft skills for the benefit of the entire organization.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE WORKPLACE

Keeping distributed teams connected and engaged is one of the key professional soft skills anyone in a leadership role needs to cultivate. A study conducted in early 2021 by Gartner® found that “current virtualized work design models are detrimental to employee well-being and productivity and that to succeed in a hybrid future, organizations must stop duplicating virtualized work practices. office and move to a human-centric model.”1 Leaders must take an empathy-based approach, moving from evaluating performance by inputs to evaluating performance by outcomes.

Leaders also need to cultivate a tolerance for increased flexibility by giving remote employees greater control over how, when, and where they work. They should also enable “intentional” collaboration through asynchronous work rather than relying on desktop-centric design that requires chance encounters in person for innovation to occur. Leaders must resist the urge to book more meetings to bring employees together and understand how they can manage and communicate with teams knowing that everyone works differently while remote.

The requirement for increased flexibility also applies to employees. For everyone to get the most out of more flexible work arrangements, employees should respect their coworkers’ preferences for workload distribution, vacation planning, and other things that require teamwork.

PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION AND PRESENTATION SKILLS

Many soft job skills still involve how you work with others, even if you don’t see your colleagues in person. Professional soft skills, such as the ability to navigate and manage relationships, are especially important if you manage projects and people remotely. You also need to be able to connect and engage with colleagues from all departments if you want to successfully move a deliverable forward, whether it’s a big strategic project for the future of the business. or ensuring that employees and suppliers are paid on time.

While effective leaders will seek to minimize unnecessary meetings, there will be occasions when meetings are necessary. One of the most important soft skills is presenting to a group, which now means, in the new hybrid remote work environment, proficiency in video conferencing delivery. Presenting and participating effectively in a remote meeting requires its own set of soft skills. Whatever your role in the organization, always keep the public in mind. Since video conferencing is a visual medium, leverage available technology to tell a story and encourage interactivity to keep attendees engaged.

Making sure you’re well prepared for a meeting is critical to success. This means ensuring that you are aware of the materials needed and that you share any important information with decision makers in advance to enable timely decisions. Setting – and maintaining – reasonable deadlines for individual agenda items and entire meetings is also an important skill to hone.

TECHNOLOGY ENABLES PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

Presenting via video conferencing is just one of many professional soft skills that intertwine with technology. The best solutions allow you to select the right platform and channels to communicate with employees and support innovation through collaboration. However, professional soft skills such as adaptability, flexibility, and leadership with empathy are just as critical as the technology deployed to support remote working and hybrid office.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

1 Gartner, Gartner HR Research Shows Organizations Are Eroding Employee Performance and Wellbeing with Virtualized Desktop-Centric DesignMary Baker and Teresa Zuech, May 2021.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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