There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and the coming years and decades will likely bring more disruption and less stability. Technological innovations are revolutionising many workplaces; political attitudes are polarising almost by the day; climate change is going to drive massive migration and displacement unless we turn our collective attention to mitigating against it. Change is everywhere, and it certainly isn’t limited to tech, although that’s very often how it’s presented in the media. Sure, AI and machine learning in the workplace are cutting edge in the workplace right now, but if we widen our gaze, we can see that change and uncertainty is on the march in so many different ways worldwide.
In the middle of all this, our workplaces are shifting under our feet too. 88% of organisations reported last year that they’re moving to a flatter, less hierarchical structure. This isn’t a negative change: it means that decisions can be made quickly, on the ground, where it counts. It means that organisations can become more responsive to changing customer needs, and shapeshift quickly to deliver what’s required. Most importantly, it also reflects the importance of human skills such as teamwork, collaboration, negotiation and building a range of important relationships.
That’s an interesting development, isn’t it? That in the 21st century, when we all expected to travel to work by hoverboard and only interact with holograms instead of real people, humanity is still what counts most in our world. The resurgence of, and new respect for, the skills that only humans can bring, in a world that relentlessly trends towards the digital, is fascinating. But it’s also unsurprising in the light of nature of the disruption touched on above. In a world that often feels trepidatious, complex and fast-moving, small wonder that we put our faith in what we know.
In the course of our work over the last two and a half decades, we’ve shared Insights Discovery Personal Profiles with almost five million people. That’s hundreds of thousands of people each year who share with us their hopes, their plans, their strengths, their challenges, their potential, and their amazing capacity for growth. So are we surprised to see human skills being front and centre again in organisations? No. We’re just glad that the world seems to be catching up to what we already know: that humanity is irreplaceably wonderful, thrillingly diverse, and the very best way to navigate a world that’s ever-changing.
If you’re the leader of an organisation, perhaps you are completely connected to the potential of your people – or perhaps you’re lost in strategy, preparing for yet more technological innovations in your industry, or just focusing on the numbers to ensure you stay afloat. It happens – after all, you’re only human yourself. But if you’ve begun to think of the people in your company less as a thriving community and more as an operational resource, then we’d suggest it might be time to reset your vision. Technologies will always have a limited shelf life, policies and processes can always be changed, but humanity will always live up to its potential if you give it room to flourish. That’s what we’ve learned in 25 years of people development, and that’s what we can teach you, too.