The Rise Of AI In HR: 3 Reasons Why Soft skills Are Now More Important Than Ever

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Soft skills have always been important, whether in the workplace or in life. From an organisation’s perspective, developing employees’ soft skills is an important part of fostering a dynamic, efficient, and more productive workforce.

With the rise of remote work, automation-driven work, and countless AI-powered tools and applications, the relevance of soft skills is even more critical in today’s AI era. They are a key ingredient for both an individual’s long-term career success and organisational success.

Soft skills: What are they?

Soft skills are a set of abilities and attributes that are uniquely human. They include:
1. Social and emotional skills – communication skills, empathy, adaptability, and collaboration.
2. Cognitive skills – problem-solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, and a growth mindset.
3. Digital skills – ability to access and use digital tools and services.

Some of these Skills and attributes, especially communication skills, problem-solving skills, and adaptability, can stay relevant throughout an individual’s career and are typically applicable to almost any job role. These skills help employees to continue providing value as an individual in an organisation regardless of their job roles or the impact of AI on jobs, making them highly employable. In short, they help employees thrive in their workplace and life.

This article briefly explores how three specific skills: communication skills, problem-solving skills, and adaptability, can help employees to thrive in the AI-powered future and how these skills can be helpful when navigating AI’s impact.

Communication skills

When it comes to the list of soft skills that are most sought-after by employers, communication skills occupies an important position in the list. Take for instance, the Google’s Project Oxygen, a company-wide research initiative that Google carried out in the early 2000 and concluded in 2013. The initiative listed eight key behaviours, and one of them refers to being “a good communicator.” This is just one testament to the significance of soft skills for employees, even in workplaces that adopt cutting-edge technologies.

That is why progressive HR professionals and hiring managers today give importance to both soft skills and technical skills to reduce the risk of bad hires. A seemingly good candidate can possess excellent technical skills but may lack soft skills, an insight that, unfortunately and typically comes to the fore after hiring. As Peter Drucker rightly put it, “The toughest decisions are people decisions: hiring, firing, and promoting people. They receive the least attention and are the hardest to ‘unmake.”
In the age of AI, the ability to communicate effectively with others is not enough. Employees also need to master the skill of communicating with AI to make the most of its capabilities. For instance, working with AI tools involves crafting prompts in a clear, simple, and straightforward manner.

Although large language models (LLMs) and Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Bing, Dall-E, Midjourney, and Firefly can generate content, they still need human inputs in the form of “prompts.” A prompt is an input in natural language meant for the AI application to generate content. The prompts should be described or articulated in a clear and specific manner, and it should give context clearly. This communication skill of conversing with AI tools is crucial because the output is highly dependent on the quality of the prompt.

Problem-solving skills

In today’s AI era, not all jobs will be taken over by AI. There will always be certain jobs that require humans to work with AI tools, such as LLMs (GPT-4 by OpenAI, PaLM by Google, and Llama 2 by Meta, for example). The World Economic Forum (WEF) calls this human–machine collaboration as “augmentation.”

A recent WEF analysis report says that those jobs with the highest potential for augmentation by large language models (LLMs) require abstract reasoning, critical thinking, creativity, and complex problem-solving skills. Apparently, these are jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Some of the example job roles include Insurance Underwriters, Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers, Mathematicians, and Editors. In simple words, humans will continue to perform certain tasks, and LLMs will increase human productivity and their ability to complete their tasks.

No matter what career path an individual chooses, developing an analytical mind will take them far in today’s AI-driven world. However, honing these critical soft skills will take practice.


Adaptability, which is an individual’s ability to adjust to changes in their environment, is in-demand attribute that is an essential quality in an ever-changing work environment. It helps employees to future-proof their careers as the new and emerging AI technologies are placing new demands on people’s ability to adapt quickly and learn continuously. From an organisation’s perspective, having people with this specific quality is equally vital for the organisation’s success and to sustain a competitive edge.

A 2021 global survey on reskilling by McKinsey shows that social and emotional skills, such as empathy, leadership, and adaptability, are in demand. The share of companies saying that they are addressing interpersonal skills and empathy skills through reskilling has nearly doubled in 2020.

The results also point to a shift in the most important skills to develop – for example, empathy, leadership, and adaptability. This is also a clear indication for employees to develop these skills to future-proof their careers.


Soft skills will continue to become more vital for both individual and organisational success. As the adoption of AI becomes increasingly prevalent in various industries, it is important for employees to acquire a range of soft skills and qualities to work effectively with AI-enabled systems.

Honing these skills and traits will ensure that employees are well-prepared to navigate the rapidly evolving AI landscape. To survive and thrive in this fast-paced technological landscape, organisations must also recognise and nurture these soft skills and attributes besides technical skills.


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