How ‘Agile’ Trains Your Employees

Allison Mandel

It’s become widely accepted that strong emotional intelligence (EQ) is paramount to succeeding in the ‘future of work’. But given your existing workforce, what’s the best way to foster this set of skills?

It turns out that one emerging workforce philosophy — that’s taking the lead in enabling strategic growth — is also a great way to train employees in these ‘untrainable’ skills.

Emotional Intelligence & the Future Of Work

Jobs are changing rapidly, requiring workers to not only upskill (e.g., learn how to perform a new technical task), but to broadly adapt to new situations and requirements. As workers are thrust into mutable roles, it is critical that they be able to quickly pivot to the task at hand. Adaptability is the trait that will separate the stars from those stuck in the past, and is a critical component of high EQ.

Further driving the importance of EQ are the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on skills domains. While AI will not render human beings obsolete, increased automation of routine and repetitive tasks is going to require that workers provide uniquely human skills, such as the ability to manage workflows and contribute nuance to otherwise dichotomous calculations. Shifting focus from ‘hard skills’ to ‘soft skills’ with the rise of AI places increased importance on emotional intelligence and strategic thinking to complement automation.

The Benefits of Agile

‘Agile’ is a methodology focused on promoting cross-functional collaboration, organized based on each individual’s unique skills, in pursuit of common initiatives — rather than marrying people to ongoing roles with little strategic flexibility. Individuals still have primary responsibilities, but the organizational structure allows for them to commit time towards proactive projects that would otherwise fall outside of their foundational ‘job description’.

Adopting an Agile workflow and creating an ‘agile workforce’ in which people are able to work without the boundaries of job descriptions, organizational silos, or office walls provides an enormous competitive advantage over monolithic enterprises. By integrating principles of flexibility, your organization can adapt to changing market conditions, strategic initiatives, and unexpected surprises.

The organizational advantages of agility are becoming well known, but often neglected is the idea that agility is hugely beneficial to your employees themselves. The cross-functional collaboration inherent in agile work allows people to learn from others and requires strong soft skills as people navigate novel initiatives. Employees must adapt to new situations and exercise their soft skills regularly.

Since agile work requires your employees to significantly stretch and grow their EQ, it not only benefits your organization, but it also benefits the people within it.

How You Can Create an Agile Workforce

Incorporating agility into your workforce requires a concerted and coordinated effort, but doesn’t necessitate reformulating your entire structure. By adopting key, foundational principles and partnering with an experienced team like Catalant’s Solutions specialists, the strategic advantage and worker benefits provided by an agile workforce are within reach.

To learn more about why innovative, best-in-class companies are racing to create an agile workforce, download your copy of our 2018 research report, Reimagining Work 20/20.

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