Wherever you stand on the debate about AI and what it means for the future of work, the fact is that the landscape is changing faster than ever before. Recent mass layoffs are stark proof of that.
Human skills – the ones that can’t be mimicked by tech, or work to harness the power of tech and put it to positive use – are increasingly the holy grail.
And facilitation is the ultimate suite of human skills - making you an irreplaceable force in any organization you’re a part of.
Yes, we’re facilitators, and bias is dangerous. We always need hard data to back up our ideas.
So let’s look at the facts:
The Research: The Skills proven to future proof your career
This fascinating study by McKinsey spanned 18,000 participants in 15 countries, and analysed which roles which will be lost, as well as emerge, due to the rise of AI, robotics and tech automation.
Based on this, experts compiled a list of 56 high-level skills which will be essential in the future workplace.
What we instantly noticed about the list is that the Cognitive, Interpersonal and Self-leadership sections read like a checklist of the exact skills facilitators learn in training.
The key conclusion of the report is that these skills apply to everyone, “no matter the sector in which they work or their occupation”. And they’re proven to lead to greater employment opportunities, higher incomes and increased job satisfaction.
But what do these skills look in practice? We’ve broken down 9 key challenges for the future world of work, and how facilitation skills equip you to deal with them, for a truly future proof career.
Challenge 1: Increasingly complex problems
Starting with the umbrella issue at the centre of the challenges of the modern workplace. Put simply, as tech advances, and the rate of advancement speeds up, every obstacle becomes increasingly more complex.
If you compare the methods and roles involved in industries 50 years ago, to the intricate processes and teams needed to develop software, it’s clear that we’re dealing with a totally new level of complexity. Requiring a new level of sophistication in the types of cognitive skills we need.
Future proof facilitation skills: Structured problem solving, logical reasoning, prioritization, collaboration
Challenge 2: Increasing need for innovation and agility
In this rapidly changing business landscape, companies must constantly innovate to stay competitive. And the same applies to the job market.
The concept of agile working has gone beyond the buzzword stage to become the gold standard for innovative companies. Out with unproductive meetings, and in with interactive workshops that allow space for open dialogue, brainstorming, and ideation.
To have a successful career will mean being equipped with the skills to facilitate these processes, manage change, and ensure that teams are working effectively and efficiently.
Future proof facilitation skills: Agile thinking, adaptability, creativity and imagination, driving change & innovation, breaking with the status quo
Challenge 3: Remote and hybrid work environments
With the rise of remote and hybrid work, effective facilitation is essential in bridging the gap between physical and digital spaces. Team members with facilitation skills ensure that everyone, regardless of location, is engaged and contributing to the conversation.
Future proof facilitation skills: Inspiring trust, digital collaboration, empowering others
Challenge 4: Cross-functional collaboration
Following on from challenge 1, the more innovative we become, the more players are involved in our daily work. Siloes will (hopefully!) become a thing of the past and involving people from different backgrounds, departments and even different organizations in collaborative processes will be the norm.
Future proof facilitation skills: Empathy, motivating different personalities, resolving conflicts, aligning on common goals
Challenge 5: Diversity and Inclusion
As workplaces become more diverse, facilitation skills become essential in ensuring that every voice is heard, respected, and valued. The concept of psychological safety is increasingly significant. Facilitators’ role is to foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives.
Future proof facilitation skills: Fostering inclusiveness, adopting a different perspective, understanding biases, empathy
Challenge 6: Conflict resolution
Following from challenges 4 and 5, more players and more diverse points of view, means more potential for conflict.
Conflict itself is not negative. It can be a powerful agent for innovation and change, as long as the right people are in place to resolve it in a constructive way.
Trained facilitators are equipped with strong conflict resolution skills that navigate teams through disagreements and tensions in a way that promotes understanding, respect, and positive outcomes.
Future proof facilitation skills: Conflict resolution, active listening, sociability, managing different personalities
Challenge 7: Employee engagement and productivity
Studies show that employee engagement and productivity is one of the top issues preoccupying leaders and affecting business results.
Facilitation skills are all about creating an engaging work environment that motivates employees and increases productivity. They can guide teams in setting clear goals, establishing effective communication channels, and creating a supportive work culture.
Future proof facilitation skills: Organizational awareness, inclusivity, role modelling, ownership and decisiveness
Challenge 8: Sustainability and corporate responsibility
In the context of environmental, health and social crises, sustainability and corporate responsibility has switched from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘must-have’ for top organizations.
These issues are sensitive and involve multiple moving parts, perspectives and variables, which is why facilitation skills are essential in guiding discussions and decision-making.
Future proof facilitation skills: Asking the right questions, synthesizing messages, translating knowledge to different contexts, work-plan development
Challenge 9: Continuous learning and upskilling
Through challenges 1-8, we’ve seen just how rapidly the current workplace is changing, and how new obstacles are constantly popping up.
When you have facilitation skills you not only develop an openminded curious mindset for yourself, but you have the ability to encourage a learning culture in your organization, and pass on your agile skills to others.
This ripple effect is precisely what attracts employers to candidates that are equipped with the full suite of facilitation skills.
Future proof facilitation skills: Ability to learn, achievement orientation, seeking relevant information, coping with uncertainty
We hope you got some great takeaways from today’s article on skills you’ll need to future-proof your career.
Looping back to the same McKinsey report from above, our summary of what you need to stand out in the future workplace are these three points highlighted by the researchers:
- Add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines
- Operate effectively in a digital environment
- Continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations
And the great news is that every skill we’ve discussed here is proved to lead to greater employment opportunities, higher incomes, and increased job satisfaction.
if you’d like to add a few more of these tools to your kit, check out our next Facilitation Training dates – remote and in-person options.