The writing has been on the wall for some time. It just took the disruptions of Covid-19 to accentuate what many companies already knew: Business as usual just won’t cut it anymore. Employees increasingly demand challenging and meaningful work, in an environment of their choosing.
These demands, coupled with competition on a global scale, are triggering what Deloitte Consulting in its 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report defines as a ‘boundaryless world’- a place where much work defies any traditional job descriptions, where there may be no brick and mortar buildings and where workers don’t fit the description of traditional employees.
Working in a Boundary-Less World
If Deloitte’s predictions materialize, job candidates who are SEL-trained will be in the driver’s seat. With a value system that favors reimagination and critical thinking over cost and productivity, SEL-skilled individuals who collaborate well, are accountable for their efforts and enjoy working in an environment where creativity and risk-taking are rewarded will be in high demand.
Consider this message that Deloitte’s report offers:
“To lead in this boundaryless world, organizations and workers should activate their curiosity, looking at each decision as an experiment that will expedite impact and generate new insights. Differentiation and winning will come not from always believing you must have the right answer at the start, but by being able to challenge orthodoxies, operate with humility and empathy, and learn from new information so you can refine as quickly as possible.”
Businesses are Hungry for SEL Skills
In this “boundary-less world”, SEL-skilled workers will also have a competitive edge when it comes to their ability to visualize how to redefine industries. This ability, says Josh Bersin in his Global Workforce Intelligence Project workforce trend report Redesigning Jobs, Organizations and Work, will be in demand as a wide spectrum of industries pivot to new models of remote and hybrid work, human-centered leadership, diversity and innovation.
“As companies struggle to recruit, develop, and retain people,” says Bersin, ”they face a massive need for entirely new skills, new career pathways, new employment models, new organizational structures, and new HR practices.”
Problem Solvers Are in Demand
Such rapid changes come at a cost and workers who can solve problems and resolve conflicts within such a vast array of moving parts will stand out. That’s one of the key takeaways from a paper given at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos in late 2022. In “Education 4.0: Here are 3 skills that students will need for the jobs of the future” adaptability, collaboration and problem solving are highlighted as the critical skills needed to bridge legacy business models with emerging ones. Here again, job candidates, trained in SEL curricula that emphasize these same skills, will have the competitive edge.
In many ways, the future will be a ‘people-controlled world’, says business consultant Accenture. The new power dynamics will center around employees who can create new connections and engage others in a world that is in constant upheaval. With its emphasis on building strong diverse relationships, investing in SEL training makes great business sense.
Patricia Kutza is a partner (with Connie Payne) in DGMS & Co. Their company offers books and workshops based on social and emotional learning principles to schools, labor workforce units and senior living communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.