Automation and AI – Does your Staff Have the Right Skills to Stay Competitive?

The McKinsey study “Skill shift – Automation and the future of the workforce“ of May 2018 discloses: Until 2030 tasks that require emotional and social competencies will increase by 24% (in 2016 it was 119 billion hours worked, in 2030 it will be 147.5 billion). That means that these skills will be used in 22% of all work!

How does your company deal with this? The McKinsey Global Institute says a “key to companies’ future success will be in providing continuous learning options and instilling a culture of lifelong learning throughout the organization”. With the increasing emphasis on cross-functional and teamwork in agile environments, digital, emotional and social competencies will be decisive to a companies’ success. Thus, one in four of the 3,000 business leaders questioned for the report says the most important change in the next years will be the provision of more and broader training for their staff.

Onboarding – doing it right!

That means that it is not enough to simply hire new staff with specific talents or technical skills. From the beginning the company will have to promote learning agility – e. g. the ability to learn continuously and quickly – and higher order skills. Some of them are effective communication, leadership and critical thought. This is the only way to retain professionals in the long term that already are hard to find now. Because one thing is clear: their tasks will change within a few years after hiring them! Onboarding that promotes exactly these skills provides the basis for effective and continuous staff development. (Read a short description of our programs here: DEX Programs)

Learning agility – use it or lose it!

To continuously retrain and learn new things demands curiosity and mental flexibility. This flexibility is like a muscle that only stays supple by stretching it again and again. Luckily, this means that on one hand learning agility can be learned and is not “innate”. On the other, it means that only by continuously dealing with new things can you create and maintain the necessary mental flexibility. And this starts with an onboarding program that trains much more than just company values and compliance related topics.

Critical analysis and application of learnings at work

From the beginning it is mandatory to support staff to critically think about the givens inside the company: whether they are processes, functions or internal beliefs. This works best in exchange with others. In discussions, projects or practice groups new thoughts are formed. These in turn create a deeper understanding or even innovation. But only by applying the learnings in the workflow or experiment with new things at work they become relevant to the employee. And without this personal relevance, nobody learns anything at all.

Emotional and social competencies in New Work – more important than ever

Artificial intelligence and automation increasingly turn physical and routine tasks superfluous. But in a digital world dominated by physical distance, emotional and social competencies are becoming more significant. To understand and lead communication via video and voice calls, email or across borders is much more difficult than doing so in direct contact with the others. To avoid misunderstandings – and consequently, the waste of time, energy and resources – relationships need to be maintained more consciously and communication be clearer than with those people you meet in the office or in your spare time every day.

Trust is the basis of all constructive relationships – and needs direct contact

That means that there need to be regular occasions to meet people face-to-face. In the New Work environment usually this doesn’t happen often enough. But the less this happens, the more important is an intensive, positive experience of these moments.

Hence, our onboarding program “Join the Crew” and all further development programs are constructed around face-to-face workshops. Through experiential learning team activities, we create strong emotional anchors. These then can be recalled long after the workshop and support the building of mutual trust – even if later something goes wrong at work.

Supporting digital competencies in the learning environment

Whether “digital natives“ or employees that grew up without smartphones: all of them constantly need to learn new things and deal with new technologies. The broader ones’ own set of experiences, the easier it is to transfer them to new settings. That is one more reason why we use our learning platform  “DEX Portal“ in all our programs: It offers flexible, individual learning, as well as the exchange with others and – maybe most importantly – the active co-creation of the learning process and environment. From the first moment onwards, we thus support the most important skills needed for the future: learning agility, digital, social and emotional competencies.


If you have any questions or interest, please contact us at:, Munich – Germany +49 (89) 388 99 749, Cologne – Germany +49 (221) 169 18467