New study finds AI makes employers value soft skills more

The recent controvery at OpenAI highlighted the tension between those who believe AI holds boundless potential and those who are cautious about its impact on our future. This debate is echoing in workplaces worldwide as companies grapple with integrating new AI tools into their everyday operations.

The integration of AI in the workplace presents a compelling proposition. Proponents see it as a catalyst for enhanced efficiency and streamlined workflows. However, some stakeholders remain apprehensive about potential job displacement, the stifling of creative thinking, and a shift towards a more technology-centric work environment. 

The Symbiotic Relationship Between AI and Human Skills

Concerns regarding a future dominated by cold, robotic AI are understandable. However, I posit that AI integration will necessitate a more anthropocentric approach to work. Recent studies conducted within the AI field indicate a growing emphasis on the importance of “soft skills” in the coming era. These interpersonal competencies, crucial for fostering positive organizational cultures and facilitating effective collaboration, are likely to become even more valuable assets. The anticipated synergy between AI and human talent suggests that AI will not supplant human roles, but rather augment them, ultimately fostering a stronger bonds and mutual trust among colleagues.

To gain insights into the evolving skill set required for an AI-driven workplace, a recent study surveyed nearly 700 business leaders across diverse industries and job roles in the United States, Germany, India, Malaysia, and other regions. This study complements our ongoing conversations with industry leaders and communication experts throughout the past year, providing a comprehensive perspective on how generative AI is reshaping the work environment.

As workers and businesses scramble to stay competitive, some are beefing up their technical skills. The research suggests that employees and companies should instead prioritize developing soft skills, especially around ethics and interpersonal communication.


The future necessitates a shift in perspective towards individual responsibility in the ethical application of AI. As technology integrates further into our daily lives, we will all be called upon to navigate the complexities of machine-mediated interactions with colleagues, clients, and customers. This requires a balance between leveraging technology’s effectiveness and maintaining authenticity and trust. Furthermore, fostering discussions within organizations around privacy concerns, algorithmic bias, and the impact of AI on human relationships and jobs will be crucial.

A recent study exploring the impact of AI on workforce skills yielded a surprising yet crucial finding: business leaders overwhelmingly identified integrity as the most valuable attribute for the AI-integrated workplace. Nearly 80% of frequent AI users anticipated a growing emphasis on this quality. This prioritization of integrity extends beyond individual employees to encompass strong moral character and virtue. These findings align with the notion that successful AI implementation requires ethical oversight grounded in trustworthy leadership.

Cultivating Trust and Ethical AI Integration:

To cultivate a culture of trust and ethical AI adoption, organizations should proactively facilitate open discourse regarding the ethical implications of AI. This dialogue will pave the way for the establishment of robust policies grounded in the organization’s established human-centered values.

Engaging with Ethical Frameworks:

Workers and leaders alike can benefit from approaching AI issues through the lens of well-established ethical frameworks such as virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. By familiarizing themselves with these frameworks, they can gain a deeper understanding of the ethical considerations surrounding AI use.

Learning from External Resources:

Organizations can further strengthen their ethical AI approach by staying abreast of responsible AI principles being developed by leading entities such as governments, non-profit organizations, research centers, and industry groups. Additionally, exploring how other organizations are navigating the ethical challenges of AI can provide valuable insights and best practices.

Transparency and Shared Responsibility in AI Integration:

Ethical complexities surrounding AI implementation necessitate a commitment to transparency from leadership. Leaders must openly discuss the potential impact of AI on employees, particularly job displacement concerns that erode trust. Research suggests that transparency fosters confidence among employees, leading them to believe that leadership has their best interests at heart.

A Collaborative Approach:

One impactful example of transparency involves the creation of an AI task force. By forming committees comprised of employees with diverse expertise, organizations demonstrate that they value employee perspectives and actively integrate them into AI policy decisions. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility for ensuring ethical AI implementation.


The Human Touch in an AI-Driven Workplace: Why Oral Communication Thrives

The rise of AI-mediated communication presents a fascinating paradox. While technology facilitates rapid, streamlined interactions, it may paradoxically heighten the value of genuine human connection. Imagine a future where AI drafts error-free emails for routine communication, freeing us to dedicate face-to-face interactions for sensitive topics that require trust and authenticity. This shift necessitates a recalibration of communication skills, placing a greater premium on oral communication.

The Evolving Landscape of Communication Skills:

A recent study revealed a significant trend: 72% of frequent AI users believe oral communication will become more valuable in the AI age. This contrasts with past researches where written and oral communication were viewed as equally important. The rationale for this shift lies in AI’s growing proficiency in crafting human-like written content. As AI takes over routine writing tasks, effective oral communication will emerge as a key differentiator, allowing individuals to convey compassion, inspiration, creativity, and strategic vision— human qualities that defy perfect machine replication.

Developing Strong Oral Communication Skills:

The ability to navigate human interactions and foster trust necessitates a focus on deep, meaningful conversations. Cultivating this skill set goes beyond information exchange. It involves facilitating productive problem-solving discussions in meetings and delivering engaging, interactive presentations.

Prioritizing Human Connection in the Workplace:

Organizations must adapt to this evolving communication landscape. With AI handling mundane writing tasks, fostering face-to-face interactions and prioritizing synchronous communication becomes paramount. Encouraging collaborative work and real-time team discussions fosters feelings of connection and authenticity, enhancing engagement and fostering a human-centric work environment.

Beyond Words: Evaluating Understanding and Engagement

Our research also highlights the role of oral communication in assessing employee engagement. Managers have observed that employees who struggle to explain their projects verbally raise red flags. This lack of fluency could suggest a reliance on AI without a complete understanding of the technology’s workings.


The Unexpected Upshot of AI: A Renaissance in Soft Skills

While concerns linger about AI leading to an impersonal work environment, recent research suggests a surprising benefit: a renewed emphasis on human-centered soft skills. Mastering these interpersonal abilities, often considered more challenging to develop and measure than technical skills, will be crucial for both employees and organizations.

Intentional Cultivation for Flourishing Workplaces

A deliberate focus on soft skills development can lead to a significant transformation in the workplace. Imagine environments brimming with human connection, strong values, rich communication, and dynamic innovation – these are all potential outcomes of prioritizing soft skills. AI, by challenging us to confront complex workplace issues, presents a unique opportunity to unlock a new era of success and possibilities.

The Choice is Ours: Enhancement or Diminishment?

The impact of AI on our workplaces hinges on our approach. Will we allow AI to diminish the very aspects that differentiate us – our uniquely valuable skills and connections? Or will we leverage AI to enhance these human strengths? The future of work rests on this critical decision.

This is where Styres Solutions can be of assistance. 

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