Australia, we need to use our hearts more. This is not a ‘nice to have’, this is a ‘matter of economic stability’.

There is a multimillion dollar gap between the skills needed for the future and the number of people with those ‘skills’.

The Australian economy is suffering a shortage of customer service skills and skills of the heart. This shortage represents around 5.5 million workers.

‘Australia is challenged by a worsening skills shortage that requires an urgent response from business leaders’ according to the Deloitte article While the future of work is human, Australia faces a major skills crisis.

Two thirds of the jobs created between now and 2030 will be reliant on soft skills. Much of the boring, repetitive work will be performed by technology while humans will undertake interpersonal and creative roles that require uniquely human skills, like customer service.

CEO of Deloitte Australia, Richard Deutsch says ‘People, and their unique interpersonal and creative skills, will be central to the future of work, and how we structure this future, and prepare our workers, will say a lot about us as a society. Our decisions now will be a key driver of our economic success.’

Finally, we are waking up and realising that we need people in the workplace with the ability to bring heart to conversations. If you don’t recruit employees with skills such as empathy, judgement and social intelligence, how is your business developing these skills on the job?

Having worked with a diverse client base and with thousands of leaders in workshop environments, I have gained much perspective on how today’s organisations are suffering from a deep emptiness.

This emptiness is due to a misunderstanding of what it means to be in a role of power. We can’t blame employees for not having these skills; for most, they are simply mirroring what their leaders show them in their day-to-day actions and behaviours.

Employees are only motivated to deliver a customary service with limited emotional connection to the customer. Very few organisations reward, recognise, or develop soft skills of empathy, judgement and social intelligence.

I am sure companies will eventually allocate budget and resources to address the skills gap, but I think there is a larger issue to address in this country—the issue of leadership.

The mindset of leaders in businesses where service and skills of the heart are needed, is the critical ingredient to sustain a workforce culture. Training and money thrown at these shortage gaps will only pay off short term.

If we want to see long-term change, we need leaders who believe that the importance of relationships is equal to the importance of chasing results.

Problems within the workplace and society have changed; therefore, so have the rules of leadership in service.

Australia, it’s time to bring things back into balance. We need ‘head and heart’ from leaders in service.

Jaquie Scammell
‘Love Being in Service’

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