Human Skills That Shaped 2023 (& How to Grow Them on Your Team in 2024)

Reflecting on the challenges of 2023

Twenty Twenty-Three was rife with challenges and obstacles for businesses around the world. Disruptions to supply chains, the rise of remote work, shifts in consumer behavior, and economic uncertainty made it tumultuous for many industries. But despite all of this, many organizations managed to adapt, grow, and even thrive. What set them apart? The answer lies in their ability to develop and utilize human skills.

Human skills, also known as soft skills or power skills, are the essential qualities that enable us to relate to others and navigate social situations. These skills are often overlooked in business settings, but they play a crucial role in leadership, teamwork, and organizational success. 

Today, we’re reflecting on some of the major business challenges of 2023 and exploring the human skills that played a key role in helping organizations succeed.

Supply Chain Disruptions: Innovation & Problem-Solving

Between raw material shortages and labor shortages, supply chains were disrupted in nearly every industry in some way, shape, or form. Over the past couple of years, over 80% of businesses have reported at least one supply chain disruption, and over half experienced three or more.

So, how did those who overcame those challenges manage? By getting creative, being innovative, and problem-solving. We cover key human skills in our Real-Time Learning Program.

A study showed that many supply chain managers underestimated certain disruptions and overestimated others. The main reason? They were letting the media lead the way rather than the data. 

In our Real-Time Learning program, two of our six foundational skills learned are Pattern Recognition and Perspective Taking. By finding connections and looking at issues from multiple perspectives, those who approached problem-solving in an effective way identified the issues, gathered data from their suppliers directly, and came up with innovative solutions. For example, moving to more automated production, swapping materials, etc.

Changing Consumer Behaviors: Adaptability & Initiative

This year, not only were consumers spending less, but they were also shopping in new ways. 

More than ever before, people of all ages, from Gen Z to Boomers, are searching for products and shopping on social media. Plus, they are shopping small and with businesses that are prioritizing social corporate responsibility. 

This meant shifting priorities for sustainability initiatives, starting up Instagram shops, shipping products that had once been in-store-only purchases, and more. 

In our Real-Time Learning program, one of our six foundational skills learned is Experimentation and Iteration. When launching brand new initiatives, so much is learned every step of the way, allowing adjustments to be made to ensure the best chance of success.

Economic Uncertainty: Leadership & Empathy

Inflation and fluctuating markets cast a shadow over the business world this year. It forced company leaders to grapple with strategic decisions amidst uncertainty, which led to cautious investments, strategic decisions, and an increased focus on risk management.

In times of economic uncertainty like this, possessing strong leadership and empathy skills is paramount for executives guiding organizations through challenges. While in the past, empathy may have been seen as a “soft” trait for a leader, studies have covered it’s actually one of the most impactful skills a leader can have for organizational success. 

Here are just a few of the findings: 

  • Giving someone just 40 seconds of compassion – a key factor of empathy – reduces someone’s anxiety (Harvard Business Review)
  • 61% of people with highly empathic senior leaders report often or always being innovative at work, compared to only 13% of people with less empathic senior leaders. (Forbes)
  • Nearly 90% of employees think that having empathetic leadership boosts company morale. (Ernst & Young)

In our Real-Time Learning program, one of our six foundational skills learned is Cultivating Situational Awareness. Leading with empathy embraces this habit! The best leaders always keep their heads up, consider the needs of their team members, and adjust their style accordingly.

NimblyWise Can Help Your Team Build Stronger Human Skills in 2024

This year presented many challenges for businesses, but it also highlighted the importance of soft skills in organizational success. Leaders who were able to develop and utilize these skills were better equipped to navigate changing landscapes, build resilient teams, and drive growth – despite environmental challenges. 

As we look ahead to 2024, it’s clear that ongoing human skill development will be more important than ever. By investing in training and development for your team, you can build the essential people skills that will enable you to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

But you don’t have to do it alone. NimblyWise can help with our Real-Time Learning Program. Set up a call to learn more and discuss solutions for your team today.