If you’re anything like me, a huge proportion of your social interaction now happens through tech; whether that’s FaceTiming your family, messaging your friends on Facebook or simply emailing or texting.And, as more and more people turn to technology in their day to day lives, tech companies are also doing their best to improve these communication platforms, making them more personable, more intuitive, more human.Most Facebook users will recognise that simply ‘liking’ a traumatic or emotional post can feel awkward or inappropriate, and just last week company founder Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the platform would expand its ‘like’ function to include more “empathetic” reactions.Now however, a new report claims that while our understanding of technology as a population is soaring, our more emotional personal skills are falling short – and it’s effecting our businesses.A study of 1,000 people found that while “almost 100 per cent” had technical and computer skills, very few were able to pass tests for “soft” skills such as good verbal communication, effective listening and empathy.The research, carried out by call handling service All Day PA, suggests that 80 per cent of people do not have “the necessary interpersonal skills” to do their jobs well.Chief executive Reuben Singh said: “We have been in business for more than 16 years and in that time, people are getting better at typing, technical skills and reading information, but softer skills have gone into sharp decline.
“We are seeing the first generation that has grown up with automation entering the workplace. They shop online, talk to friends through social media and even play online games in their leisure time – and crucially, as a result, have less experience of verbal communication, and are instead becoming overly reliant on digital communications.
“This generation isn’t exposed to enough positive examples of good customer service either face-to-face or over the telephone.”
While it’s not wise to inextricably link a rise in technology with a fall in social skills, and many other factors should be considered to make such a statement, perhaps its time toswitch off the emails and be more mindful of our social and mental well-being.
If you can’t justify doing it for yourself (and we hope that you can), do it for your business.