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Beyond the Resume: Why Essential Human Capabilities Are the Unsung Heroes of the Modern Workplace

By Anna Naveed


Human Resources Blog Library

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In today's rapidly evolving work landscape, experience is no longer the sole arbiter of success. While technical expertise remains valuable, a new breed of skills – essential human capabilities (EHCs) – are increasingly taking center stage. As Josh Bersin, a prominent HR thought leader, proclaims, "The single biggest reason why new hires fail isn't a lack of technical skills; it's a lack of essential human capabilities." This article delves into the power of EHCs, exploring why they are essential for thriving in the modern workplace and offering practical solutions for their development.

The Symphony of Success: The Interplay of Hard Skills and Essential Human Capabilities

Imagine a talented musician with an impressive repertoire. However, if they lack the ability to collaborate effectively with fellow musicians, their individual brilliance cannot translate into a harmonious orchestral performance. Similarly, technical expertise is akin to musical proficiency – a foundational element. However, without the essential human capabilities – the ability to communicate, collaborate, and navigate interpersonal dynamics – true professional success eludes us.

A 2020 study by the McKinsey Global Institute revealed that essential human capabilities will be critical for up to 70% of future jobs. This growing emphasis reflects the increasing complexity of the modern workplace, where collaboration, problem-solving, and adaptability reign supreme.

The Power of the Invisible: Unveiling the Value of Essential Human Capabilities

Essential human capabilities encompass a broad spectrum of abilities, including:

  • Communication: The ability to express ideas clearly, actively listen, and tailor your message to your audience.
  • Collaboration: The capacity to work effectively with others towards a common goal.
  • Problem-Solving: The ability to identify, analyze, and creatively solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking: The skill of evaluating information, considering different perspectives, and forming sound judgments.
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.


These seemingly intangible skills are the invisible threads that weave together a tapestry of professional success. They foster trust, build rapport, and create a productive work environment where diverse talents can converge to achieve remarkable results.

Cultivating the EHC Garden: Platforms for Development

While some may believe essential human capabilities are innate, the truth is they can be nurtured and developed. Here are some practical solutions for fostering these crucial abilities:

  • Mentorship Programs: Pairing experienced professionals with new hires can provide valuable guidance and opportunities to hone communication and collaboration skills.
  • Role-Playing Exercises: Simulating real-world scenarios allows individuals to practice communication, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence skills in a safe, controlled environment.
  • Online Learning Platforms: Numerous online resources offer courses and modules specifically designed to develop essential human capabilities.


Forward-thinking companies are recognizing the importance of EHCs and are actively creating platforms for their development.

Beyond the Checklist: A Company Culture of Essential Human Capabilities

Mere training programs are not enough. Companies that truly champion essential human capabilities cultivate a culture that values and rewards these abilities.

  • Performance Reviews: Including EHCs in performance reviews sends a clear message about their importance.
  • Teamwork Recognition: Publicly acknowledging successful team projects reinforces the value of collaboration and communication.
  • Open Communication Channels: Creating a safe space for open communication allows employees to practice and develop these skills.


By fostering a culture that celebrates essential human capabilities, companies can create a more engaged, productive, and ultimately, successful work environment.

WebHR: Empowering Your EHC Journey

WebHR, a leading provider of HR solutions, goes beyond traditional HR software. Their platform includes tools that facilitate communication, collaboration, and feedback, empowering employees to develop their essential human capabilities organically within the day-to-day workflow.

The modern workplace demands a holistic approach to talent management. By recognizing the crucial role of essential human capabilities and implementing strategies for their development, organizations can unlock the true potential of their workforce and navigate the ever-changing landscape of success. Remember, experience is a valuable asset, but in the symphony of the modern workplace, essential human capabilities are the conductor, harmonizing individual talents into a collective masterpiece.