For a number of organisations, hard skills are the only attributes looked at during the recruitment process. While qualified and experienced employees are important in driving business success, many organisations often overlook and are unaware of the value, and long-term success, that soft skills can bring to the table.
According to a 2020 study by the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs, complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management and emotional intelligence are soon to be among the most important skills required in the workplace.
Soft skills can be defined as various interpersonal attributes such as, but not limited to, effective communication, people skills, team-working skills, problem-solving skills, and conflict-resolution abilities that help build a meaningful company culture, improve leadership and foster employee retention. Soft skills underline the most important aspects of business operations and are needed on an everyday basis during interactions with coworkers and clients.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills are harder to develop as they are more focused on who you are as a person, your character and social capabilities rather than what we are trained in, in a traditional sense. Simply put, in order to fully leverage the benefits of hard skills, there needs to be a foundation of soft skills.
Often during the recruitment process, organisations only look for skills in employees that are specific to the job requirements and seem to expect employees to have interpersonal skills already under their belts, which is not always the case.
A new study has found that soft skills training boosts productivity and retention by 12 percent and in turn, delivers a 250 percent return on investment.
In addition to the increase in productivity and retention, there a number of other reasons as to why more organisations need to prioritise and recognise the importance of honing soft skills. The value of developing these skills through proper and continuous training becomes particularly evident when individuals need to participate in daily activities such as presenting new ideas, working with others, leading teams, maintaining client relationships and expanding new business opportunities. Soft skills can also be a great contributor in terms of career progression for employees.
There are a great number of companies that provide off-the-shelf soft skills training content for organisations to implement into their training processes. By investing in soft skills training, organisations can help their employees master these daily activities whilst reaping the various benefits that soft skills offer. Some of these benefits include:
Organisations will see improved employee performance and productivity across the board when implementing soft skills training. Employees will be able to manage their time more effectively, which will further allow them to speed up task completion time without compromising the quality of their work.
With the increase of emotional intelligence gained through soft skills training, employees will be able to take better responsibility, provide meaningful feedback, accept critique and motivate themselves and others to reach their goals.
Effective communication is key to great customer service. Soft skills training provides employees with the tools to express themselves clearly, actively listen to customer needs, have more empathy and compassion towards others and tackle challenging conversations with ease.
The customers are not the only ones who will reap the benefits of soft skills training, but team members too. Teams will become more agile, cohesive and understanding towards each other as soft skills allow individuals to better respect others and obtain conflict-resolution capabilities. By having a close-knitted team that know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well enough, will allow employees to easily collaborate and take on any challenge with a positive outlook.
Another notable benefit is the self-confidence, self-esteem and critical thinking that comes along with acquiring and developing soft skills. Employees will be able to find ways of working smarter in order to complete their daily tasks to the best of their abilities. With more confident and critical-thinking employees, the risk of errors will decrease as they will be able to communicate effectively without any miscommunication or misunderstanding. Additionally, soft skills training will give employees confidence and knowledge to overcome workplace challenges and conflicts.
While the importance and prioritising of soft stills are continuously growing, the implementation of hard skills training should not be neglected. By using both skill types in conjunction with each other, organisations can develop well-rounded employees and a successful workforce.