For quite some time, hard skills have been the yardstick with which employee success was measured. However, in the times that we’re living, this isn’t the case anymore. Employees are giving as much attention and importance to soft skills as they give to technical skills when recruiting new staff as well as to evaluating the current staff for eventual promotions or bonuses.
Seeing how much things have changed in the hiring and recruitment process, let’s see what the soft skills entail, why they are important, and the top soft skills all employees need.
Soft skills are the non-technical skills workers need to develop in order to do a job in a certain sector or industry. They are also known as interpersonal or people skills that include time management, empathy, listening skills, teamwork, among many others. These said skills can be developed through soft skill programs available online. The survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers look for candidates who already acquired said skills because they make them successful in the workplace.
While hard skills might be the core skills workers should obtain to be eligible for a particular job, they aren’t limited to technical skills. While these teachable and measurable abilities make the foundation of a good employee, people skills will only add to a good employee’s status. However, lacking them can lead to a worker not being able to continue holding their job position.
The former LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, considered soft skills the most significant skill gap in the U.S. While it’s undeniable that without technical skills, businesses cannot experience growth, one will notice that if the workforce lacks people skills, it might progress at a slower rate. The good news is that these skills are teachable, and the impact of a skill gap can be alleviated through soft skills trainings.
There is a list of soft skills that every employee should acquire. While it would be ideal to acquire all the skills we will talk about, this won’t happen overnight. However, developing a few of them could make a big difference for those whose goal is landing some of the most sought-after jobs. Let’s take a look at the soft skills one should gain.
One of the main skills that an employee needs is empathy—the ability to emotionally connect with others, see things from their perspective, put yourself in their shoes, and consequently grasp what others feel. Empathy is at the top of the list because, with this trait, you show that you care and respect your coworkers and prioritize their feelings.
One develops their empathy skills when they decide to commit emotionally and put aside their own views. Once you do that, you begin to recognize behaviors that look like overreaction or unreasonable at first sight but are only reactions based on their prior experiences.
When it comes to working, not all tasks one deals with daily are of equal importance. However, the thing is that not all people are capable enough to prioritize. Knowing with which tasks one should deal head-on as it can have detrimental effects if not completed on time can be a problem for some. There are tasks that it is quite easy to judge whether they should be prioritized as they have deadlines assigned.
At some point, all employees will have to give or receive feedback. If done properly, delivering and receiving feedback can lead to organizational growth. That’s why employees need to develop this particular skill. It can change behaviors, increase productivity, and evaluate employee performance.
In addition, feedback as a process can inspire growth, improve employee engagement, solidify working relationships, and give employees a purpose.
The whole idea behind feedback is for employees and their managers to understand the areas where they shine and the areas they could improve in.
Effective communication is an integral factor of a company’s growth, productivity, and long-term sustainability. It can affect work results, relationships between the staff, and the relationships between employees and their superiors. Qualitative communication helps eliminate unnecessary issues that could hinder staff productivity and performance.
On the other hand, Gallup’s latest “State of the American Workforce” report showed that from 31 million employees surveyed, only 13% declared that their organization’s leaders cultivate and practice fruitful and functional workplace communication.
While we may associate decision-making skills with the skills a leader usually needs, this is where we are wrong. Decision-making skills are the soft skills that all employees should try to hone. Decision-making can sound difficult, but there’s one thing you should know. Not all decisions will be life-changing tough decisions to make. However, with these skills, you’ll make informed decisions way quicker than those who lack them, and you’ll understand the impact those decisions will have on the organization.
We can’t stress this enough, teamwork is really important. It is all about creating and promoting strong working relationships and using those relationships to bring forward better results for the organization. Teamwork promotes an environment where friendship and loyalty flourish. In turn, the employees will work harder because of these relationships, as they cooperate and support each other more.
One-third of our life is spent in the workplace. This means that per week we spend 40 hours with our coworkers in the same environment. So, creating and maintaining good relationships with them can go a long way. Through getting along with others at work, you will build friendships, do your job effectively, and the chances of you helping each other out at difficult and stressful times will increase.
Flexibility in the workplace stresses the ability and willingness of someone to adapt to change. Changes could be done on how the work is done and the time the task is completed. In a flexible environment, both the needs of the employees and employers are met. In fact, workplace flexibility is frequently used as a benefit for employee retaining.
Flexible employees are those that always try to change their approach to tasks they’re working with, accommodate the needs of the company by staying late, coming early, or even working on an off day.
Hard skills and soft skills are equally important. Employers will look for them when hiring new staff, but also when evaluating the current one. With that being said, one doesn’t need to wonder about their importance but get to business and start honing their skills.