Soft Skills – what are they and which matter most for your business? So, you have invested a lot of time and money in recruiting, onboarding and retaining the right talent for your business. You now have the best of the best working for your company. But is this worth much if your team cannot work well with one and other? They may be the best on the block for a skill, but do they have the critical skills that employees need but cannot be taught in a classroom or measured on paper?
Simply put a good employee requires the essential skills of the role, for example, an accountant needs a qualification, a sales person needs to have people skills, etc. Beyond that, a great employee requires so much more. These traits that show the difference between a good or an excellent employee are the skills that should matter most for business and workforce- these are called ‘soft skills’. But what are they? Unlike hard skills, which can be documented and measured, soft skills are intangible and tricky to quantify. Examples of soft skills include communication, teamwork and leadership.
The term ‘soft skills’ is in its infancy in the realm of HR, though you can look for individuals who embody these going forward, it can be hard to assess if your already established workforce has a soft skill gap. When your employees have lots of industry-specific skills but an absence of soft skills, then you have a skills gap. You can see this in your business if:
- You’re good at capturing new clients but can’t retain or get repeat business from them.
- You have high staff turnover and keep continually training them.
- When you have many managers but no exceptional leaders.
Soft skills are indispensable for businesses as the workplace environment has evolved into an interpersonal dynamic that can’t be brushed away or ignored. So, it is necessary for you to recognise the vital soft skills your employees need going forward. To get the ball rolling for you, we have explained some of the most important ones for your business.
Communication (Written and Verbal)
Communication skills are of the highest importance in any workplace, as it sets the tone for and the movement of information in your business and amongst your employees. It helps to outline clear expectations of work from management to staff and vice versa, therefore boosting performance and results. Employees are much more productive when they know how to communicate with their co-workers and the c-suite alike and aides in building lasting relationships among staff and between management.
Those with leadership skills should have confidence and the ability to include co-workers to new business initiatives and business needs. After all, being a leader isn’t just about getting others to do things. Leadership means encouraging and supporting others to reach their complete potential. Management should be on the lookout for those with leadership qualities and potential as these workers will one day be the next generation of management for the company, taking the controls, further developing the companies’ legacy and success.
Businesses are rarely able to pinpoint its success to one individual employee and work they have done by themselves. Success is the by-product of numerous employees working towards a shared goal. When employees can consolidate their shared talents and knowledge, everyone wins including your bottom line. Those who are ‘team players’ help to build an office culture of collaboration and unify their co-workers to strengthen the quality of their work. Teamwork is a vital soft skill for your employees.
When conflict arises in the workplace, the best way to resolve it is to address the issue directly but cautiously. However, this isn’t a skill that many people possess. Anytime you put more than one individual on a project; there is bound to be conflicts no matter how small. So, finding an employee with the ability to work through conflicts without drama or outbreak constructively is a vital soft skill as it shows both maturity and leadership. This type of worker helps to promote a wholesome and collaborative workplace.
Companies rely on problem solvers in their workforce to help navigate unforeseen difficulties or problems. So, having an employee who can think on their feet is indispensable to any business! After all, when an issue surfaces, would you rather an individual who complains or one who acts to address it? Problem-solving as an employee soft skill is a powerful tool as it means as management you are approached by an employee with a solution and not just an issue to solve.
Recruiting talent for your business in the future, considering these soft skills, will help build a workforce that will work best for your company. However, if you are looking for further assistance in recruiting and retaining top talent, consider an HR Software that will best assist you in this. You may also be interested in my previous article ‘Improve your Hiring Process’.