In the world of business, there are skills that are essential for employees to possess in order to be successful. These skills are often called “hard skills” or technical skills. They include things like marketing, programming, software skills, accounting or writing.
However, there is another category of skills that is equally important as hard skills. A set of skills referred to as soft skills or interpersonal skills.
In this article we will be discussing what soft skills are and why employees with strong interpersonal skills can be valuable to your organization, by increasing the efficiency and productivity of your team.
What are soft skills?
As mentioned, hard skills are the technical skills that an employee possesses. This could be skills in Node.js, Google Cloud Platform, HTML or Financial Accounting, that an employee needs to do their daily work.
Soft skills in contrast are the skills we use to interact with people and include things like active listening, writing clearly, and giving feedback. It also involves having a positive attitude, being able to work well in a team, and being adaptable.
While hard skills are important for performing specific tasks, soft skills are important for managing people and working together. These skills enable employees to better communicate and interact with others effectively, whether with fellow employees, suppliers, or customers.
Examples of soft skills
The following are examples of soft skills that you should look for in new employees, and that you can develop in your existing team.
The ability to communicate effectively with others is a critical soft skill. This includes being able to listen attentively, as well as convey information in a clear and concise manner.
Considering communication is critical for nearly every job, the better an employee is able to communicate, the more efficient they will be at collaborating within your organization. And that means higher productivity for your team.
Working well with others is another important soft skill. This includes being able to compromise, negotiate, and manage conflict.
All business activities require collaboration at the least within an organization. Fellow employees need to be able to quickly communicate, collaborate and deliver solutions on a daily basis. The better they collaborate the better your organization will perform.
Being able to adapt to changing circumstances is a key to dealing with daily challenges. This might involve being able to juggle multiple tasks, work well under pressure, or deal with difficult people.
The better employees are able to adapt to changing circumstances the faster they will find solutions and correct the course of their actions.
The ability to identify and resolve problems is another essential soft skill. This includes being able to think creatively, make decisions, and troubleshoot problems.
Almost every job there is requires at the least a basic ability to solve problems. Whether its simple day to day tasks or more complex projects. Effective problem solving is an essential skill that can have a massive impact on the ability of employees to do their job.
The ability to think critically is a skill that will be in more demand as you move up the ladder of leadership. Critical thinking includes being able to analyze information, solve problems, and make decisions.
Your organization will need leaders that can assess complex information, interpret and maintain context, and apply that to sound decisions. The better your employees can think critically, the better decision they will make, and that is always good for business!
The ability to come up with new and innovative ideas is a valuable soft skill. This might involve thinking outside the box, being open to new ideas, and taking risks.
Creative thinkers can solve problems that seem to have no logical solutions. They can also find new innovative solutions for improving how they work, or how to improve the way your business operates.
The ability to interact effectively with others is a key soft skill. This includes being able to build relationships, communicate effectively, and handle conflict.
When people are involved there is always the potential for conflict or miscommunication. Employees that have strong interpersonal skills are an asset when dealing with challenging work environments. And they can ease tensions and encourage unity through skilled communication between parties.
Why soft skills are important in the workplace?
As we have mentioned every job requires technical skills. But there is more to a job than just the technical execution. It requires collaboration and communication with others.
Lets look at how soft skills can impact your workplace productivity.
Almost all business activities in your organization centre around communication. There is communication between employees, suppliers, stakeholders, management and teams. And the better the communication between these parties, the more efficiently information will flow.
When information is flowing efficiently within your organization, collaboration will be greatly improved. This will result in less time wasted on issues arising from bad communication and misunderstandings which means the efficiency of your team will be enhanced.
Creative employees can be a gold mine of fresh ideas and interesting solutions to solve a variety of problems within your organization. Especially in highly technical fields where innovation and constant technological development create new challenges almost everyday.
Hiring technical staff with strong creative ability can prove to be of great value in forging new solutions and remaining innovative in your industry. And the more innovative you can be the greater your chances of remaining ahead of the competition, and that is always good for business.
In business there are always new challenges that need resolving. This is just the nature of business. And when things happen you need solutions fast. The faster you solve issues, the less money or opportunities will be lost.
Employees with strong critical thinking and problem solving skills are usually the ones able to quickly address problems that arise in your organization. They are the ones that are able to take initiative and independently find solutions to problems, even when left on their own. And that is worth investing in.
Every business wants to get more done faster. Its what gets results faster. But not all employees are equal. There are employees how are good at their job but might not always be able to deliver the results on time. And there are those that can get things done quickly and effectively and on time.
Finding employees that can do their job well and keep to deadlines is critical. Your employees need to have personal management skills to effectively manage themselves, especially in a remote workplace. The more effective your employees are at managing their time, and prioritizing tasks the more productive they will be.
Ensuring the people you hire have strong soft skills can have a dramatic effect on how they perform and how they effect your workplace productivity. But how do you measure whether a candidate has these skills and how do you even compare candidates?
Lets have a look at how Testlify is helping organizations solve this.
How to evaluate a candidate’s soft skills?
The biggest challenge organizations have faced is how do they test individual candidates soft skills. And for good reason. Testing cognitive ability, problem solving skills, and other skills isn’t easy. But with the dawn of talent assessments, organizations now have a powerful tool that can quickly and effectively test candidates.
What are talent assessments?
Talent assessments are online test that can be configured to test candidates in a multitude of disciplines from technical skills to cognitive ability. They can be optimized for each position that an organization is hiring for to best assess a candidate for relevant skills.
These assessments can then be automated to send out invitations and you can then monitor test results in real-time. But the most powerful benefit of these assessments is the ability to compare candidates side by side. And this is done using a simple scoring system.
Each candidate can be evaluated according to their performance and the best candidates can be easily spotted. This means you no longer need to spend hours sifting through piles of resumes. You can now quickly assess individuals and create your shortlist for your interview rounds.
Choose the best candidates
As we’ve discussed soft skills can have a dramatic impact on how well an employee does their job. having skills is only one part of the job. Employees need to have the personal and interpersonal skills to be effective at managing themselves and being an effective team member.
No longer does this need to be a guessing game. Talent assessments now give you the means to accurately predict whether a potential employee will be effective at their job. They are simple to setup, easy to automate and offer a positive candidate experience.
Its no wonder recruiters are turning to talent assessments to improve their hiring process and ensure they hire the right people, every time.