What are soft skills and why are they so important in day-to-day business?

All posts Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

Human capital is the fuel of a company. Modern leaders know this, which is why they consider more than just technical skills when selecting new candidates.

In recruitment processes, understanding the employee’s integral vision is key. From him, professional but also human competencies are required that allow him to work in harmony with his peers and drive the growth of the company.

These skills are known as Soft Skills, and they are some of the most valued qualities nowadays. Do you want to know why? Keep reading!

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills refers to the personality traits that shape an employee’s behavior in the work environment. This includes: how they interact with colleagues, how they solve problems, and how they manage tasks.

Soft Skills do not vary according to the profession, in fact they are intangible and you could not evaluate them using a conventional test. They are related to the management of our emotions and attitudes, they are transferable skills and even applicable to other areas of life. In short, they are human skills that help define the type of person the company has.

“Now, as remote work environments become more and more integrated into business practice, managers around the world are beginning to ask: How can we continue to inspire and motivate our employees around shared goals, encouraging them to be as productive and effective as possible? The answer is simple: soft skills”.

Peter Jackson, CEO of Bluescape

 

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Why are soft skills important for companies?

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2021, employers highlight leadership and the ability to work in a team as the most desirable attributes when hiring recent college graduates, above analytical and quantitative skills.

So what makes a candidate with soft skills attractive?

Because your chances of being highly successful in the workplace. And as we already know successful employees equal a successful company.

But to visualize it better, look at it like this: Work teams are more effective and healthy when there is a good rapport among its members. The chemistry and understanding between co-workers is a fundamental factor that will determine the productivity levels of your company.

When there are misunderstandings, disputes, foolishness, lack of support or understanding, your projects are likely to be delayed or your employees may feel uncomfortable and consider quitting.

However, if your employees tend to get along well, support each other and feel in tune with the company culture, you won’t see these drawbacks present. On the contrary, your staff will surely feel more motivated and may even give more than you expect from them. You will see them grow and reflect that growth in the progress of your company.

That’s why it’s important to evaluate well who enters your business. It’s not smart to let yourself be intoxicated by a brilliant mind that doesn’t know how to say good morning or look down on others. Humility, respect, authenticity, can be just as relevant as turnover metrics.

Need some information to back up this claim? Well know that according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) “State of Work 2019″ review, soft skills represent the top three missing skills among job seekers that cause the greatest negative effects on companies.

 

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Soft Skills: Examples

Attention! Here we list and give you a brief overview of the specific skills considered as Soft Skills that you should pay attention to when you carry out your next selection process.

Creativity

This characteristic is defined by LinkedIn instructor Learning Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, as “problem solving with relevance and novelty.”

Relevance refers to the ability to actually solve the problem. That is, that the solution is relevant to the problem at hand. That it has that touch of common sense that makes you say “Of course, why didn’t I think of that before”. Novelty is more difficult to determine, but it’s basically about being original, about knowing how to do it differently.

Communication

An effective communication is one where the messages arrive as they should arrive, simple. If your employees are able to address each other assertively, politely, without beating around the bush, and at the same time they know how to listen empathetically to their colleagues, clients or customers, you can be sure that the work processes will flow smoothly.

Keep in mind of course that successful communication involves verbal, non-verbal and written skills, along with an understanding of active listening.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and control our own emotions, while recognizing and empathizing with the emotions of those around us.

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is a highly sought after soft skill. At work we can sometimes face complicated scenarios that bring out our most primitive emotions.  Being able to control one’s emotions and understand the motivations and feelings of co-workers will lead to more harmonious and productive relationships.

Emotional intelligence is also a highly valued soft skill in high-pressure positions, where it is essential to remain calm, or in those involving negotiation, where it is necessary to understand the other party’s position.

Stress management

This skill is somewhat related to the previous one, but from a more specific perspective.

You see, sometimes the work landscape can be overwhelming. Between so many deadlines, time limits, delays, missed deadlines, things not going according to plan, frustration can set in. Dealing with it, with the worry and anxiety that comes with it, is no easy task.

But in dense situations, the best way to get through is to stay calm, show a decisive attitude and an unwavering determination that allows us to think clearly and let go of stress. This is the only way to come up with practical solutions that entail fewer risks. And this is also how we can make sure that so much pressure does not negatively affect the quality of our work.

Before acting badly under pressure, take a deep breath, and think twice, without looking at the clock!

Flexibility

Flexibility is important because it means knowing how to adapt to changes and new tasks. As we said before, plans don’t always go as expected, but that doesn’t mean we should stay stagnant. If new responsibilities arise or support is needed in a different area than usual, your employees must be willing to adjust to them and collaborate.

Authenticity

Authenticity has to do with being true to ourselves, acting and expressing ourselves according to what we believe. It is the basis of true honesty, and a window into our personality. An authentic employee is one who has the courage to speak his or her mind, make suggestions, give opinions and actively contribute to the company.

If you want proactive people in the business, make sure you have someone who believes in their own ideas and is interested in sharing them. It will benefit both them and you.

If you notice that any of your employees are afraid to share their point of view, teach them to be more confident, create an environment where they feel comfortable to do so, because, who knows, maybe they’ll make a dazzling observation or come up with a million-dollar idea.

 

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Questions you can ask to assess the Soft Skills of your candidates

Here’s some bonus content.

If you’re not sure how to determine in an interview if an applicant has an adequate level of soft skills, try this:

Ask behaviorally based questions, this will give you insight into how he or she responds in certain situations or various challenges. One way would be to start the questions by posing a hypothetical scenario followed by “what do you think about it” or “how would you do it?

Example: “You have to convince your boss that it’s impossible to meet your goals. How would you go about proving it?”

You can also use other questions like:

  • “Tell me a time or a situation where you had to be reactive and flexible.”

  • “What kind of people do you most like to work with?”

  • “What do you do to show your interlocutors that you listen to them but disagree?”

  • “How do you usually handle a tense situation?”

  • “How do you react to negative comments?”

Soft skills enable organizations to use technical knowledge efficiently without being hampered by interpersonal problems, infighting or poor public and market perception.

True, if there are vacancies, technical skills will be the basis for finding potential candidates. But remember, applicants are not machines, so be sure to think carefully about how you can get to know them as human beings.

 

Do you need more advice on the subject? In TAS Consulting we know how to prepare you and your team in soft skills and achieve success, click here.

 

Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

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