Employees with good soft skills - why your company needs them
Employees with good soft skills—why your company needs them
Large companies are increasingly interested in the soft skills of their employees above their hard skills. In 2021, technical skills are no longer enough. So, what’s changed? What’s made soft skills that much more important?
Our team researched the pros and cons of soft skills and why corporate interest in them is increasing. Before we reveal our findings, let’s define what soft and hard skills are:
According to Wikipedia, “Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, mindsets...that enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.” Basically, soft skills are non-technical skills that enhance overall work performance. They make for more well-rounded employees.
On the other hand, “hard skills are learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education.” Hard skills can be learned with enough time and attention.
If we look at both concepts, it immediately makes sense why soft skills are so important.
Real life problem
Robert, IT manager of XWZ, hired a computer programmer, Tyler. Robert focused on Tyler’s technical skills when making his hiring decision: How many languages does he know? How many years of experience does he have? Robert didn't consider that Tyler was used to working by himself and seemed to lack one of the most necessary soft skills: communication. Robert assumed a computer programmer would need communication skills to do his job. Right? Wrong!
Exchanging ideas with Tyler was extremely difficult, his presence in meetings became uncomfortable for the whole team, he never answered emails, and he didn’t seem to know how to behave in meetings. Three months into their working relationship, Robert realized any type of communication with Tyler was nearly impossible. At this point, the solution was difficult but obvious: Robert needed to find another programmer with similar technical skills who was also a good communicator.
Robert and Tyler’s story is one of many that shows how people with few or weak soft skills don’t last long at companies that require working well with others. Hires like Tyler tend to become a loss to the company rather than an investment.
What employees soft skills represent to a company ROI
A study by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) indicated that a bad hire can cost a company five times his/her annual salary. To put it simply, if that employee’s salary is $50K, he or she could end up costing the company upward of $250K.
However, soft skills are difficult to teach. They are pretty intrinsic to people. So, how can hiring managers or recruiters ensure that their hires have the right skills to avoid costing the company extra money?
Identifying soft skills during the interview process is extremely important. This includes asking the candidate questions to help you determine if he or she is the right person for your organization's mission and vision. Hiring managers and recruiters can present candidates with scenarios and questions to help determine skills such as time management, problem solving, and (as we saw in the Robert and Tyler example) communication.
If you choose between a candidate with better soft skills than technical skills, it might require slightly more time training, but it will provide a better return on investment for your organization in the long run. Does this mean that hard skills are not important? Of course not! It’s actually the opposite. Hard skills are much easier to evaluate during the interview process.
2021 has brought big changes to the job market. With an estimated one in four Americans working from home, the demand for employees with good soft skills has increased.
So, what are the most important soft skills managers should look for when hiring employees who work from home?
The job market has changed tremendously. In-person communication has been replaced by electronic communication. However, it is still extremely important to companies that their new hires know how to adapt and communicate effectively via email, phone, and conference calls. A candidate who demonstrates good communication skills during the interview process is very likely a strong long-term hire.
The same goes for time management. Although more than 75% of people who work from home have reported that they prefer it, there are a lot of potential distractions. Now more than ever, managers need workers who know how to manage their time without much oversight.
With reduced access to their supervisors, employees will have to work through more scenarios on their own. It is therefore necessary that they be creative and capable of solving problems that require immediate help without supervision.
Interviewing for soft skills means better hires. Soft skills determine the longevity of an employee’s time with the company, an increase in ROI, and the overall good functioning of an organization.
If your company is actively hiring, spend time acquiring the ideal members for your team and interview for both hard and soft skills.
Thanks to new developments in technology, some companies are using artificial intelligence tools that help them with the new hire process, improving the quality of their employees and saving them time and money. To learn more how Pyxai can help with this process, follow this link.
Remember, your employees are your best investment!