Soft Skills Development
Organizations are accustomed to recruiting people with the right technical skills for a job. Engineering, accounting, finance, secretaries, sales, or customer service, these positions always require certain knowledge and technical skills that allow people to do their job properly. But for most of the time, without their soft skills abilities, firms can never get 100% out of their full potential.
What are the soft skills?
Imagine you have two people working in a secretary position. Would you prefer a person with a positive attitude with high emotional intelligence, who is always cool and calm even when they are asked to do the impossibles? Would you rather have an accountant who establishes good rapport with your sales team and purchasing department? Would you prefer a customer service person who truly cares about a customer and is willing to go above and beyond his/her job functions to solve a problem for the customer?
If the answer is yes, then you are looking for people with soft skills abilities. The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. For some reason, organizations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high-quality work. Assuming that soft skills are universal leads to much frustration. That's why it's so important to focus as much on soft skills training and development as you do on traditional hard skills.
The Soft Skills Gap – Do you have one?
When your workforce has lots of technical skills but an absence of soft skills, you have a soft skills gap. Soft skills are what accompany the hard skills, and help your organization use its technical expertise to full advantage.
- If you’re really good at getting clients, and not so good at retaining them, chances are you have a soft skills gap.
- If you have lots of staff turnover and have to keep retraining people, chances are you have a soft skills gap.
- When you have lots of managers but no real leaders – that’s a soft skills gap.
In fact, whenever you are unable to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge, experience and proficiency within your team, then you should be assessing the level of communication and interpersonal skills that are present in your organization.