The importance of soft skills in the workplace

soft skillsWhen screening candidates during the recruitment process, most companies will look at qualifications and experience. While these are of course very important, something that organisations often overlook is soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to any job or industry. They’re usually self-developed and more often than not, part of our natural personality. They make up a combination of many things including social skills, character traits and employment qualities.

Some examples of the soft skills an individual may possess include:

  • Good leadership skills
  • A positive attitude
  • Good work ethic
  • Good at communicating
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Enjoy and be good at team work
  • Flexibility/good at adapting to new and different situations
  • Resilience
  • Good negotiation skills
  • Time management
  • Confidence
  • Work well under pressure

Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Hard skills (qualifications and experience) are very important in certain jobs. A doctor, pilot or accountant cannot carry out their job without the correct knowledge or training for example. Other jobs, such as those which are customer-facing, rely more on soft skills because these are the traits that enable us to bond with other people.

When recruiting, business owners should place equal importance on hard and soft skills. It’s also worth noting that while training can be used to develop a person’s hard skills, soft skills are more likely to be something we’re naturally good at or not.

If you’re torn between a candidate who has fantastic people skills and communicates excellently but doesn’t have as much experience as you’d like and a candidate who ticks all the boxes but doesn’t have the same charisma, you’re better off going with the candidate with the right soft skills because you can’t expect someone to be something they’re not.

Below we have listen some more reasons why soft skills really shouldn’t be overlooked in the workplace.

You can’t train someone to have a good work ethic 

Every employer wants staff who are driven and while this is a difficult skill to quantify, employees typically display a strong work ethic or they don’t. While work ethic is largely an innate skill, it can be learned with proper training and motivation. Some employees may simply be feeling de-motivated because they’re not getting the recognition they need or they’re struggling with their role but are too scared to ask for help.

Team work

The ability to work well within a team is another important soft skill. Some employees may naturally feel comfortable working within a group, while others may have problems and prefer to work alone.

It’s crucial that this is identified from the very beginning because if the role involves a lot of team work, someone who doesn’t possess these skills isn’t going to be suitable. Similarly, if someone is incredibly outgoing and wants to be in the limelight all the time, they’re not going to do well in a job where they’re working independently at a desk all day.

Every organisation needs good problem solvers

Being able to make quick decisions, think on your feet and solve simple problems are important employee traits. Even simple problems such as a copier being out of toner can grind an office to a halt if no one displays these simple skills.

At least one employee needs to have the ability to take charge of situations and guide others if they have difficulties in this area. The employees who display these decision-making skills are often excellent candidates for promotion to management level.

If you would like help finding your next great candidate, please feel free to contact Choralis Consultingand we will be more than happy to help.

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