Don’t Overlook ‘Soft Skills’

Soft skills, which relate to communication and problem-solving skills are now being seen as integral for businesses to succeed. Certain soft skills such as motivation, self-management, and digital literacy have become even more crucial in the era of hybrid working. The ability to adapt to sudden changes has also become an appealing quality to look for among new employees.

In contrast to technical skills, soft skills cannot be taught in the traditional classroom sense. Instead, they are established from your own experiences as well as emotional intelligence. How a person reacts to a challenging situation can have an impact on how they perform in the workplace – for example, an employee who responds calmly to an aggressive customer is more likely to resolve the problem successfully compared to an employee who reacts with an equal level of hostility.

It can be difficult for candidates to showcase these talents during the interview stages, particularly if they are being interviewed remotely instead of face-to-face. Therefore, it is essential for employers to be able to adapt their recruitment strategies to get the most out of every interview.

Employers should not overlook soft skills in favour of more measurable technical skills when thinking of questions to ask. An interview via video call is still an interview regardless of the setting, and it is a chance for participants on both sides of the screen to reflect on what they gained from the experience. 

Likewise, applicants must also be prepared to answer questions by applying their own experiences of where they have best utilised soft skills, whether they have developed them in an academic environment or from previous employment.

Existing employees and managers should also be keen to develop these skills even if they feel confident in their capabilities. Combining technical skills training with hands-on experience can help employees to become more resilient, agile, and self-disciplined.

Soft skills such as teamwork and time management can translate directly into benefits for firms, and they can be measured to give indications of their value. For instance, the successful development of soft skills could be reflected in reduced employee turnover, increased levels of employee and customer satisfaction, or even a reduction in time spent in meetings.

Soft skills are also ideal for short, focused training modules concentrating on individual concepts. This also makes them easier to track and may help improve knowledge retention.  Because the modules are short, they can be integrated into the normal routine of employees with less disruption, allowing them to use the concepts they’ve learned straight away and undertake learning more frequently, developing a learning culture.

If you are interested in learning more, the Development Zone has a range of courses related to topics we have touched on in this article.

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About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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