In recent articles we’ve spoken a lot about soft skills. These are the personal and social skills employees need that go beyond strictly technical and academic abilities, and include effective communication, conflict resolution, empathy and the ability to work as part of a team.
In today’s professional world they play a fundamental role in the success of both individuals and organizations. But, in order to unlock that potential, companies need to ensure that their employees have the necessary soft skills to start with. Therefore, measuring and evaluating these skills is one of the most pressing needs for modern companies. In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about soft skills assessment.
The importance of soft skills
Technical, or hard, skills were for many years considered the most important skills in the labor market. However, as the work environment has changed, so too have expectations about the type of skills employees need for an organization’s success.
But why are these skills so important? The answer is simple – because they cannot be replaced by a system or piece of software. Imagine the scenario: you find a technically outstanding web application developer for your company, but discover that he is unable to communicate well with the rest of his teammates. The problem is clear. Indeed, much of an organization’s success depends on the soft skills of its workers, and specifically how they communicate and work as a team to achieve goals.
Additionally, in a digitalized work environment that is constantly evolving due to the rapid emergence of AI, soft skills are more important than ever. The Future of Jobs Report 2023 prepared by the World Economic Forum highlights skills such as analysis and creative thinking as the most important for workers in 2023, far above others such as self-efficacy, resilience, flexibility and agility.
Why assess soft skills?
There are many reasons to carry out a soft skills assessment in your organization. This essential practice improves individual performance, as it allows us to understand strengths and weaknesses in key areas such as empathy, communication, teamwork and others.
Measuring these skills helps organizations identify where to make adjustments to achieve a more cohesive and productive corporate culture. Furthermore, this evaluation process can help identify employees who have the potential to become strong leaders and guide others to success.
During rounds of hiring, assessing candidates’ soft skills can be critical for achieving a balanced company culture and improving overall team performance. It also helps with the development of training strategies, since soft skills assessment provides concrete information on the areas where employees need that additional training, and allows for the creation of personalized development programs.
How are soft skills measured?
Assessing a candidate or current employee’s soft skills can be challenging, as they are often considered subjective skills. After all, how can you measure resilience or emotional intelligence? There are, however, tools and methods available to help you evaluate them:
Tools for measuring soft skills
To measure these skills you need to use tools specifically designed to evaluate abstract qualities such as communication, empathy, adaptability and other related competencies. Here, we offer you three of them:
- Specific questionnaires: There are various types of questionnaires and assessments you can use to measure soft skills. In these tests, hypothetical situations or work scenarios are usually presented and participants are asked to respond according to their own skills and patterns of behavior. Two examples of this type of questionnaire are emotional intelligence tests and the social skills scale.
- Behavioral evaluations: These types of evaluations allow supervisors and managers to observe how employees interact in real work situations. Amongst the most common assessments of this type are group exercises, teamwork simulations, and problem-solving exercises. The information provided by these tools is invaluable in understanding how each individual applies their soft skills to real-life professional challenges.
- Skills assessment interviews: These types of interviews usually ask questions specifically designed to measure soft skills. They give interviewers the chance to ask about past experiences in which the employee has demonstrated empathy, teamwork or conflict resolution. Through such questions, one can carry out a deep evaluation of a person’s soft skills.
Methods for evaluating soft skills
In addition to the tools outlined above, there are also several effective methods of soft skill assessment that can provide you with a more complete view of each individual:
- Workplace observation: Observing employees in their daily roles is one of the most traditional, yet effective, methods of measuring soft skills. Observation can give you a clear and authentic picture of how these skills are applied in real work situations, allowing supervisors to assess skills such as collaboration, communication and resilience.
- 360-degree feedback: This method involves collecting feedback from multiple sources, including coworkers, subordinates and supervisors. 360-degree feedback allows you to understand an employee’s soft skills from several different perspectives, and therefore more easily identify areas for improvement.
- Performance appraisals: Organizations can incorporate specific soft skill competencies into their performance appraisals. These work by precisely evaluating employees on their ability to demonstrate empathy, effective communication and other key skills.
Now that you know the importance of measuring and evaluating your employees’ soft skills, the next step is to consider how you can help them develop and enhance the skills needed for the success of your organization.
To this end, isEazy Skills offers you the most complete catalog of courses on the market, with a 100% practical methodology supported by both multimedia and interactive resources. Train your employees in the key skills that make a difference in today’s professional world. In addition, at isEazy Skills, we can suggest exactly the courses and skills programs your organization needs to boost its latent talent. Get started today!