Academic background, work experience, and technical skills certification are elements that make any employee a highly qualified professional. However, even if a person can perform their job impeccably and without errors, they must also acquire other skills such as teamwork, effective communication, and conflict resolution. These social skills are known as soft skills.
In today’s job market, many professionals need to develop these skills related to navigating their workplace. Even though technical skills are essential to carry out a task, the need for soft skills is a factor that limits professional success. In this article, we want to tell you everything you need to know about soft skills, their importance, and how you can help your team develop them.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills combine social, problem-solving, emotional, and behavioral skills that allow for effective interaction with others. They are skills not directly related to technical knowledge but related to how a person behaves and links to their environment.
In the workplace, they are considered transversal skills. Although they are not required for a job, they provide multiple benefits both to the professional who possesses them and the organization that hires them.
Soft skills are also transferable, which makes them even more impressive. In other words, they can be used regardless of the job. For example, a salesperson or an administrator needs the same soft skills, unlike other technical skills specific to each job.
Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills: What’s the difference?
You have probably heard about hard and soft skills simultaneously; however, these concepts differ. Hard skills are specific technical skills that come from training or professional experience. A candidate requires hard skills to fill a job, such as knowledge of office automation, programming, languages, or administrative systems.
One of the main differences between soft skills and hard skills lies in the nature of these skills themselves. Soft skills are social, emotional, and communication skills that allow effective interaction, while hard skills are more technical and related to a specific area of knowledge.
Another significant difference lies in the way they are acquired. Although there are indeed programs or courses to develop soft skills, these are generally cultivated through experience and social interaction. Hard skills are obtained through academic training and practice.
The goal of the skills is also a great differentiator. Soft skills aim to improve how people behave and relate to their environment. On the other hand, hard skills enhance a person’s competencies to perform a task.
As noted, soft skills are transferable to different environments and situations. This differs from hard skills, limited to a specific area or field of knowledge. Finally, hard skills are easily measurable, unlike soft skills, which tend to be more challenging to evaluate since there is no objective way to measure leadership ability or empathy.
Why are Soft Skills essential for the future of work?
Linkedin’s Workplace Learning Report 2023 revealed that the skills companies need most are communication, management, leadership, and teamwork. All of them are soft skills! LinkedIn data also shows that the skills required for jobs have changed by approximately 25% since 2015, and this figure is expected to double by 2027. Fortunately, 89% of L&D professionals agree that developing employees’ skills will help organizations face the future of work.
Employers value both hard skills and soft skills in a candidate and often seek people who have a balance between both skills. However, the growing interest of companies in soft skills is related to their importance for future jobs. Soft skills help professionals work well with others and are necessary for effective interaction with people, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
The workplace world is changing rapidly, and soft skills are necessary to adapt. People who can quickly and effectively adapt to new roles and responsibilities will be highly valued in the future. Communication, empathy, creativity, leadership, collaboration, and persuasion skills will also be highly appreciated.
Soft Skills: Examples of critical skills for professional success
Leadership means motivating, inspiring, and guiding others toward common goals. This is a highly valued soft skill, as organizations seek professionals who enable each team member to do their best to achieve a mutual benefit.
Communicating clearly, concisely, and effectively is fundamental to any job. A professional who can convey information clearly and understandably, listen and understand the needs of others, and persuade them, will be highly valued in the job market.
3. Time Management
This soft skill is highly valued in an environment where work demands are increasingly high and available time is increasingly limited. Professionals who manage their time correctly can establish priorities and focus on the most critical tasks. They can also eliminate distractions, create a work plan, delegate, and meet established deadlines.
Another relevant characteristic of the future of work is its constant change and evolution. Professionals capable of adapting to these changes in situations, methodologies, and technologies are indispensable for a work team. Adapting also involves learning quickly, being flexible, and changing focus when necessary.
5. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking is a soft skill that has to do with the ability to consider something in a completely new way. Creative professionals bring different and novel perspectives to companies that help them solve problems, face challenges, or perform tasks.
This soft skill is closely linked to creativity because creative people can also analyze situations or problems and identify practical solutions. A professional with this soft skill can mediate disputes and achieve consensus, something extremely useful in any industry.
Methods for developing soft skills in your company
- Promote a corporate culture that favors the development of soft skills
As mentioned, soft skills are developed through interaction and experience with the environment. If a company practices a leadership style that values teamwork and fosters communication through daily example, these values will be naturally transmitted throughout the organization.
- Offer mentoring that provides fundamental changes in behavior
Mentoring is a traditional learning method that never goes out of style because it is a very close and human way of guiding professionals in their daily tasks. It offers the ideal opportunity to develop communication skills; they promote collaboration, empathy, and adaptation to change.
- Integrate activities that promote the development of soft skills into the workflow
We know that practice is the best way to learn; the same is true with soft skills. Offering opportunities for your employees to practice their soft skills at work is very simple if you assign team projects to promote communication, problem-solving, and creative thinking.
- Offer corporate training programs focused on the development of soft skills
Developing soft skills in your team is necessary and possible through training programs to develop teamwork, creative thinking, or leadership skills! An excellent soft skills training program helps you identify the training needs of your staff, select the most appropriate methodology to offer it, and establish clear and achievable goals.
An innovative and personalized solution is required to train your professionals in soft skills. At isEazy Skills, we want to offer it to you! Our catalog of courses is designed with new digital learning techniques and dynamic e-learning content to provide a compelling and unique learning experience.
IsEazy Skills offers interactive multimedia resources and a practical methodology that helps professionals develop transferable habits in their workplace. Try it now and enjoy the best and most complete catalog of courses to improve your employees’ soft and digital skills.