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The Role Of Soft Skills In Modern Staffing

The job market today has grown exceedingly competitive. One recent turn of events this increase in competition has created is the need for soft skills as a qualification for being hired.

A solid set of technical or hard skills relating to a job opening used to be the accepted metric for hiring new employees. However, employers are now seeking more than just technical skills and a combination of hard and soft skills to ensure they have the perfect fit for the job. 

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that determine a person’s relationship with other individuals. Also known as people skills or interpersonal skills, soft skills are personal attributes that an employee has that enable them to interact effectively with others. This includes skills like communication, leadership, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, creativity, adaptability, and even teamwork.

Unlike technical skills that focus on what people know or how well they can do certain things, soft skills focus on innate character traits and who people are. While soft skills usually come naturally, they can also be learned and honed. In fact, the modern job market requires the average employee to have a combination of soft and hard skills before they can be considered fit to fill a job role.

The need for employees with valuable soft skills is one of the biggest workplace trends in the business world today. Now more than ever, employers value talents that can balance hard and soft skills. In fact, one survey showed that skill building is becoming common practice as employers place more emphasis on social and emotional intelligence. While having hard skills may get a recruiter’s attention, having the necessary soft skills will increase your chances of getting the job.

Why Is Time Management Considered a Soft Skill?

Soft skills are considered essential in business as they determine how well an employee can work with others. These skills highlight how easy or difficult an employee will find it to create working and healthy relationships with their colleagues and how they will relate with customers when the need arises.

Highly-developed soft skills make creating lasting relationships with colleagues and customers easier. It can help any employee gain the confidence they need to navigate the business easily. Some important soft skills include:

  • Soft skills provide career longevity

Hard skills are great, but they can only take you so far. The ability to relate with people on a more social and emotional level will open doors in the business world far wider and faster than honing hard skills will.

Soft skills may be harder to measure than technical skills, but they offer employees the career longevity they need to flourish. In a 2019 Global Talent survey and data report, LinkedIn found out that soft skills can make or break a hire. 89% of recruiters agree that when an employee isn’t hired, their lack of soft skills or inadequate soft skills is to blame.

In many cases, technical skills may get an employee hired. However, lacking the soft skills required by that position may cause friction in the employees’ and their colleagues’ ability to get jobs done and meet goals quickly. 

For example, every call center agent is required to have active listening and communication soft skills. When an agent is employed due to their hard skills, they may find it difficult to navigate relationships with customers due to the soft skills they lack. This difficulty may cause them to find it challenging to retain jobs.

Soft skills offer career durability, creating longevity and helping employees climb up their career ladder.

  • Soft Skills Are Transferable

Technical skills often change and are often customized to suit a certain job. For instance, a software engineer will require a different set of technical skills than an accountant would. As such, these skills are not considered interchangeable or transferable.

On the other hand, soft skills are independent of the profession. They remain constant throughout a person’s career, ensuring that they keep an individual highly employable. These skills are highly relevant and transferable, ensuring that an employee remains valuable regardless of the career or profession they find themselves pursuing.

More importantly, many of these skills do not require training, a trait that makes them desirable to many employers. While some employers may offer training to hone soft skills, they expect new hires to have adequate soft skills before being hired. 

Additionally, because many soft skills are transferable, it is easier for an employee to change careers or positions without any problem. Soft skills offer the foundation and traction needed for hard skills to take off. Making them one of the most valuable traits any employee may possess.

  • Soft Skills Are Important For Remote Work

As of 2022, 26% of U.S. Employees worked remotely. Remote working has become more popular over the years. Across various industries, companies have gone from requiring a traditional work environment where employees are requested to be present to adopting a remote or hybrid (blend of traditional and remote) working condition.

With companies adopting hybrid or remote working conditions, employees who aim to retain jobs are required to adapt to these new work models. While technical knowledge plays a huge role in helping employees transition from traditional to remote jobs, soft skills fuel the transition. 

For years, skills being placed over degrees in hiring processes have become a norm. Now, soft skills are no longer optional, meaning every employee is expected to have one or more soft skills. By having soft skills, talents give themselves an edge and stand out, thereby helping them get noticed by employees looking for talents to work in their flexible or remote work environment. Additionally, many soft skills such as communication are important for surviving in the virtual world of remote working.

A man standing behind a flat screen computer monitor.
Having soft skills is an essential part of leadership.

Why Should Companies Hire Employees With Soft Skills?

Soft skills are not only beneficial to the employees that possess them. They are also important for employers who hire talents that possess these skills. Some of these important include:

  • Increased Efficiency and Productivity 

One research shows that soft skills, specifically communication and problem-solving, can boost productivity and retention by 12%. This research also showed that communication and problem-solving soft skills deliver a 25% return on investment (ROI) based on perceived higher productivity and retention. 

Additionally, a study has shown that leaders with strong, soft skills can increase their team’s performance by up to 30%. This is not surprising, especially since soft skills are people skills that enable employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively, thereby increasing their ability to work together. This increases efficiency and productivity, helping them accomplish tasks and reach goals faster. This efficiency positively impacts productivity and performance in the long and short run.

  • Stronger Relationships

Since the average employee spends an estimated one-third of their life in an office, it is essential to share a great relationship with people regardless of the environment they find themselves in. 

Employees with soft skills find creating and sustaining lasting workplace relationships easier. They are more emotionally intelligent and, as a result, can build rapport with their colleagues and managers. They can empathize, motivate, and positively influence the people around them, thereby creating a positive environment filled with positive relationships that create a sense of community at work.

  • Improved Retention Rate

Just as having soft skills offer employees the career durability they seek, having employees with soft skills offers improved retention rates. 

Staffing your team with employees with soft skills means you have a team of valuable individuals with equally valuable people skills. These individuals are usually more valuable and grounded than employees without soft skills, making you less motivated to let them go.

More importantly, talents want to work with companies prioritizing personal and professional growth and development. It is, therefore, no surprise that many employees will abandon their hobby for one that offers more training opportunities, especially in soft skills.

By offering talents an option to learn how to hone or utilize several soft skills, you give them a reason to want to work with or continue working with you. These training opportunities offer employees the motivation they need to stick with your company, a decision that can save you thousands of dollars in recruitment costs.

  • Innovative Solutions

Although technical skills often lead to the discovery of innovative solutions, soft skills such as creativity and problem-solving play more important roles in doing so. An employee with hard skills may be able to come up with a solution to a problem that the company is facing, but without creativity, they will lack innovation.

Soft skills birth innovation. Other than making it possible to solve problems, soft skills enable employees to generate new ideas, products, and services that add value to the organization. This helps the organization navigate problems easily while staying ahead of the competition and exceeding customer expectations. After all, companies that prioritize innovation and innovative skills experience 2.6 times higher revenue growth and 2.5 times higher profit margins than those that do not.

  • Company Growth

Although investing in employees with experience and degrees is a great way to build a successful company, it will only be complete with employees having the necessary soft skills to fuel company growth. Employee soft skills can lead to a more engaged, efficient, and articulate workforce, helping the company reach goals more easily and faster. It is, therefore, not strange to find out that companies with employees that have a wide range of soft skill sets often outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings per share and have a 90% better growth trend. 

Workers holding hands in an office.
Soft skills improve interpersonal relationships and unity at work.

Examples of Soft Skills and Their Importance

There are numerous soft skills that an employee might have. While every soft skill plays a significant role in employee and company growth, some are more valued than most.

As soft skills become increasingly important in the modern workplace, it is important – as an employer- to become familiar with the different soft skills and their importance in an organization’s success story. Some examples of soft skills and their importance include:

  • Adaptability And Flexibility: The Modern workplace is a fast-moving environment. This could be because of the increase in competition in the market or other important concerns like the rapid advancement of technology. Regardless of what it is, it is important to have employees that can adjust to unexpected changes and embrace new ways of working. Employees with adaptability and soft flexibility skills have little to no problems learning ways to adjust quickly to changes. They are constantly evolving, learning new skills where and when necessary to remain relevant professionals.
  • Problem-solving: Many businesses with employees with problem-solving skills will agree that having an efficient team to identify the root causes of problems and develop effective solutions is one of the best secrets to a successful and innovative establishment. As previously stated, workplaces are constantly evolving. This means new problems will arise. It is up to companies to have a team of employees that can easily identify these problems and provide the necessary creative solutions for long-term company growth.
  • Communication: Effective communication is important in any successful company. It plays a huge role in passing information in a timely and efficient manner, conveying ideas, and building relationships among colleagues. Effective communication is an important binding agent that holds a company together. Unsurprisingly, communication is one of an employee’s most important soft skills. It is so important that many employees are urged to hone this skill by taking courses, attending workshops/training, or seeking feedback on their communication style.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration is inevitable in any organization. Regardless of how independent an organization might urge employees to be, the need for collaboration often arises. This is why employees need to know how to work seamlessly with their colleagues. They must know how to communicate, share ideas, and work towards common goals. In many cases, employees can improve their teamwork skills by working with managers encouraging teamwork, volunteering to work on projects with colleagues from different departments or backgrounds, and participating in other activities requiring teamwork.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotions are a huge factor in any workplace. Emotions affect decision-making, relationships, and even productivity. While emotional intelligence is often innate, it is more pronounced in some than others. As a result, employees with high emotional intelligence are often valued in the workplace. Emotional intelligence is even more important in leaders that are responsible for managing and motivating a team of employees.
  • Leadership: Only some people can lead; shy leadership as a soft skill is extremely important. Good leaders should inspire, motivate, and guide their teams efficiently. They should lead by example and play active roles in decision-making, setting goals, and creating a positive work environment.
  • Time Management: Time management is more than being able to complete goals on time. It involves prioritizing tasks, setting goals, and managing time effectively. Time management affects an employee’s engagement, performance, and productivity, which is why this soft skill is valued by employees today.

Every employee is unique and often possesses a variety of soft skills at varying levels. When hiring employees, paying attention to their soft skills and deciding if they will be the right fit for your company is important. However, it is also important to remember that many of these soft skills can be learned.m with proper training and seminars.

Soft skills play a crucial role in modern staffing as employers increasingly value them. While technical skills and qualifications remain important, employers recognize that soft skills are essential for effective teamwork, communication, and adaptability. 

Soft skills such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and leadership abilities are highly sought after as they contribute to a positive work environment and enhance productivity. In today’s rapidly evolving workplace, where collaboration and innovation are key, candidates with strong soft skills are more likely to succeed and contribute to the success of the organization. 

Implementing Soft Skills In Staffing Decisions

Employers are actively seeking individuals who possess a combination of technical expertise and soft skills, realizing that these skills are valuable assets in building high-performing teams and fostering long-term success.

Prioritizing soft skills in your staffing needs leads to increased employee engagement, productivity, and long-term success. This is a great way to keep a business successful. 

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