Welcome to the era of soft skills. They must be developed and they must be encouraged, starting with the highest levels of the company, in order for employees to fully value them. Let’s not be mistaken either, they have become an integral force behind recruitment and an essential key to leadership.
From a management perspective, soft skills denote personal traits that do not qualify as technical knowhow (or, hard skills). In older days, companies swore by experts and specialists, but in the modern workforce, it is the behavioral, cultural and social intelligence that takes the higher ground. In other words, the importance of soft skills is now more widely recognized. Is it simply a concept of “new times, new measures?” Not exactly.
The rise of soft skills doesn’t undermine technical skills, it simply makes for better professionalism. After all, the best managers strive for excellence in both technical knowhow and soft skills. Both sides of the coin must convey with this new rule, as such, a hiring Manager should be able to make himself presentable for an interview in both language , and mannerisms, as well as the candidate. Have you ever heard the phrase “Hire for attitude, train the skill”?
A little sweetness in a cruel world?
Soft skills perfect the human side of professionalism, calling on emotions, rationale and empathy.
The digital age has not silenced humankind; quite the contrary actually, it has enhanced our voice, and heart is the reason that companies can no longer ignore soft skills, as Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics once mused: “Yesterday, work was physical. Today, it appeals to intellect. Tomorrow, it will also be necessary to show heart. Emotional intelligence, empathy and collaboration with others around the world is an essential part of the teaching we need to offer.”
Even the most technical of professional environments understand the importance of soft skills; enabling them the upper hand in the fierce economic and technological competition. Bernard Gainnier, CEO of the PwC Consulting and Auditing firm is committed to developing soft skills. He explains:
“What characterizes our era, beyond the creation of new professions, is the pace at which innovations take place and the speed of adaptation required of the company’s human resources. Thus, the essential characteristic of the employee and the self-employed of tomorrow will, above all, be adaptability. Business skills -digital in particular – are essential to anticipate technological developments. But these skills are nothing without creativity, emotional intelligence, imagination … “.
Guillaume Durnerin, head of the recruitment firm Kraven Partners, is particularly attentive to behavior and reason in candidates. He favors “thinking quickly and finding a quick solution to a problem. To be able to transmit information and messages, and to also get his entourage on board.”
In all of these situations, soft skills play an important role. However, how do you introduce soft skills into a digitalized world? given that communication between employers and employees is mainly digital, securing a proper Talent Management Plan and having such solution in place will certainly help your cause. Constant interactive means of internal communication, open discussions, community forums, social media integration and interaction as well as the facility to clearly design your teams objectives to measure their performance is real and is entirely up to you!
Spirit, are you there?
Common sense, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, creativity… soft skills make us more inventive, imaginative and more collaborative; both individually and collectively. They have been described as the ability to adapt, create and solve problems. They also facilitate the ability to connect and collaborate with others. Whether its digital or verbal, the initiative and the principal is what matters.
Soft skills reflect the infinite number of human emotions. Though we cannot list them all (trust us, we’d be here all day) La Prévert, a PwC firm put six in the spotlight, all of which are relevant to all companies and industries:
– Agility, or the ability to adapt to all situations
– Curiosity, or the desire to understand the problem
– Team spirit, or the ability to work with all levels
– Leadership, or the ability to create inspiration
– The entrepreneurial spirit, or the ability to be proactive
– “Outside the box” thinking, or the ability to innovate.
Soft skills endow us with the ability to supplement our knowledge and skill sets in a modern workforce. If business in the 21st century means being more “human,” then soft skills are our best allies.
Praise for the cross-over
“At the London School of Economics, our goal is for students to develop an interdisciplinary foundation in the first year,”
says the director of this prestigious institution. Acquiring a foundation of knowledge is important; knowing how to use it wisely throughout your professional life is just as important. Understanding how to universally open a dialogue in any given situation, however, is far more defining. At Cegid, we believe that smart processes exist to facilitate your daily needs, helping you save time , allowing you to better focus on HR value added initiatives. We want you to do what you do best , and leave us the rest.
This crossing-over of skills paves the way for different innovations by virtue of adapting the answers to complex questions. For example, in the digital technology field, linguists and semantics specialists coexist with data scientists and mathematicians to explore new possibilities.
Soft skills are the keys to advancing collective intelligence and improving performance
Find out more about how to better manage your workforce from hire to retire, with a modern Talent Management Suite designed to fit your industry best practices.