Thursday 26 February 2015

Soft Skills are Hard

by Sarah Kingdom-Evans, Account Principal

I have read several articles over the past few days recognising that our 'Soft Skills' need to be taken seriously, with skills such as communication, initiative and interaction quoted. Such importance is attributed to these traits that the Development Economics Group has put an £88bn annual value on such qualities in the workforce. However, in our industry where there is a technological reliance, how do we recognise and develop the attitude and characteristics that will enable us to successfully develop our business, with an equal measure of academic qualifications?

Business leaders have pinpointed soft skills as the modern workplace's most sought after quality.   However attributes such as communication and interpersonal skills are surely very hard to demonstrate unless you are face-to-face. At BravoSolution, we see an extremely high calibre of potential candidates when we are recruiting, with candidates often educated to a standard far higher than was seen several years ago and we have to question “are they suited to our organisation?”. Every company has its own DNA, and we at BravoSolution definitely look for a certain something, however that something it is very hard to quantify and specify on a job description.

One of the articles told how an educated, seemingly perfect intern was awful. She was rude, late and openly complained that the job was ‘boring’ on social media... needless to say that intern was not offered a job.  In order to fill a gap, another intern was taken on. The second intern had only a handful of GCSEs, however she was liked... she had ‘it’. She was charming with clients, easy to be around, showed initiative and was grateful for the opportunity. She is now a full time employee .

Leading organisations such as McDonalds UK have examined the value of soft skills and their research tells us that by 2016 more than 500,000 workers will be held back by a lack of soft skills, with nearly 50% of UK employers believing that soft skills are more important than academic results. This is so hard for people to get right...academic results will get you through the door, yet your soft skills are likely to get and retain that job.

So smile like you mean it, be nice, be punctual and always polite and kind. Maybe soft isn't that hard?

1 comment:

  1. How true it is that the soft skills are often overlooked in the recruitment process.
    Businesses today have found it difficult to manage the volume of applications, hence why they use sifting tools, competency tests and even dare I say it psychometric tests (which are proven to not be a good predictor).
    Why would you expect to find soft skills when you use hard coded systems.
    Focus is needed on supporting the building of meaningful and productive relationships, otherwise businesses will increase the risk of dysfunctional behaviours.