Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part I)

communicating on a project together

When it comes to assessing the qualities and skills of candidates, we tend to usually focus mainly on the technical side of things. Are they proficient in the software we use? Does their education match up? Are they skilled in using/learning new technology/programs?

Once we square those facts away, only then do we start to consider qualities like personality, communication skills, work ethic, and the ability to work with others–though more often than not, this part of the interview is pretty brief and seems more like an afterthought.

In turn, we end up losing out on learning about some pretty important, if not essential, skills that can differentiate between a good employee and a great one.

We are, of course, talking about soft skills. And despite their unassuming name, they happen to make a pretty big impact when it comes to a business’ success.

To get you better acquainted with these skills, we thought we do a little series on them. For today, we’ll be focusing on what soft skills entail.

So, what exactly are soft skills?

“Soft skills” is an all-encompassing term that deals specifically with a person’s personality traits, and soft skills are meant to complement a person’s hard skills (i.e. technical skills). When broken down, soft skills refer to a person’s attitude, communication skills, ability to work with others, critical thinking skills, and work ethic.

Why do my employees need great soft skills? 

Basically, the reason why employers should look into a candidate’s soft skills is so they can judge whether or not that person is a good fit into the company culture. On one hand, while we want our employees to be infinitely qualified for the job on the technical end, we also want them to be able to work with others and be able to perform the tasks that they were hired for efficiently and effectively. 

All in all, soft skills will make your employees better–better communicators, better teammates, better decision makers, and better thinkers. Those who possess soft skills tend to have the ability to manage themselves, making for a more productive work team, and allowing you as a leader to have more time to concentrate on the bigger issues in the company.

Check back with us on Monday when we give you some tips on how to find candidates with exceptional soft skills. In the meantime, how much emphasis do you put on soft skills and why? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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