According to Monster, “Soft skills are both intangible and difficult to quantify. They are so revered because they help facilitate human connections.”
With business standards constantly changing, we are all scrambling to meet new expectations with an open heart and an even more restless mind. Resumes pour onto our desks, much longer and more descriptive than in previous times. We are seeing fewer soft skills included, as the candidate focuses more on what they can bring to the table. Their technical skills – highlighted. Their achievements – recognized. But, who are they and what makes them tick? Are they responsible, trustworthy, or none of the kind?
A study by educators at Boston College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan found that the development of soft skills will “boosts productivity and retention by more than 12% and deliver a 250% return on investment, based on higher productivity and rates of retention.” And yet, Dice went on to disclose that “40 percent of employers said they have difficulty filling vacancies because younger workers lack soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality.”
“They are key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating more opportunities for advancement,” says Kathy Robinson, founder of Boston career-coaching firm TurningPoint. Employers should be looking for soft skills just as much as they are looking for the nitty-gritty of what a job description entails. Soft skills are innately people skills, and they’re necessary when working in teams, engaging in customer service, and making a sell.
What are the essential soft skills we should look for in an employee, and what makes them truly stand out among the rest?
A strong work ethic.
There’s something about an ambitious candidate that grabs your attention. From the moment they walk through those doors, the place lights up with passion – and you know this candidate is yours.
Someone with a strong work ethic understands that what you put in is what you will get out. This person is focused, has a positive attitude, and by all accounts, a go-getter. They take the initiative. They’re a self-starter and hold themselves accountable for what goes on in their department. They live by the book yet break all the rules.
Team Work and Leadership
This person knows what it means to take charge, but they know there is more to just being a leader. They know what it means to be part of a team and how everyone in that team has a unique set of skills, talent, and capabilities that can be put to good use. They work hard to motivate and encourage others, sometimes acting as a mentor to a new generation of leaders. They treat everyone with equal respect, uplifting their teams to new heights, and sharing the recognition of a job that’s been well done.
We cannot stress enough just how important communication is to any:
Being able to articulate the finer details can mean successfully:
- Selling a Product
- Improving Processes
- Impacting the Customer Experience
- Aiding Productivity
- Securing Capital
- Manifesting a Vision
- Driving Performance
- Establishing Processes
- Forging Partnerships
- Mending Broken Ties
- Cultivating Key Relationships
It is being able to communicate means being able to provide a clear direction to any scenario, elaborate upon any task, and provide key details on just about any subject. Communication is essential to relationships, and effective communication minimizes conflict due to miscommunication.
Also, wholly cherished by an organization, time management is a top skill when involved in the turnaround of projects, logistics, or product delivery. A client wants a schedule of when they can expect the turnaround of their project. The organization wants to have an idea as to how many new clients they should take on during any given period. The earlier a project can be finalized; then the sooner new projects can be taken on. Existing projects can be tested for quality, and the client can request additional work.
The fine-line between common sense and critical thinking, creative problem-solving, is a fantastic skill to have and an even rarer gem for one to find. Going outside of the box and delivering unorthodox solutions, a creative problem-solver is forward-thinking, and a gift truly cherished by any organization that he or she comes by. Some of today’s most critical problems have been solved, thanks to creative problem-solvers. Saving companies from some of the biggest challenges and conflicts that they have ever faced, it’s no wonder why they’re so in demand.
A critical interdisciplinary skill, active listening is a soft skill that an employer should look for when onboarding an employee. Active listeners can emphasize with others while paying attention to what’s being said and what is not. Their comprehension and situational awareness stem from both logic and a sense of intuition. Allowing the active listener to make the subject feel safe, comfortable, and secure enough to open up and get to the bottom of all issues and conflicts that they are facing.
Flexible and Able to Adapt
Candidates that are flexible in a fast-paced environment demonstrate they can accommodate any last-minute change in schedule and work under a variety of conditions. While they may have planned to carry out a task one-way, they can quickly adapt to change and improvise to provide a satisfactory outcome at the end of the day. The ability to adjust processes and grow with evolving environments are amazing soft skills to have. One who is flexible may also showcase skills to manage risks, analyze potentially threatening situations, and quickly create a Plan B in efforts to eliminate downtime. This is typically behalf of the organization, department, or project management team.
Find Out How Your Company Can Benefit from Certain Soft Skills
With quite an infusion of soft skills and talents, we have secured some of Knoxville’s most invaluable candidates and provide our clients with some of the most awe-inspiring weapons in the rat race towards success. Find out how your company can benefit. Contact a member of our Gem Care team today!