Open any business magazine and the top headlines are most likely devoted to advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, or Elon Musk’s latest batch of self-driving cars. While it comes as no surprise that technology promises a big shift for future workplaces, what any good recruiter will tell you is that the hiring game hasn’t changed all that much.
Even with digital natives outshining their older counterparts with an innate understanding of technology and warp speed adoption of new digital methods of communication—what a generation cradled in the arms of technology might never fully comprehend is what every good recruiter knows by heart: soft-skills are absolutely irreplaceable.
Soft skills are anything but “superficial”
Joseph Fuller, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, made a bold claim in a speech to Iowa educators when he made this statement:
“Forty-nine percent of all terminations are attributed to deficient soft skills, which by a factor of 2x, is the number one reason workers are fired.”
Soft skills, as it turns out, are a really big deal. Soft skills encompass something more than collaboration or communication, but are identified in six primary categories as outlined by Iowa’s Department of Education.
The 6 Types of Soft Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Complex Communication
- Flexibility and Adaptability
- Productivity and Accountability
If you can think of a team member or employee in recent history was hard to work with, it’s almost never because they were bad at the particulars of their job, but that they lacked one of these crucial skills. An employee out of sync with the people around them can take down even the fastest moving ship. It’s also worth addressing that soft skills are growing more valuable by the minute as robots and machine learning are adopting tasks once relegated only to humans—leaving the work of empathy, customer service, and creative thinking to more people.
This is important because the success of future companies relies on the quality of job candidates with these very soft skills to master them.
When we think of the most challenging situations at work, the majority stem from a lack of soft skills we are experiencing with another person. A communication breakdown. A coworker who is inflexible when a new challenge presents itself. Hostility or resistance in the process of receiving critical feedback from others. Finger pointing and blame shifting after a mistake is made. An endless saga is likely to unfold when soft skills are lacking.
Soft skills means fostering relationships
Teamwork is effortless and harmonic when soft skills are at work.People understand one and other and extend extra courtesy. Collaboration is the default
instead of individual contributors fighting to receive credit. These small shifts make a world of difference in the working world, and leaders must
demonstrate them first.
I encourage you to consider how you can start bringing in more soft skills to your workplace, effective immediately. They will change the way you hire, the kind of products you make, and the workplaces you create.
To your excellence in encouraging collaboration and growth,