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How to measure and evaluate the soft skills of your employees?

In these times when so much is being said about the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies to take on tasks that, until now, have been carried out by human beings, human capital has become more important than ever for companies.

Technology allows replicating ways of working. For example, if there is an organization that is using software to manage its accounting in an almost totally automatic way, nothing prevents its main competitor from doing the same. Invest in the same program, or even a better one.

However, human talent cannot be copied. It's something unique, and it's on its way to becoming something even more valuable. Because, now that technology can take over many tedious and repetitive tasks, human beings can devote our time and effort to tasks that truly have added value. This is something that is beneficial for both employees and organizations, because encourages motivation and productivity.

The time has come to let technology perform basic and essential functions, and to dedicate people's talents to more important tasks. But for this to be possible, companies must ensure that their employees have the soft skills necessary to adapt to changes and successfully manage everything that is happening in the workplace and what is to come.

This way, measure and evaluate soft skills in their workforce is one of the most immediate challenges that companies have to take on when it comes to managing human capital.

 

Table of Contents

One more step in performance evaluation

Organizations have always been aware of how important it is for them to be aware of the performance of their staff members. Historically, what has been done is measure performance in quantitative aspects. For example, the number of pieces that an operator is capable of making in a working day, or the volume of work that an administrative person carries out throughout a month.

But the passage of time has shown that, to obtain a complete picture of the talent within the company, these types of metrics are not enough. Now it is necessary to know more about the soft skills of employees. Because they not only tell us about what they can do, but about what they can do.

Circumstances can change quickly, and companies need to adapt just as quickly if they are to survive. To do this, they must ensure that they have workers who have skills and abilities that allow them to readjust the way they work. And this is only possible through soft skills.

Although in the past measuring this type of capacity was complicated and the analyzes ended up being quite subjective, at present there are many tools that allow you to analyze different parameters in a simple, fast, effective and objective way.

But you have to go a step further. It is of little use to measure the performance of employees, including their soft skills, if that information is not taken advantage of later. This type of analysis must have a reason for being, which is none other than that of to create a comprehensive talent development strategy.

Three essential aspects to measure and evaluate soft skills

For the process to be truly effective, three basic aspects such as precision, objectivity and efficiency must be taken into account. Each of them is essential for the company to be sure that the The results obtained are significant and reliable.

Precision

Accuracy when measuring soft skills means getting detailed and realistic data on the performance of employees in areas such as communication or teamwork.

But it also involves making sure that the results are true to reality and are not influenced by subjective interpretations. To achieve this, the HR manager has to act with caution and give himself time to analyze and review all the data carefully, because only then can he draw a conclusion that is as objective as possible.

Objectivity

As we have just seen, precision and objectivity are closely linked. The Human Resources department team in charge of evaluating soft skills has to ensure that the process will be completely fair and impartial, which will not favor or disadvantage any employee due to external factors.

In this sense, the use of standardized tools and structured questionnaires may be the best solution, because they help to minimize the impact of biases.

Efficiency

Time and resources are never superfluous in an organization, so it must be ensured that the measurement and evaluation process is as efficient as possible. That is not him “stole” too much time neither to the employees who have to do the tests nor to those who must analyze the information.

Once again, technology becomes a great ally, because thanks to it, data collection and its subsequent evaluation can be speeded up as much as possible.

The important role of HR personnel in the evaluation of soft skills

The HR department fulfills an increasingly strategic role within organizations, because it is in charge of managing their most valuable asset: their human capital.

When it comes to measuring and evaluating soft skills, the success of the process depends, to a large extent, on whether this department has taken the appropriate steps, which are the following.

Identify relevant soft skills

In order to start measuring and evaluating competencies, you must first establish a order of priority between them. Determine which are truly important within the company.

This is not possible if the corporate culture, its strategic objectives and the market situation in which the organization operates are not well known. Hence, HR managers have to work closely with leaders from other departments. Because only then will it be possible determine what soft skills are really necessary in each position and level.

Design of custom development programs

Once the evaluation has been carried out, one more step must be taken, which is to create personalized programs that are in charge of Strengthen the skills of each employee. Here you can include coaching sessions, workshops, mentoring...

The heads of the HR department have to ensure that employees receive constructive feedback after the evaluation, and support to continue improving professionally.

Foster a culture of learning and growth

Employees are going to be uncooperative in performance evaluation tests if they are not clear about what they are really for. 

It is the job of the HR department to foster a culture of learning and growth. Take charge of explaining what soft skills are, how they can help improve a person's professional career, and Why are they so important right now?

Evaluate the impact and adjust the strategy

The soft skills measurement and development programs must also be reviewed, in order to carry out the adjustments that are necessary to make them even more efficient.

Tools to measure the soft skills of employees

  • Questionnaires and surveys. They are a quick and simple way to collect information and can be carried out by a third party or by the employee himself whose skills are going to be measured. 
  • 360 degree evaluations. They involve collecting information about a person from various sources: superiors, direct colleagues, customers, etc. The goal is to get a much more accurate view of how a worker acts in different situations and what capabilities they have.
  • Evaluation interviews. Structured or semi-structured, what they do is delve into a person's soft skills through questions related to certain situations. They allow closer interaction and make it easier to understand worker reactions.
  • Simulations and case studies. It is a much more practical exercise, aimed at learning about people's ability to work in a team or solve problems, and to detect other soft skills such as leadership. What is done is to make an assumption and for those involved to think about how they would act in that situation.
  • Use of Artificial Intelligence. There are already AI platforms specialized in soft skills assessment. These are tools that can measure emotional intelligence and communicative skills through language.

 

There is no tool that is better than another. In fact, it is best to combine at least two in order to obtain an integrated approach. In any case, what is essential is that the tools used have been validated and are backed by scientific evidence that attests to their reliability and effectiveness when measuring soft skills.

Intangible skills such as emotional intelligence or effective communication are essential to achieve good employee performance. Hence, the precise measurement of soft skills has become a task that must be given the highest priority in the field of HR.

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