All companies aspire to achieve excellence, as a way to achieve an increase in profits. They want to do much better than their competition and, for this, they trust their most valuable asset: their employees.
However, for years, it has been mistakenly believed that the key to differentiating from others and having a competitive advantage was for employees to have a large number of technical skills and specific knowledge related to their area of expertise. expertise. Therefore, the only ones that were taken into account were hard skills or hard skills.
But the passage of time has shown that it's not enough with which the members of a template have the technical skills to carry out the tasks entrusted to them. Because these do not allow them to adapt to changes and face new challenges. In fact, a worker who has only developed his hard skills may feel a bit scared if he sees that things start to change and that what he knew how to do now is no longer as valuable, or is done in a different way.
Luckily, this has a solution: enhance soft skills. Hard skills can be learned, and may even become obsolete over time, but soft ones are always useful, and complement the technical knowledge of the employees.
These are interpersonal or socio-emotional skills that focus on how a person relates to others and how they manage their emotions and behaviors in different situations.
Therefore, achieving that excellence that companies seek so much is not possible in the current environment if the workforce does not have hard and soft skills.
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From the underestimation of soft skills to the change in trend
Traditionally, soft skills have been underestimated within the work environment. Companies were interested in their employees knowing how to do the basic tasks of the jobs they held, nothing more.
Soft skills were barely given importance. largely because They were very difficult to measure and quantify., compared to how easy it was to measure a person's technical capabilities.
when there was still no specific tools to determine the degree of development of soft skills, it was easy to measure the level of knowledge of an accountant about his work, but very difficult to know to what extent he was capable of working as a team. That's why, companies went easy and only valued knowledge and technical capabilities. Consequently, aspects such as emotional intelligence or empathy were ignored in the selection and promotion processes.
As the marketplace has changed, companies have had to advance their views, recognizing that soft skills have a more significant impact on individual and collective performance than previously thought.
in full era of digitization and automation, many hard skills are becoming obsolete. Because robots and Artificial Intelligence systems are increasingly taking on tasks that until recently were performed by human beings.
In this new and complex scenario, the only alternative that human beings have is to adapt to the new work environment. Provide value that machines cannot provide. It is now when soft skills are ceasing to be a mere complement to a good professional profile, to become something totally essential.
5 reasons why soft skills are essential for companies today
Foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork
Soft skills are interpersonal skills that facilitate communication, the development of empathy and the ability to work in a team. Which turn out to be essential elements to create a solid and collaborative business culture.
Employees with soft skills have easier to establish meaningful connections with other colleagues, which generates an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. Due, productivity and creativity increase, and work teams are able to deal with problems more effectively.
In fact, communication and collaboration extend beyond a work team or department. The employees they feel part of a “whole” and they are willing to row together in the same direction to achieve the objectives that the company has set.
Improve leadership and team management
Good leadership is essential in any company, regardless of its size or the sector in which it operates. And, to this day, We do not understand the figure of the leader if it is not accompanied by a good number of soft skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy, or the ability to carry out active listening.
If both the leader and the people under his direction have well-developed soft skills, it will be easier for a relationship of trust to emerge and that conflicts can be handled constructively. This achieves greater productivity, because the work environment is positive and increases the motivation of all employees.
Increase satisfaction and retention of talent
The difficulty in attracting and retaining talent is one of the great challenges that companies face today. Beyond having a good salary or good working conditions, the Employees want to feel valued and recognized on a personal and professional level.
If a company invests in training its staff on issues such as conflict resolution skills or developing empathy, it is showing that it cares about its people at all levels. Because these new skills are just as useful on the job as they are off of it.
By feeling more valued, workers are less willing to go to work elsewhere. For the company, this means having talent that differentiates it from its competition and, at the same time, saving on the costs associated with staff turnover.
On the other hand, the lower the turnover in the company and the more stable the work teams, the more motivated the employees will feel.
Facilitate adaptation to change and business resilience
Technological advancement and geopolitical and economic crises cause great uncertainty among employees. So that this uncertainty does not translate into a drop in motivation and productivity, what is needed are people who have a good capacity to adapt to changes.
If the company has a workforce made up of flexible and resilient workers, it itself becomes more flexible and resilient.. This means that you will have it a little easier than other companies to face the constant changes and challenges that are coming.
In addition, employees with the ability to quickly adapt to changes tend to be people with greater creative and innovative capacity, and this is something that can help the company to stay ahead in its sector.
Improve the image and reputation of the company
The advantages of soft skills are projected outward. Because a company that has a good collaborative culture and fosters positive interpersonal relationships, manages to attract the attention of customers, potential partners, and even of future employees. All this places it in an advantageous situation with respect to its competition.
Without forgetting that a company that values and promotes the development of soft skills is perceived by the public as a more humane and ethical organization. Factors that generate loyalty and trust both among their own workers and among consumers.
Economic advantages of promoting soft skills
Often the language that companies understand best is that of money. For this reason, we want to analyze the advantages for a company of enhancing the soft skills of its employees, but from a purely economic perspective. So, if any company still hasn't bought into how important these skills are, we hope they will after seeing these arguments.
- Increased productivity and efficiency. Soft skills promote better communication and greater collaboration, improving the efficiency of work teams. They are able to solve problems earlier and make better decisions. As a consequence, the company becomes more productive and increases its possibilities of obtaining profits.
- Cost reduction. As we mentioned before, a company that values and promotes soft skills has a better reputation as an employer and retains its employees. With a lower turnover rate, the costs associated with the selection processes are greatly reduced.
- More customer loyalty. Employees with soft skills treat customers better and are able to build strong relationships with them. Loyal customers not only buy more, but become brand ambassadors.
Whether from a purely economic point of view, or from any other, it is clear that soft skills are an essential factor for the success of companies. The focus on the development of soft skills is helping organizations to go further, while improving the satisfaction of their employees and their customers, and this is a path that has no turning back.