Soft skills and hard skills complement each other. But could soft skills be about to overtake hard skills when it comes to their importance in the workplace?
Take these as an example…
- Which dentist do you go to?
- Where do you get your beauty treatments?
- Which Web developer did you hire because your friend recommended them?
Each of these professions requires very similar, if not the same qualifications in order to perform their role, but there’s a reason you choose to go with just one of them.
Maybe it’s that your dentist appreciates that you are very nervous about your dental work and takes the time to keep you calm? Maybe your beautician makes an effort to get your treatment completed an extra 10 minutes early so you can get somewhere? Or perhaps your Web Developer went the extra mile to make your Contact page more effective on your new website?
The point is that sometimes you go with the person that has good communication, time management, organisational or problem-solving skills compared to someone who has exactly the same qualification.
LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that 92% of talent acquisition professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. Additionally, 89% said that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills.
What are the differences between soft skills and hard skills?
Soft skills can be defined as:
The interpersonal skills that you use for communicating, building relationships and working effectively. They could be things such as confidence building, leadership skills, or time management.
Hard skills can be defined as:
Things that you get more direct qualifications for or jobs that require a specific qualification in order to complete the job safely.
However, these terms can overlap a little and they may be open to interpretation.
Why might soft skills be more important?
Soft skills can have an impact on your business as a whole. They can impact how a business functions internally and externally. Workplaces have changed over the years as business owners now look at investing in their staff, as individuals, more and more. Soft skills are key to creating a positive and functional work environment.
With that said, here are a few reasons why soft skills may be more important than hard skills...
Soft Skills can be harder to learn
Soft skills can be harder to develop than hard skills. Sometimes hard skills might be something you can learn quickly or they could be developed over a period of time. But with certain soft skills, they may be something you have to really work at improving and learning them can depend a lot on one's character and mindset. Learning soft skills can require a real conscious effort and is something you have to dedicate your time to.
Modern workplaces rely on soft skills
As we touched upon in our ‘What are soft skills and why are they important in the modern workplace?’ blog, soft skills can help with career progression and promotions. They're what make us human. Customers want to see these skills from staff, and they can help employees become more productive, encourage collaboration, help communication and listening skills between colleagues often improve as a result.
We briefly touched on it above, but having a team with developed soft skills such as good communication, problem solving and confidence is what your customers will want to see, and it’s something that will make you stand out from your competitors. Marketplaces are becoming more and more saturated with similar products and services so it’s essential that your business and your team do what they can to provide your customers with the best service possible where things like convenience and low costs are easy to come by.
Those in leadership roles will not necessarily all have the same hard skills, but they might all have skills that show that they think about their team dynamics and they can adapt their leadership style to different situations and personalities. There’s a range of skills that can make an effective leader. Those strong skills in communication, problem solving, teamwork, confidence or organisation could place you above someone else in a new job application.
Find a balance
If you’re unsure about which you should be focusing on more - soft or hard skills - then the answer is pretty simple… both! Employers, now more than ever, are looking for employees with both, but of course, there will be an exception to this rule where the hard or soft skill requirement might outweigh the other.
“Soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030”.
With that being said, by no means are we saying that hard skills are irrelevant or that you can do every job with just a resume of soft skills. In fact, there are some jobs that you physically won’t be able to do without a qualification.
Soft Skill Training
Training your staff in soft skills can really enhance your business and make you stand out from the crowd. Your staff will also be appreciative of the support with professional development!
If you would like to know more about our Soft Skill Training Courses we have available or talk to someone about which would be best suited for you or your staff then why not get started with a free no-obligation trial today?