As the "Great Resignation" is in full swing—undoubtedly you and many HR professionals, have been putting it off, hoping the vacancies would magically fill themselves without weeks of interviewing. However, the vacancies are still vacant, and candidates are at the door awaiting their turn to deliver their rehearsed answers to the same ol' interview questions.
You need someone who can do the job, but you also need someone who is motivated and flexible. "Hard skills will get you the interview; soft skills will get you the job." What will both get you? Lucky.
Employers used to believe if you could only have one skill, it was better to hire someone with soft skills because hard skills were easier to teach. However, reality dictates that a competent mix of both is ideal.
Soft or Hard Skills?
Should you emphasize hard skills? Those are the skill sets that are teachable in the classroom through books, other training materials, and workshops. Hard skills usually have an obvious right and wrong and are easily measured.
5 examples of hard skills
fluency in another language
As a manager, you can usually pinpoint where employees need to improve their hard skills and provide targeted training.
But, How do you Train for Soft Skills?
Soft skills require an emotional, behavioral and cognitive investment and are among the most difficult to master.
Soft skills are heavily linked to a person's personality. They determine right and wrong can be subjective and inconsistent, making it more difficult to hone in on areas that need improvement.
5 examples of soft skills
Although people's soft skills (or people skills) are heavily linked to their personality, there is no limit to how much change, learning and growing they can do. Interpersonal skills may be challenging to teach but are an invaluable asset to the company once mastered.
Technology is developing rapidly that today's computer programmer will be out of a job in 2 years because his skillset is obsolete. Soft skills don't get outdated, and human nature remains more or less the same, meaning interaction between people isn't going to be obsolete in 6 months.
Soft Skills to Lead Hybrid Teams
This will be no surprise. Managers have a significant impact on their team's success. When interviewed, 70% of employees working on teams with bad outcomes gave negative reviews about the manager.
Being a leader is challenging. You have a team to manage, a never-ending stream of problems to solve, relationships to navigate, and you need to be in 10 places at once.
And that was when your whole team worked out of the office. Now you're stretched thinner and expected to reach farther and be chill about it.
Adding a few soft skills to your arsenal may keep all of you from the heat.
Too Many Soft Skills? Never!
Making it work (not just "it" but anything) only works if you are flexible, which happens to be in the top five on the soft skills list. Or, as they say in the military, "You got a problem, soldier? Then adapt and overcome!"
Adapting and overcoming is what we have all been doing the last two years. Some of what we adapted to has become a permanent way of life, such as remote workers working in coffee shops or while they wait for the dentist.
Soft Skill - Make Connections and Intentional Conversation
How do you get updates on their project status? How do you know if team member Harry had a blowout with team member Sally? Are any of your team members struggling with personal issues, health problems, or family drama?
With people scattered about during the week, it is important to connect with your team members individually. Toss out a casual coffee invite or schedule time for a one-to-one or meet up at a park on a nice day.
If you can meet in person, great, but if not, video calls can be just as effective. Before the meet-up, check in with yourself to assess your stress level. Meeting one of your team members in a high-stress state may inadvertently give the impression you are dissatisfied with him.
Thriving in a hybrid work environment takes teamwork, your work and theirs.
Soft Skill - Developing Your People
Providing opportunities for growth and development that will make employees feel they are a part of something important is one of the best predictions for long-term employment.
As your team learns, they grow and increase their interpersonal skills through meaningful conversation and cooperation—a benefit for everyone.
Even so, hybrid setups tend to keep remote employees from actively contributing their ideas and suggestions, so you will need to make an increased effort to make sure everyone is heard.
Here are examples of how you can improve your skillset to accelerate your team's career growth & development.
Ask a minimum of 3 questions in every conversation – Rather than offer advice, encourage them to come up with their action plan. Research conducted by LifeLabs Learning indicates that managers who let employees actively engage in the plan were more successful.
- Schedule Check-ins - Chart a path for growth - create a focus group to accelerate career growth. Doing so will help stop meaningful conversations from slipping through the cracks. Also, offer check-ins with employees to see what they have learned and where they would like to go.
- Make a plan for learning new skills and include the steps needed to get there.
Sometimes you must hire for hard skills and don't have the luxury of finding a candidate who possesses both.
But soft skills like manners, communication, persuasion, dependability and time management are teachable. As you refine, remix and re-up your soft skills, you will demonstrate and create an inclusive and cohesive culture regardless of where your team lays their laptops.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you. Visit https://ulliance.com/ or call 866-648-8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!
Hard skills vs soft skills : Why your employees need both. (n.d.). Retrieved from Didacte: https://www.didacte.com/en/posts/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills
Retrieved from William Malsam:https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills
Luna, T. (2021). 5 Skill-sets all managers need to succeed in the hybrid workplace. Retrieved from LifeLabsLearning: https://ideas.lifelabslearning.com/5-skills-for-hybrid-managers
McSilver, A. (2021, October 14). How to Develop the Soft Skills Needed to Lead a Hybrid Work Team. Retrieved from LinkedIn Talent Blog: https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-engagement/soft-skills-for-hybrid-remote-work
O'Connell, A. (2020, October 13). 3 Soft Skills Training Tips For L&D And HR Managers Who Want Results. Retrieved from eLearning Industry:https://elearningindustry.com/soft-skills-training-tips-for-ld-and-hr-managers-who-want-results
unk. (2021, November 27). Hard Skills vs Soft Skills. Retrieved from Valamis:https://www.valamis.com/hub/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills#:~:text=List%20of%20hard%20and%20soft%20skills%20%20,%20Leadership%20skills%20%2049%20more%20rows%20