Soft skills are non-technical attributes, characters, and interpersonal skills that define how a person relates with their professional colleagues and others in work and social environments. These include but are not limited to leadership, communication, problem-solving, team-building, collaboration, and time management skills. Unlike hard skills, these skills are unquantifiable, immeasurable, and hard to teach.
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How Soft Skills are Used in Businesses
Different soft skills are useful in different aspects of the business. For instance, effective communication and persuasion skills are vital for customer acquisition and retention. Sales employees who are well-rounded, communicative, optimistic, and can read social cues well are often highly effective in attracting new customers and closing new deals.
Effective communication skills go hand in hand with conflict resolution skills since both necessitate listening well and speaking calmly and tactfully to others. Employees with such a skill can easily resolve workplace conflict by focusing on what is agreeable to the parties involved instead of focusing on the differences.
Employees with strong leadership skills can motivate others to achieve the overall business goals. Strictly speaking, soft skills alone will not achieve the best results for businesses seeking operational efficiency. Maximum operational efficiency is achieved when both soft and hard skills complement each other. For instance, an employee who’s an expert in software that’s vital to an organization but lacks time management skills will never get any meaningful work done, and will often slow down the work of others.
Learn more about soft skills’ all-important role in passing The Elevator Test at CIO Insight.
Soft Skills for Tech Businesses
While having employees with great leadership and communication skills are vital for all businesses, certain skills are more suitable for the fast-past, dynamic environment in which tech businesses operate.
- Attention to details
- Passion and ability to learn
- Flexibility and adaptability to changes
- Creativity and critical thinking
- Accountability and humility
- Collaboration skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Time management, among others.
Key Benefits of Soft Skills for Organizations
- Improved business adaptability: Adaptability means resilience and flexibility both in good times and during periods of crisis. Having employees with great collaborative efforts, excellent critical thinking skills even in crisis, well-developed observation and problem-solving skills, and others positively impact organizational adaptability. For instance, while most businesses ran into losses and folded up during the pandemic, others thrived and became more competitive in the aftermath of it. This was partly due to having a workforce that could adapt quickly.
- Increased productivity and profitability: Soft skills help employees feel empowered to collaborate and work together as a team. This makes for a faster company goal realization with an attendant increase in ROI.
- A more efficient, more resilient workforce: Healthy relationships with co-workers hinge on humility, and accountability. Employees are therefore more willing to accept responsibilities and make corrections. In addition, they tend to motivate themselves and others.
- More efficient communication organization-wide: Verbal and non-verbal communication with colleagues and the company’s clients becomes more effective and meaningful. Confusion is avoided, and the organization can achieve a high clarity of purpose. Employees are also able to express themselves more freely, ask tough questions, and tackle difficult conversations.