When it comes to skills in the workplace, lots of emphasis is always put on training, certifications and knowledge of specific skills. In simple terms, these are defined as hard skills. Studying in a classroom equips you with hard skills, which are the specific technical skills you need to carry out your job efficiently.
Most often, hard skills are those that you list on your resume. However, today’s employers need you to have a lot more than just hard skills. And if you were not aware, increasing importance is being placed on soft skills.
What exactly are soft skills? Soft skills refer to interpersonal skills and character traits that will likely influence how well an employee can interact or work and cooperate with others. Typical examples of soft skills may include empathy, time management, drive or work ethic, communication skills, teamwork, creativity, positivity and more.
Why are soft skills important?
First and foremost, it is important to note that when it comes to hard skills like knowing a programming language or being proficient at Microsoft Excel may not be enough to get you a job. The labor market offers employers plenty of choice when it comes to finding candidates that tick certain hard-skill boxes. This simply implies that critical factors that usually influence their decision such as affordability and convenience are very easy to come by.
Therefore, what else do the companies need? The answer is very simple: a worker whose soft skills make them a great fit into the company culture and facilitate their ability to do their job well.
If you work in a customer-facing position, for example, the ability to communicate effectively with your customers is what will set you apart from the competition. Simply put, employees must possess soft skills such as interpersonal communication skills because it is critical to the success of a business.
In most work environments, hard skills alone aren’t enough. A salesperson blessed with good knowledge of his/her product or service and the market will have very little success if they lack the level of confidence needed to attract prospects, close deals, and retain customers. Similarly, a manager in an organization should listen to employees, be creative, innovative, and have exceptional communication skills. Simply put, all positions require at least a few soft skills to make the technical skills more effective.
The modern workplace is very interpersonal in nature. This means that skills such as collaboration, listening, idea generation and conflict resolution are essential. Soft skills guarantee a highly collaborative, productive, and healthy work environment, all essential attributes for organizations that want to enjoy success in an increasingly competitive market.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful organization, and to become a great communicator, you must equip yourself with interpersonal skills. Interpersonal communication skills are needed to help foster strong relationships between yourself and your team members, which ultimately result in a mutual exchange of information and ideas.
Communication performed in this manner is likely to keep morale up, increase engagement and allow for a more fluid performance of duties, improved task management and the completion of tasks.
This is another soft skill that you need to equip yourself with. Leadership simply means having a clear vision, confidence and the ability to positively influence those around you and get them on board with your ideas.
It is also important to note that leadership involves inspiring and motivating others to fulfill their potential. Displaying your leadership skills in an organization may help you gain visibility, leading to more opportunities in terms of promotions. Today, there are many platforms that offer leadership training online and you only need internet access to learn and develop essential leadership skills.
Conflict Resolution Skills
As much as we would all love to work in an organization that is entirely free of conflicts and disagreements, it is almost impossible for this to happen. Whether you like it or not, conflicts are a major part of work and life. This implies that conflict resolution is a must-have skill for every single employee out there.
Being able to solve (or avoid) issues with your coworkers will ensure you remain peaceful with your peers at all times. And if you can constructively work through conflicts and disagreements, it means you are mature enough to even assume leadership roles in that particular organization.
When a problem occurs in an organization, as an employee, you can either take action or complain. And it is the former that gets you noticed for the right reasons. Organizations want people who can solve problems, so when an issue crops up, it is better to think through how you can address them even before you inform your boss. Knowing how to tackle issues will ultimately make you indispensable to your employer.
In almost any work setting, you’ll be faced with a wide range of possibilities or options and you’ll need to make a decision that best suits your needs. This is why the skill of decision making is considered an essential soft skill every office worker should possess.
When you have this particular skill, you’ll be able to evaluate both the pros and cons of every alternative, correctly predict potential outcomes and select the alternative best suited to your needs and objectives.
Computer literacy is one of the most important hard skills today’s employees need to have. Computer literacy refers to your ability to operate various computer programs effectively and promptly. It also means you are able to use computer devices to communicate professionally. Basic computer programs that employees should know include Microsoft office, AutoDesk CAD, Pastel, among others.
The modern workplace heavily relies on computerized technology to effectively and quickly complete vast amounts of tasks. Therefore, being computer literate means you can effortlessly perform the tasks that competing candidates are not able to and this gives you a better chance of getting hired ahead of others.
HTML and CSS Knowledge
Regardless of your profession, HTML and CSS are great hard skills every office worker should have. HTML and CSS are the foundational languages of the internet. In simple terms, HTML refers to a markup language that is used to develop web pages. On the other hand, CSS is a language that controls the look and animation of elements on a given site.
Even learning the very little amount of CSS and HTML could significantly help boost your career prospects. Plus, because every modern business has a website and needs to optimize, analyze, develop landing pages among other important web functions, they need employees who have at least a basic knowledge and understanding of HTML and CSS to help them execute some of these tasks.