We don’t mind when our computers are cold and calculating, and we don’t expect them to have common sense or basic manners. After all, we really just want them to produce the hard data and results our society demands. But we do mind when our co-workers start to take on those same traits.
If you’re thinking those “soft skills” that add humanity to our organizations are getting harder to find, you’re not alone.
MEASURING THE VALUE
In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers found that 58% say the lack of soft skills among new employees is having a real, negative effect on their output.
Likewise, a Wall Street Journal study of 900 executives found that 92% say soft skills are at least, if not more important, than technical skills. But it’s an important need they say isn’t being met. The study reveals that executives see an ongoing gap – with 89% saying they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with those soft-skill attributes.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Soft skills can take a variety of forms, including things like problem-solving, critical-thinking, common sense, and even basic forms of human interaction, such as showing empathy, expressing appreciation or being able to carry on a casual conversation with someone for a few minutes. Basically, they’re the hallmarks of normal social etiquette – those things that allow most people to understand how to “work and play well with others.”
When those basic soft skills are present, teams are able to build a sense of common purpose, mutual respect, appreciation for each other’s efforts, and understanding when things don’t always go as planned. When those elements aren’t present, it leads to a sense of mistrust, unhealthy competition and in-fighting that can send a team putting their efforts into opposing directions. And all of the technical skills in the world can’t make up for divisions among team members.
That’s why Sollah Interactive, LLC makes a wide range of training materials available to help today’s corporate world as it blends an ever-increasing role for technology with its ongoing sense of humanity.
Jon Grannis and Bob Chonka are Sollah’s principals. As Grannis says, “We’re proud to put our experience to work to be a resource to support organizations as they build, foster and maximize healthy working relationships and productive teamwork.”
Chonka says the soft-skill mission will continue to play a vital role for organizations of tomorrow.
“We’ve always had this need to enhance the ways we work together as people. But the demands of acquiring and maximizing technology requires an increasing share of our attention. As a result, the basics that make teams work can suffer,” Chonka explains. “We’re here to help.”