Hiring managers are commonly faced with a dilemma: choosing between two candidates who appear equally as qualified. One solution is to prioritise “soft skills” as a key differentiator. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019* report said that 92% of talent acquisition professionals consider soft skills to be either equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. What’s more, 89% thought that if a new hire doesn’t work out, it was most often because of a lack of critical soft skills.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills can be defined as the attributes and traits that help employees to effectively navigate their environment, work well with colleagues and achieve their goals. They can be a combination of emotional intelligence, communication skills, social skills, people skills, attitudes and general knowledge.
Key soft skills include:
- Conflict resolution
- Communication (this includes both speaking and listening)
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
- Leadership qualities
- Time management
- Work ethic
The issue with skills such as these is that they can be unquantifiable, making it difficult for managers and others involved in the recruitment process to accurately assess them in interviews or during practical tasks. This makes them important, yet elusive.
Soft skills are in demand
Soft skills have become increasingly important for adding value to business. In a study by Wonderlic, 93% of hiring leaders said that they considered soft skills to be an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions. Many employers also think soft skills are more important than tech skills. What’s more, a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that employers emphasised leadership and teamwork as the most desirable traits in recent university graduates, ahead of quantitative and analytical skills. However, employers have difficulty finding talent with the right soft skills. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 59% of employers struggle to find candidates with the soft skills they are looking for.
Soft skills will always be valued in the workplace
Today’s business landscape, especially property, hinges on communication, strong relationships, and presenting a positive image of your organisation to both potential employees and the public. Soft skills in the workplace allow organisations to ensure the technical skills and knowledge of their employees can be used without the threat of interpersonal issues or poor public image hampering performance.
Soft skills in the property industry
Ensuring staff have the right blend of soft skills takes a measured and strategic approach. It also requires a combination of time, patience and gut instinct. Think carefully about how you can learn about how your team interacts with their colleagues, staff from other organisations and members of the public to identify where improvements can be made. How many of us have discussions in team meetings about things other than direct work issues or clients? Do you know the general knowledge or conversation capabilities of your teams? Does every member know how to address people and compose emails and letters correctly?
While working in block management, I noticed that skills like these are often assumed and that there was little or no specific training in these areas. My company Propel was thought up over chats with my team members Nick, Rebecca and Alan. Each person worked in different sectors of the property industry, and we found we were having the same situations in each of our workplaces. We wanted to build on the talent we have in the sector by empowering staff further and adding more value. Not only do we feature the standard soft skills training categories, but also exciting new areas such as Debrett’s training for business etiquette.
Stuart was a guest for our webinar How to Attract, Retain and Grow Talent in the Block Management Sector. Tune in for an open discussion about the public perception of block managers and how the hiring process can be improved.
For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be delighted to help you with any training questions you have.