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  • Celeste Shoot

Embracing Diverse Skills: The soft vs. hard skills considerations

As you and your team are thinking about your hiring and recruitment strategy for 2024, the employment landscape is still going through a transformative shift.

Hiring just for skill is old school. Instead hire for attitude, train for skill.

While we’ve seen companies increasingly embrace diversity into their recruitment strategy, they are also recognizing other valuable contributions candidates bring to the table. Having the right attitudes, being collaborative, and having the willingness to learn are some of the common soft skills that companies are considering essential to foster inclusive and healthier work cultures. 

Deloitte predicts that soft-skill intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 and grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations.

Individuals who embody a growth mindset and come with the right attitude, embrace diversity, and show a commitment to continuous learning are decreasing the once status quo of being dismissed from roles due to lack of technical expertise. By having these soft skills, they are becoming increasingly more favorable in recruiting and hiring efforts when these skills are evaluated as part of the process.

Soft skills vs. Hard skills, is it one over the other?

According to Deloitte insights, 92% of companies surveyed reported that human capabilities or soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills in today’s business world. 

In job postings today, most still include the type of experience a company is looking for with primary emphasis being on technical expertise and qualifications. When we consider the progress and evolution of artificial intelligence, human capabilities such as empathy, collaboration and adaptability cannot be replaced and will only continue to grow and be an important factor. 

While technology continues to look for ways to help companies automate more and do more with less, soft skills cannot be seen through that same lens. In order for organizations to be set up for long-term success, prioritizing soft skills over technical skills will be more impactful for the success and health of the business and teams. 

But how do we evaluate someone against these skills?

As workplaces continue to recognize the significance of hiring diverse individuals that add to team dynamics and culture, it’s not an easy task. When prioritizing the right strategy and implementing the right practices, positive outcomes will lead to success for all. 

What this means for recruiting and hiring 

In this evolving technology landscape, we do want to be conscious that there are still be use cases where requiring a very specific technical-based set of skills is needed, but when considering diverse backgrounds and perspectives, these soft skills should also be considered. 

89% of unsuccessful employees are usually fired for reasons related to employee attitude. On the other hand, only 11% of hiring mistakes result in termination because of technical incompetence. 

The balancing act of assessing soft and hard skills and incorporating the latest approaches to diversity recruiting and hiring remain vital. Soft skills are difficult to build, replicate, and automate, yet they can have a significant impact on the ability of tech employees to integrate, develop, perform, and learn. By finding the right balance of these skills, companies can find the right talent that can contribute significantly to a creative and innovative workforce.

“In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.”
Daniel Goleman

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and positive outcomes when going through your recruiting and hiring and considering an individual’s soft skills and hard skills. 

The “We can do it” attitude can see the glass half full 

Creating a culture that includes optimism and collaboration can foster creativity, which is essential in this evolving landscape. Having individuals who can bring a can-do attitude to the group, can create a culture where challenges are seen as opportunities, not roadblocks, and be a catalyst for innovation. 

Foster and establish happy, lifelong customers 

Employees with excellent interpersonal skills can help you build strong relationships with your customers. The ability to show empathy to your customer’s needs, ensure timely communications, and being able to resolve conflicts can help create a happy customer and increase customer retention.

Create team dynamics that people enjoy (Don’t worry, we won’t say, “We’re all a family”, but it’ll be close!)

When you hire based on more of an individual’s human capabilities vs. just technical capabilities, the team is more likely to cohesively work towards a common goal. Creating a space where team members can communicate well, understand perspectives and collaborate effectively, can help foster a happier, healthier work culture. 

The next steps to take and how to evaluate

Now that we’ve gone through the positive outcomes from these diverse recruiting and hiring practices, most companies still don’t know where to start or how to start incorporating a plan into their strategy. Here are some ways you may want to consider: 

Let the job description do some of the heavy lifting

If diversity, equity, and inclusion are important or considered, add it! If your company has values like, “Be your authentic self”, or “We commit to Women in Tech”, add it! And last but not least, if you value soft skills and are willing and offer upskilling or career learning opportunities, add it! These indicators will attract the kind of talent that could be a great fit for our company. If individuals feel they may not meet all technical requirements or if their own values don’t align with what the description says, they might not even consider the role.

Create Inclusive Practices for Positive Interviewing

While still important to attract a diverse pool of candidates, it’s also important to assess applicants for their soft skills, positive attitudes and eagerness to learn. Start incorporating diverse hiring panels and unbiased language in job descriptions, contributing to a fair and equitable hiring process.

Reduce Bias Through External Agencies

To address the growing need for diverse talent with the right balance of soft and hard skills, organizations will lean on an external agency to play a crucial role in the initial process. Working with these agencies, they can identify candidates who not only possess the necessary technical skills identified by the organization,  but also exhibit the right attitude. This can save time and eliminate bias, making for a stronger fit due to the collaboration and assessment done at the very beginning.

Every organization, every role, every individual is different. It’s important to always remember that both hard and soft skills are essential to build a well-rounded company, but it’s up to you and your team to really assess when to prioritize one over the other. While easier to quantify and assess technical based skills, when trying to assess soft skills and human capabilities, although more difficult to measure, you certainly know when they are not present.  

As you continue to recognize the benefits and put these strategies into practice, at the end of it all, the creation of a culture that has a path for continuous growth, sparks innovation, and a place for those to thrive,  having happy employees is a success for all.

Ready to learn more about how Nimble Technology Partners can help you find these individuals for your team? Contact our sales team today!

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