Whilst the role of the recruiter has always been viewed as one of seeking out and selecting candidates with the requisite hard skills needed for the role they are tasked with filling, it should now also be seen as the job of ascertaining which candidates have the requisite soft skills that aid in their interpersonal communications and problem-solving.
This is essential now that working from home has become normalised, in the wake of Covid-19. Teams need to communicate better and managers need to be able to get to the bottom of problems at a distance from their workforce. Productivity suffers otherwise.
The skills shortage is not just within the hard skills, it is within soft skills too and upper echelon management are rightly concerned about it. If you are desperately seeking the right candidate to unlock your data project and, try as you might, you cannot find one, or find one who will commit to your company, you don’t have many options open to you. The C-Suite knows this and that is why around 80% of CEOs are stressing about it.
Offering opportunities and guarantees of upskilling to prospective candidates is one way to win them over from a competitor’s offer. Soft skills have now come to the fore more than they have in the recent past and the impetus is on the honing of them, in order to prepare the workforce for the next steps in their careers.
Invention, intuition, innovation and ingenuity are major factors in the rising need for upskilling. Whereas the C-suite used to view these attributes with indifference, with a pandemic that has not yet ended, the benefits to a company’s health of collaboration and communication are now seen as important. With that comes the desire to upskill the workforce.
Jobs that revolve around the understanding of technology and a need for highly technical skills, are no longer immune to the need for personal skills too. As projects grow larger and more complex, so do the teams, which means that they must operate like well-oiled machines.
On top of all of this, the teams may be working at locations in different cities, or even different continents, which means that communication breakdowns will hugely inhibit a productive working environment. Empathy must be present in those who are working in that environment.
Upskilling is already having an impact on recruitment. Businesses are already starting to focus on whether a candidate has advanced organisational skills, is friendly, thrives in difficult situations. Yes, these are always on job specs, but now there seems to be a move towards profiles that display this information as equal to the hard skills that are required.
Leadership qualities, emotional intelligence and resilience are two other major soft skills needed to take these businesses into the future and that also applies to current managers. Covid-19 has exposed a soft skills gap within management, which needs to be filled quickly before it becomes a real detriment to firms. The more diverse a company becomes, the more management need to upskill to understand where employees are coming from.
A programme of upskilling within a company not only strengthens the workers but it strengthens the company. Employees who have been encouraged and helped to upskill are much more likely to respect that company and to stay with that company. While upskilling costs money, it saves money in the long run. Lower turnover, in turn, saves time and money on constantly on-boarding staff. Upskilling builds confidence and leads to heightened productivity too.
The paranoia that the C-suite execs have that they are just spending money to train the next company’s workforce must end. There is no evidence that that ever happens. Workers want to feel valued and respected and upskilling is a way both parties can win.
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