Soft skills are now essential for success in the job market. Getting, maintaining and developing a position depends 85% on ‘soft skills’ and only 15% on mastered ‘hard skills’.
Today, companies above all need creative people who know how to work in teams, solve problems and communicate effectively in international and multicultural environments. This is so because the knowledge society is characterized by an economy based on services and innovation that needs different professionals from those needed in the industrial society of yesteryear. There are fewer and fewer production jobs.
Despite the new reality of the labor market, the priority of education in general and professional training continues to be ‘hard skills’, that is, specialized and specific knowledge. Our diplomas certify this type of competence. The development of ‘soft skills’ is the pending subject of education.
As a consequence, each professional would have to cultivate a series of new skills:
- INTER-personal: They are social and cultural skills and others such as empathy, communication skills, collaboration, teamwork.
- INTRA-personal: In other words, competencies such as self-management and performance awareness, responsibility, curiosity, initiative and knowing how to learn.
- Digital: Computational thinking, online learning and mastery of digital media.
- Cognitive: This includes creativity, active listening, problem-solving skills, logical and critical thinking, and presentation skills.
At the same time we are entering a deep digital transformation of companies. Those that do not keep up with the pace of change will disappear. These companies are realizing that they need to invest in the ‘reskilling’ and ‘upskilling’ of their employees because digital transformation is not a technological problem, but a problem of people and culture.
A corporate culture change is not a top-down process. Managers can decide what values they want to promote, but it is the mid-level cadres and the employees themselves who have to accept and put them into practice. Digital transformation goes through people and these people need the ‘soft skills’ to be able to participate in the change.
Without ‘soft skills’ there is no digital transformation, and without digital transformation a company is in danger. Today’s world needs a business culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, agility and teamwork and a purpose that transmits values. If before Human Resources Directors needed tools to organize and facilitate work paperwork and processes, now they need ways to create culture and influence the behavior and motivation of the human team.
For this reason, at StartSud we are developing tools to help Human Resources departments to encourage the use of skills and the practice of values that the company needs to ensure its continuity. Last week the startup BonusBank was a finalist at HR Tech Madrid because it offers companies a way to get the best out of the talent they employ and adapt to the new world around us.
I am optimistic and I believe that the digital transformation will create more humane work environments that enhance the development of people and foster respect for each person’s talent. New leadership doesn’t work if it doesn’t inspire people and help them grow. If in order to achieve a more motivating and exciting work environment we have to go through a period of change and training in the short term, with the insecurity that this entails, it will be for the better.
Armand Bogaarts, entrepreneur.