“Long-term, we must begin to build our internal strengths. It isn’t just skills like computer technology. It’s the old fashioned basics of self-reliance, self-motivation, self-reinforcement, self-discipline, self-command” - Steven Pressfield
The challenge for any Human Resource Management or Learning and Development Team is how to maintain a fine balance between hard and soft skills of their employees that would be beneficial to both the organization and to the individual as well. Rick Stephens, Senior Vice President of HR, Boeing Corporation once said “We hire for hard skills. We fire for soft skills. The ability to interact and communicate with others or behave ethically and take responsibility for things tends to be where people normally break down”.
According to the Leadership Insights Survey conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, 20 years ago, the most important competency was technical mastery, which was at 53%. In today’s times, this criterion does not even get into the top 5 category. This is because technical skills can always be learned and they are changing so fast that they have become a secondary concern.
Not only are computer software packages and technical qualifications important, but soft skills are also important across all levels of the organization. This is vital in HR Planning and to employees who can improve their performance and motivation levels, interact better within and outside their work places, create a harmonized and a cooperative working environment, for promotion and for succession planning.
According to Alison Doyle, who is one of the industry’s most highly regarded career experts and whose website have been regarded by Forbes as one among the top 100, soft skills are essentially people skills, methods and strategies that help individuals improve their approach to their work and enhance interactions with those around them. Some of the soft skills that management can offer are
- Communication Skills
- Business Etiquette
- Leadership Skills
- Time Management
- Team Work
- Problem Solving and
- Change Management
To get the job done, hard skills training is required to give employees all the vital knowledge, expertise and skills. It is important to ensure that the right staff has the right skills. But, if an employee shows an interest in a training program that is outside of their job role, it would be prudent not to stop them from attending it, in order to enable them to develop themselves and grow.
Hard Skills training is acquired through formal education and training programs, apprenticeships, short-term training classes, online courses and certification programs.
According to Alison Doyle, who is one of the industry’s most highly regarded career experts and whose website has been regarded by Forbes as one among the top 100, hard skills that can be looked at are
- Data Analytics
- Computer Programming
- Administration Skills
- Machine Operating Skills
- Web Designing and Content Writing
- Marketing and Corporate Communication Skills
- Finance and Accounting Skills and
- Microsoft Office Training
To be good at hard skills, one would require to be smart or have a high level of IQ (the left brain or the logical center). Soft skills need EQ (the right brain or the emotional center). To succeed and advance in our career and grow as individuals, we need to proactively work on both these areas.