It’s all about soft skills

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 May, 2022 at 12:46 pm by Andre Camilleri

Ilaria Spiteri Axiak is a senior executive with misco Consulting and organises and delivers training to organisations and its employees.

We have all experienced starting a new job – it is exciting, isn’t it? The induction process, meeting new colleagues, the training… but are we doing the right training?

We all go to the dentist when we must and some of us really dislike going to the dentist. However, which dentist will you go to? The one who is pleasant when making conversation, gentle in approach yet convincing of what treatment option you should choose. We all have crossed paths with a receptionist one time or another – but which would you praise? The one who had time to speak to you in a calm and timely fashion or the one who was in a constant rush and didn’t pay much attention to your needs?

Primarily, all individuals of the same profession do the same job. Accountants study the same qualifications and follow the same profession, but what makes the difference from the accountant who excels in his position and the accountant who has great work ethic and positive relationships with colleagues? It is the soft skills that matter and make the difference.

Here at misco, it is our mission to have a customer-driven approach whereby we strive to build partnerships and relationships with our clients by showing empathy with our clients due to our strong work ethic. With this mentality, we can truly understand the unique nature of our jobs. We may do the same job as other HR consultants, but what makes us the leader in the market is the soft skills that we put into practice to support our professional and technical skills.

Think a little bit about what drives your organisation to success. It is the soft skills or technical skills? Is it so important to have the highest-qualified lab analyst or the most successful company lawyer, even when they cannot create a good communication strategy within their team? Soft skills are what make up the technical skills and I do believe that they are a necessity to be successful in today’s competitive world. We can be excellent in our skills, especially when performing a highly skilled job. However, we need to appreciate that we still need to adopt certain soft skills to make us better than we already are.

Nowadays, we cannot settle with being “OK” in what we do. The corporate world changes so fast. New competition is introduced every single day. Organisations are being more innovative with their products and services. Transformation to the digital world keeps on increasing with the latest technologies and we are here wondering if we can keep up. We feel exhausted, lethargic and wonder when it will ever slow down. The secret is… it will not slow down.

It didn’t slow down when the pandemic hit and we were locked in our homes. What happened instead was that we became technical experts and all made remote-working successful. We equipped ourselves with the right software, but we didn’t take after ourselves. We worked all hours of the day, didn’t know when to switch off, had difficulty reading body language in online meetings and even had to rediscover how to communicate through different channels rather than face to face – and all this has to do with our soft skills.

Leaders are often faced with the difficulty of measuring work output, the return of investment. This is usually associated with a KPI of some sort: number of clients, number of projects and even financial. However, soft skills can also contribute and be considered for the return of investment. Due to the nature of intangibility, it can be more difficult to measure, but then it also explains why organisations find it easier to train in technical skills rather than soft skills. I do argue that measuring soft skills in relation to the return of investment can add value to an organisation and in turn lead to a better customer experience, employee loyalty and retention.

Once an organisation makes soft skills a priority in their organisation and work ethic, employees feel more appreciated and respected. The humanistic feature of soft skills like empathy, communication, delegation and employee wellness that contribute to relationship building can go a long way.

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