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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

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Today our organizations have to move faster than ever before. Getting our organizations to move fast, means the systems in our organizations have to function smoothly, without friction. And when it comes to creating value, there’s no more important system than our people systems. Because businesses don’t create value, people do.

But how do you remove friction from our people systems? How do you get our people systems to function more smoothly to produce more value. It all comes down to learning how to optimize around soft skills. If hard skills are like the cogs in the machine, then soft skills are like the oil that makes those cogs work together smoothly. If you have all of one, but none of the other, than the system will break down.

Join us in this practical webinar where we break down the difference between hard skills and soft skills. You’ll walk away with a solid understanding of not just what soft skills are, but why they’re so important today, and what’s more, a practical checklist for how to start making soft-skills optimization a part of your HR processes.

Today our organizations have to move faster than ever before. Getting our organizations to move fast, means the systems in our organizations have to function smoothly, without friction. And when it comes to creating value, there’s no more important system than our people systems. Because businesses don’t create value, people do.

But how do you remove friction from our people systems? How do you get our people systems to function more smoothly to produce more value. It all comes down to learning how to optimize around soft skills. If hard skills are like the cogs in the machine, then soft skills are like the oil that makes those cogs work together smoothly. If you have all of one, but none of the other, than the system will break down.

Join us in this practical webinar where we break down the difference between hard skills and soft skills. You’ll walk away with a solid understanding of not just what soft skills are, but why they’re so important today, and what’s more, a practical checklist for how to start making soft-skills optimization a part of your HR processes.

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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

  1. 1. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com The Hard Truth And why they’re critical in today’s organization. About Soft Skills
  2. 2. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Rusty Lindquist Vice President, Thought Leadership BambooHR Michelle Reed Chief Marketing Officer SkillSurvey
  3. 3. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Hard Skills Skills that are learned to perform a specific job function and are more easily identifiable and quantifiable. Mostly about “what you know” VS Soft Skills Skills that are less tangible, and more associated with one’s traits or personality, that determine how we interact. Mostly about “how you act”.
  4. 4. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com EQ Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Travis Bradberry Author, Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  5. 5. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Soft Skills: What are they?
  6. 6. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Where hard skills are about the what, soft skills are about the how.
  7. 7. The Rise of Soft Skills & Why They Matter Now
  8. 8. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Hiring Managers Want More * Source: CareerBuilder Flexible 51% Self Motivated 66% Strong Work Ethic 73%Dependable 73% Positive Attitude 72% Team-Oriented 60% Organized 57% Works Well Under Pressure 57% Effective Communicator 56% Confident 46%
  9. 9. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com 77% of employers believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. Almost 20% said they were more important than hard skills. According to CareerBuilder
  10. 10. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Resign yourself to this reality: 46% of newly hired employees will ultimately fail within 18 months * Source: “Hire for Attitude” Forbes, January 23, 2012 † Source: “Hiring for attitude: Research & tools to skyrocket your success rate” Mark Murphy, Leadership IQ, 2012 89% for lack of soft skills – such as professionalism or ability to get along with others
  11. 11. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Innovation: The keystone of differentiation
  12. 12. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Competitive Abundance GLOBALIZATION has shrunk the world TECHNOLOGY has leveled the playing field LOW ENTRY BARRIER has increased startups @Rusty Lindquist
  13. 13. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Differentiation decay
  14. 14. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com
  15. 15. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Focus on Who You Are PEOPLE Relentlessly attracting, inspiring, and empowering great people. CULTURE Creating a great place to work, so great work can take place. @Rusty Lindquist
  16. 16. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com | @RustyLindquist
  17. 17. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Ram Charan Best-selling Author, Business Advisor
  18. 18. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com
  19. 19. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Soft Skills are the truest predictors of success. Professionalism Interpersonal Skills Problem Solving and Adaptability Personal Value Commitment Managing Others Leadership Proficiency in a short list of competency areas, which focus on soft skills, are the true predictors of success in almost every job
  20. 20. Hiring for Soft Skills
  21. 21. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Step 1: Use job descriptions to communicate required soft skills
  22. 22. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Identify the soft skills that matter to the position you’re hiring for • Talk to your hiring managers about what they look for when they’re building a team • Discover what behaviors make those teams work—and fail • Take a look at competitor’s job descriptions to see how jobs are being positioned • Rely on experts who’ve already done the legwork of researching job-specific behaviors • Use job descriptions to communicate the required soft skills and detail what you’re looking for 67% of HR managers say they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if hard skills lacking.
  23. 23. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Step 2: Source talent from places known for cultivating soft skills
  24. 24. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com • Look to your competition or even across industries to companies with similar organizational cultures • Source creatively • Employ popular channels already used by candidates to help increase job advertising reach and applicant volume • Encourage your current employees to share job posts to their social networks • Good people know other good people: leverage your current employee’s networks – including their references and referrals – to find top talent Source talent from places known for cultivating soft skills
  25. 25. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Step 3: Include high priority soft skills in recruitment campaign messages
  26. 26. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Recruiting Campaigns
  27. 27. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Recruiting Campaigns
  28. 28. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com “Nice work. Well done. Mazel tov. You’ve made it to Google Labs and we’re glad you’re here. One thing we learned while building Google is that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for if it comes looking for you. What we’re looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are.” Recruiting Campaigns
  29. 29. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Step 4: Pay attention to red flags
  30. 30. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com • Hiring the wrong person can cost a company time and money • Watch for red flags which might indicate a candidate lacks the traits or behaviors you identified as essential for the role Pay attention to red flags!
  31. 31. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Step 5: Prioritize soft skills in the selection process
  32. 32. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Prioritize soft skills in the selection process. • Review job letters, resumes, and CVs for examples of soft skills in action • Practice behavior-based interviewing to uncover a candidate’s past performance and behaviors • Update the rubrics you use to evaluate candidates
  33. 33. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Traditional Interviewing Poses theoretical questions Examples: • Describe your strengths and weaknesses. • Describe what you liked about your last job. VS Behavioral Interviewing Explores a candidate’s past performance and behavior Examples: • Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. • What was the most challenging customer problem you had to solve and how did you solve it?
  34. 34. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Rubric/Matrix
  35. 35. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Culture First Following a national survey of job seekers and HR professionals, 43% said that “cultural fit” was the single most important determining factor when making a new hire. -Millennial Branding & Beyond.com
  36. 36. VALUE VALUE VALUE CHANNEL CHANNEL CHANNEL
  37. 37. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com 18th Century 19th Century 20th Century 21st Century Agricultural Age (farmers) Industrial Age (factory workers) Information Age (knowledge workers) Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers) Affluence Technology Globalization High Low Abundance Automation Asia Dan Pink A Whole New Mind
  38. 38. THANKYOU BambooHR You’re invited to Elevate Virtual We will contact everyone within the next few days to set this up. Receive a free trial of our software SkillSurvey The largest online HR conference, totally free, totally amazing.
  39. 39. The Hard TruthAbout Soft Skills bamboohr.com skillsurvey.com Rusty Lindquist Vice President, Thought Leadership BambooHR Michelle Reed Chief Marketing Officer SkillSurvey Questions

Notas del editor

  • BHR

    First, let’s get crystal clear about the difference between hard and soft skills
  • Sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence (or EQ)
  • Skillsurvey
  • SKS
    Whats are commodities, easily duplicated or reverse-engineered.
    Hows drive efficiency, performance, innovation, and growth—all the things that set organizations apart.
     
    Said another way: hard skills are about the “what”, soft skills are about the “how”. So, what does this look like in practice?
     
    Okay, say you’re hiring for marketing manager position. You have two very strong candidates. Both are exceptional writers, know their audience, have strong digital marketing skills, have the technical abilities to manage a website, launch a campaign…
     
    In other words, they know their ‘stuff’ when it comes to what they need to do inside their bubble, of what they have to do to ‘technically’ get the job done.  
     
    But the question you’ll need to ask yourself is HOW will they go about getting that work done?  Will they work well with people across your organization? Can they clearly articulate what they need from other colleagues whose expertise isn’t marketing? Do they understand that their priorities aren’t necessarily anyone else’s? Do they understand compromise and negotiation?
     
    All of those things—and more—are soft skills.
     
    Soft skills are really what make people tick. And in HR-- where data is becoming increasingly relevant--measuring the skills, attributes, capabilities, and potential of our people in their full complexity will be critical.
     
  • SKS
  • SKS

    We all know that in today’s environment, it’s no longer enough to be a functional expert.
    - Hiring managers are looking for something more than basic core competencies to get a job done. They’re looking for personal qualities, habits, attitudes, and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with. According to CareerBuilder, these are the top 10 soft skills today’s managers want to see in candidates.

    Competencies such as a positive attitude, being team-oriented, the ability to work well under pressure, and being self-motivated

    A new study “The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market” highlighted in a recent New York Times article found that the fastest growing jobs in today’s workplace involve both a high degree of thinking and social or soft skills.
  • SKS
  • SKS

    Unfortunately, even with all this focus on soft skills, it doesn’t appear we’re doing a very good job identifying these skills during the hiring process.

    A study conducted by Leadership IQ tracked 20,000 new hires and found that 46% of them failed within the first 18 months of employment.

    But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when these new hires failed, 89% of the time new hires failed, it was for attitudinal reasons—low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament… SOFT SKILLS.
  • Bamboo

    And besides just the cost to replace those employees, this is a huge limiter on how successful our organizations can be. Let me explain…

    See, innovation has always been the keystone of differentiation. 

    You build something unique, and put it in the market, and it sets you apart… it differentiates you. And that differentiation sustains you in the market for some time. 

    But we live in the middle of the most competitive economic battleground in history. 
  • Bamboo

    It’s an era of competitive abundance.

    Globalization has shrunk the world, increasing the number competitors we have to compete with.

    Technology has leveled the playing field, making it easier for competitors to replicate what you do faster than ever before.

    And the low barrier to entry for startups is making it so that even early entrants can compete for marketshare.
  • Bamboo


    And that has led to what I call differentiation decay.

    It’s where the ability for something we’ve built to sustainably differentiate us in the market is failing.
  • Bamboo


    Which is why in today’s market, success is less about what you do, and more about who you are…

    Who you are as a company - your culture, mission, values, and beliefs
    Who you hire - the way you attract, empower, and inspire top talent
  • Bamboo


    and so organizations everywhere are waking up to the reality that we need to focus on our people, relentlessly attracting, inspiring, and empowering great people.

    And Culture, creating a great place to work, so that great work can take place.
    Because this is the only way to sustainably differentiate yourself today.

    Because today it’s no longer enough to deliver value to the market. Instead, it’s the RATE at which you deliver value that matters most, and that comes down to people and culture.
  • Bamboo


    Which is why today, the organizations that learn to focus on people and culture, to create value at speed, are the organizations that will win.
  • Bamboo


    Because businesses don’t create value, people do.
  • Bamboo

    And the only way to create value at speed is to focus on our people systems. And when it comes to improving the output of any system, you only have two variables, improve the inputs to the system (in this case who we hire and what type of skills they possess, and improving the mechanics of the system itself. And it turns out that this is exactly what soft skills are all about.
  • SKS

    We all know that in today’s environment, it’s no longer enough to be a functional expert.
    - Hiring managers are looking for something more than basic core competencies to get a job done. They’re looking for personal qualities, habits, attitudes, and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.

    Competencies such as a positive attitude, being team-oriented, the ability to work well under pressure, and being self-motivated

    The workplace is changing. No one knows that better than the people tasked with finding and securing talent. Organizations are more complex, business processes are constantly evolving, and work is less about executing on other people’s plans and more about adding value to those processes at every step.
     
    You’re a talent acquisition professional, so you know that matching the right people to the right jobs is more critical than ever. But today, almost half of business executives say finding the talent they need to support long-term business strategy is a top challenge. In fact, talent deficiencies undermine those strategies 40% of the time.
     
    So what’s going on? Here in the U.S. we’ve seen the unemployment rate fall steadily since the Great Recession. There’s a scramble for employees across industries, from manufacturing to finance, from technology to healthcare. According to a survey from ManpowerGroup, employers are struggling to find applicants for critical positions, and cite their lack of both technical competencies (hard skills) and workplace competencies (soft skills) as a significant challenge.
     
    If you’re a recruiter, you’re probably not surprised. The workplace is more demanding, more complex, more collaborative, and more diverse than it has ever been before. Finding candidates who will excel means finding candidates with the right balance of hard and soft skills.


    Depending on the job you’re hiring for, hard skills can be critically important. But across many business areas, hard skills aren’t what CEOs are saying they need right now.
     
    In fact, according to CareerBuilder, 77% of employers believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. And almost 20% said they were more important than hard skills.
     
    And in a report from the International Association of Administrative Professionals, OfficeTeam, and HR.com, 67% of HR managers said they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if technical abilities were lacking, while just 9% would hire someone with strong technical credentials but weak soft skills.
    So what are soft skills? They’re the behavioral attributes that determine how a person interacts with other people, certainly, but they also determine how a person interacts with ideas, challenges, setbacks, and opportunities. Soft skills aren’t easily taught and they are difficult to quantify. But in a competitive working environment where collaboration, innovation, and adaptability are no longer “nice to haves,” soft skills increasingly drive business success.
     
    Overwhelming Majority of Companies Say Soft Skills Are Just as Important as Hard Skills. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=4/10/2014&id=pr817&ed=12/31/2014
    HR’s Hard Challenge: When Employees Lack Soft Skills. https://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2016/0416/pages/0416-soft-skills.aspx#sthash.1doD0zqM.dpuf
     



    10 Minutes on People Analytics. http://www.pwc.com/us/en/10minutes/people-analytics.html
    ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey. http://www.manpowergroup.com/wps/wcm/connect/manpowergroup-en/home/thought-leadership/research-insights/talent-shortage-2015


  • SKS

  • SKS
  • SKS

    Organizational context is important, but you will also need to assess the soft skills required for specific jobs. Someone being hired as an accounts receivable specialist will need a very different set of soft skills from someone being hired as a customer service representative. To fill a position in accounts receivable, be on the lookout for someone who displays attention to detail, efficiency, and consistency. Similarly, to fill an open position in customer service, consider someone who is responsive, calm, and a good problem solver.

    To determine what soft skills are needed for each role talk to your hiring managers about what they look for when they build their teams. Ask what behaviors successful candidates have had – and which ones employees displayed who weren’t successful in the role.

    You can also take a look at your competitor’s job descriptions to see how they are positioning jobs and what traits they look for.

    And, you should also rely on research conducted by I/O experts and solutions which rely on I/O science to help determine which soft skills are needed for success in every role – whether it’s an entry-level IT tech, a sales account rep, a truck driver, or an executive.

    Finally, be sure to use your job descriptions to communicate the required soft skills and detail what you’re looking for!
  • SKS
  • Companies that value soft skills are getting a lot of press these days. It’s worth figuring out who has an organizational culture similar to yours and who prioritizes soft skills during the hiring process.

    And remember to source creatively. Explore online communities where the soft skills you value are put into practice. Keep in mind that good people know good people: leverage your current employee’s and new hire’s networks, including their references or even referrals, to find top talent.
  • Bamboo

  • Bamboo

    Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous Antarctic expedition has firmly cemented itself into the imagination of a generation of explorers, partly due to Shackleton’s famous newspaper ad.

    One of the most distinctive recruiting adverts in history, Shackleton has a very specific target audience – those that prize glory above safety! Given the fate of the trip, this trait proved to be pretty key!
  • Bamboo

    Recently popularised by Benedict Cumberbatch and Hollywood in ‘The Imitation Game‘, wartime codebreaking institute Bletchley Park ran a pretty unique recruiting campaign during WWII.

    To attract a team of crack cryptologists and code breakers, Alan Turing (who Cumberbatch plays in the movie) put a crossword puzzle in the Telegraph.

    The campaign was a dramatic success, Bletchley cracked the German ‘Enigma‘ code and played a huge role in the Allied victory.
  • Bamboo
  • SKS
  • SKS

    I’m sure you’ve all worked with hiring managers who want their roles filled yesterday. But hiring the wrong person can cost a company time and money. Everyone knows that resume typos and showing up late to an interview are bad, but managers should also look out for other, more subtle red flags that a candidate may be lacking the traits or behaviors that are essential for the role.

    For example, if a candidate shows up to an interview late, has typos in their resume, provides evasive answers or is unprepared, it might indicate they don’t pay attention to details, is lacking communication skills, or is unprofessional. A candidate needs to be a good fit for your company culture and the role.

  • SKS
  • SKS

    To make sure soft skills are incorporated into your hiring process make sure you prioritize them in the selection process. To do so,
    Review job letters, resumes, and CVs for examples of soft skills in action
    Practice behavior-based interviewing to uncover a candidate’s past performance and behaviors—the single most predictive factor of success. – we’ll talk more bout this in a few moments
    Update the rubrics you use to evaluate candidates. To avoid bias, institute a matrix to assure the skills of each candidate are transparent to decision makers.
  • SkillSurvey

    Now let’s take a quick look at behavioral-based interviewing. You’ve probably incorporated some behavioral interviewing techniques into your repertoire—either consciously or unconsciously. But if you are seeking a way to assess a candidate’s soft skills, it might be time to incorporate behavioral questions more deliberately into the interviewing phase of the hiring journey.

    Traditional interviewing poses theoretical questions. Things like, ‘describe your strengths and weaknesses, or describe what you liked most about your last role.

    On the other hand, behavioral-based interviewing explores a candidate’s past performance and their behavior. Examples of behavioral-based questions include: Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. Or What was the most challenging customer problem you had to solve and how did you solve it?


  • SKS

    without a solid framework to guide them, interviewers can easily end up asking culturally insensitive – and potentially illegal – questions.

    Design an interview matrix that you can use with all candidates in order to compare each candidate to the next.
     
    Candidates asked to describe how they handled a past situation will provide informative answers. Because past performance is the best guide to future performance, that information will be more predictive. And because you are asking the same questions of each candidate, your interview strategy allows you to make more consistent comparisons to select the best candidate.

    Provide hiring managers with job-specific behavioral interview questions and ensure a structured process so all candidates are asked the same questions and evaluated equally. Make sure your hiring managers only ask questions that are relevant to the job they’re applying for.


    And do this by working through the soft skills you and the hiring manager consider applicable to the company, the role, the team, and the projects/strategy. This is the information that will help you predict who will likely be successful in your organization. don’t be afraid to drill down. One of the strengths of the behavioral interview is its ability to reveal the full complexity of the candidate in front of you.
     
  • BHR
  • BHR
  • BHR

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