Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

The following is from the American Express OPEN Forum and features comments from OperationsInc CEO David Lewis. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

by Mark Henricks

Resumes, job histories and performance evaluations paint a picture of candidates’ hard skill proficiency. Tests and assessments can help classify prospective team members by soft skills, according to David Lewis, CEO and owner of OperationsInc, a Norwalk, Connecticut, human resources consulting practice.

“There is a tremendous amount of testing you can do and should be doing that’s designed to identify people’s styles,” Lewis says.

Human resources professionals can help business owners identify assessments of a prospective team member’s skill at interpersonal communications, willingness to be a team player and other important soft skills.

“Companies should take advantage of that,” Lewis says. “Get the individuals on teams tested.”

Enabling and Encouraging High-Performing Teams to Perform

Despite careful screening, a team could still have a soft-skill shortage. After teams are assembled, business owners may need to work with the group to address shortcomings in soft skills.

Communication is almost always included as a key soft skill in high-performing teams. One way business owners can encourage communication is to provide members with time to get to know one another and understand their various perspectives before expecting them to get down to productive work.

Business owners can also provide tools to communicate, including tele- and videoconferences, message boards and in-house social media platforms.

That said, “you can’t just throw different means of communication out there and expect people to pick them up and use them properly,” Lewis cautions. “Organizations that are thriving tend to be organizations that invest to make sure teams work as a unit.”

Business owners may need to add their own face time to team building, Pinter-Veal adds.

“You need to spend quality in-person time with your remote team members to build trust at the highest level,” she says. “You must set regular times to see people in person.”

For the complete article, please click here.

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