3 major signs of soft skills gap in your organization

Soft skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact with others at work. They make up who you are, generally encompassing your attitudes, habits and how you interact with other people. Examples are communication skills, interpersonal skills, business etiquette, etc.

In contrast, hard or technical skills mean subject matter expertise like computer programming, accounting, financial analysis, or chemical engineering. Hard skills are generally easily quantifiable and measurable but not as transferable as soft skills.

Both hard and soft skills are important with hard skills enjoying more attention from organizations. However, soft skills are increasingly becoming more critical than ever as organizations struggle to find meaningful ways to remain competitive and be productive. For instance, teamwork, leadership, and communication are underpinned by soft skills and each is an essential element for organizational success.

Organizations, especially those dealing with customers face-to-face, are generally more successful, if they have adequate pool of soft skills in their staff. It’s just not enough to be highly trained in technical skills, without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Even though, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, when they are absent or insufficient, your organization will not be able to use its technical expertise to full advantage. When your workforce has lots of technical skills but an absence of or insufficient soft skills, you have a soft skills gap.

Soft skills gap manifests in different ways. The following are signs that you may have soft skills gap in your organization:
1. If you’re really good at getting clients, and not so good at retaining them
2. If you have lots of staff turnover and have to keep retraining people
3. When you have lots of managers and supervisors but no real leaders

The nature of these signs underscores the importance of soft skills. Looking at soft skills again from the following practical perspectives:

o If you need healthcare service, which doctor do you go to? The one who is pleasant and takes time to answer your questions; or the one who treats you like a number in a long line of numbered patients?

o Which technology consultant do you retain when resources are lean? The one whose attitude is positive and upbeat, and who is always willing to help; or the one who is inflexible and has a hard time admitting mistakes?
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In these situations, and all the others like them, it’s the soft skills that matter. Hence, it’s important for you to recognize the vital role soft skills play within your team and not only work on developing them within yourself, but encourage their development throughout the organization.

5 Responses to 3 major signs of soft skills gap in your organization

  1. Mark says:

    Quite revealing!

  2. Akin says:

    I agree with the first reason but in my opinion customers leave most times due to poor service. I am wondering if any set of soft skills can replace excellent service.

    • Paradigm Learning says:

      Good point, Akin. In this case, the importance of Soft Skills arises when your competitor also offers excellent service. Customers are likely to then make their decisions based on the soft skills of the people serving them.

  3. Chika Okeke says:

    In my own view; excellent service is fulfilled in both the exhibition of adequate soft skills (attitudes and manners in both verbal and non verbal communications) added to the technical know how. These two skills compliment each other. Where soft skill is lacking, the service is would not be termed as being Excellent because the client may get displeased over time and swiches once he/she gets a better treatment (soft skill) added to the competency of the service person.

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