Due to shifts in business operations, digitization is now more central than ever. In addition to focusing on technical capabilities, employers should pay attention to soft skills. Let’s find out why soft skills play an important role in the digital age.
Modern changes in companies
The pandemic has affected our world in every way. Companies felt the shift in business operations that led them to move to remote working and focus more on digitization. Technical skills were in high demand at an all-time high. But when companies focus only on technical skills, things go wrong. Soft skills cannot be ignored. They play the same important role for companies, such as technical skills. That’s why it’s even recommended that employers look for employees with strong, soft skills. But what are they? Unlike technical skills, soft skills are changeable. Let’s solve this question and define which soft skills are important for digital transformation.
Technical skills or soft skills
Usually, while hiring an IT development company, your technical skills can be checked. These skills are concrete, easy to measure and known to everyone. Unsurprisingly, employers focus on technical skills when building a team. However, soft skillsets are also needed.
A previous study determined soft skills that every employee should have by 2021. These are creativity, persuasiveness, cooperation, adaptability and emotional intelligence. But the coronavirus pandemic is putting soft skills to the test as companies strive to maintain their operations.
Even without considering a pandemic, soft skills are becoming an issue, especially in companies undergoing digital transformation, as it involves solving new tasks and working with teams across the company. Without employees who have the ability to solve problems, deliver results and work well with other employees, managing change at this scale is dangerous.
Coming back to a pandemic, more companies are fasting their digital transformation skills. The reason is that many employees are working remotely and providing technology companies with tools to help with the transition. Even if internal customers work remotely, IT professionals do not always have the same power. They must diagnose technical issues in person and using remote desktop tools. In addition, they have to maintain local servers and manage many critical functions.
We can conclude that both soft skills and technical skills are needed. So let’s take a look at the most important soft skills that every IT leader should consider when creating teams for digital transformation.
Perhaps this is the most important soft skill to develop as the skills required are constantly changing. Knowledge of certain software or programming language is useful. These can be important from the list of technology skills. But the half-life of technical skills is currently two and a half years. That’s why candidates who demonstrate curiosity and willingness to learn have more opportunities to be relevant and help their company implement the latest technologies in their operations.
Critical thinking is a useful skill when it comes time for new ventures. It helps people identify and solve new problems that come their way. It includes analyzing data, conceptualizing, synthesizing and the ability to reason and draw conclusions from those analyses. It is necessary for the survival of a business.
The survey conducted shows that less than half of the current students and recent graduates interviewed have critical thinking skills. And even fewer people think their colleagues have this skill.
If you want to employ critical thinkers, you need to watch out for candidates who can show you their thought processes as they talk about their work. These could be examples of how they have handled making important decisions or solving complicated problems through collaboration, research, implementation, consultation and decision-making.
Digital transformation can require complex changes that require company-wide support. Your team needs to know how to use and explain technical terms. The team should use them both in writing and through speech, as well as in a way that the rest of the business understands them. One of the important factors is the ability to persuade and influence other people.
This soft skill is especially necessary because the digital transformation will affect every employee and department of your organization. You need to look for people who can get support and understanding of the process and goals of the entire organization and possibly perform these tasks from home.
Creativity isn’t just about drawing great pictures and writing thought-provoking stories. When creative people look at a problem, they can come up with new ways to solve it that seem unusual. Such people are not afraid to take risks during the thinking and brainstorming process.
To find out if the candidate has creativity skills, tell them about your company’s existing problem. Add that you are trying to solve it but without success and ask the candidate who he/she would tackle this problem. Do not consider the viability of the solution and focus on thought process and originality. Determine if the candidate relies on traditional processes and methods, or if he/she offers a new perspective that has not yet been considered.
Today, the entire work is considered collaborative. You should have a team with members who are willing to work with other members. They need to listen to their ideas, communicate, receive feedback, brainstorm and be ready to share the spotlight. Collaboration is one of the important soft skills in IT.
For example, during the transition to one master CRM, the team collaborated with employees in different roles and departments of the organization. It gives people equal voting rights which helps to eliminate fragmentation and involve technology experts throughout the process. Today, many employees work remotely and teams can adopt cloud-based technologies to ensure effective collaboration, whether it’s video conferencing, a collaborative work management platform, or digital whiteboards.
According to numerous studies, employees with emotional intelligence have a mix of empathy, self-awareness, social skills, motivation and self-regulation. These qualities help unite teams to achieve outstanding goals during digital transformation, especially during a pandemic.
IT specialists are trained to prioritize internal customers. And probably now they are faced with a huge amount of requests to fix problems with software, computer peripherals and hardware. Only workers with higher emotional intelligence will be willing to propose to help as workloads increase and remote working may continue after the pandemic.
Flexibility and adaptability
Even if you consider yourself well-organized, be prepared that digital transformation doesn’t always go according to plan. Some tasks will take much longer than expected. New problems may also arise. The end result may be completely different from what you imagined when you started.
That’s why you need to have employees on your team who can change course without any problems and adapt quickly. With flexible and change-ready people on your team, you can focus on changing the business rather than managing change in your own team. That is why a soft skill is valued in digital.
Productivity and Responsibility
To meet the set goals in digital transformation in a timely manner, you need people on your team who can do it quickly. Maybe you know this type of person. Others wonder where they can find more hours in a day to complete all the tasks. It is also important that these people take responsibility for their work.
This skill can be difficult to assess during a job interview, especially when many organizations move to virtual interviews. You can ask the interviewee to tell you about the latest work project. Look for clues in their story to understand what the interviewee was responsible for and what he/she could accomplish in a short period of time. Another way to assess the candidate’s responsibility is to ask what the interviewee would do if the project was delayed.
Despite the impact of the pandemic that has changed the world, many companies, even in these complicated circumstances, have quickly adapted to new ways of working, for example remote working. They also accelerated their digital soft transformation efforts. Technical skills will remain one of the required skills in business. Yet employers should always look for people who are ready for continuous learning and development. Digital services and technologies are evolving, and it means companies need talented people who are committed to adapting their skills accordingly. The use of these talents is necessary if they are to maintain the pace of digital change that we have witnessed during the pandemic.
It’s not as easy as it seems to create a team ready to tackle the most complicated of tasks. But if you keep in mind the importance of both soft skills and technical skills while hiring your team, you can help your future team be more effective and sustainable in complicated times.
Aston is a content writer and application developer for: software company JatApp. She conducts research and discussion on tech-related topics. She enjoys sharing her experiences with like-minded audiences and writes about software development, digital marketing, business, career and more.