At a Human Resource Professionals of Minnesota conference last week, former state demographer Tom Gillaspy said under the “New Normal” most employers today want employees with technical skills machines cannot adequately perform.

  1. Mechanical reasoning, logic, troubleshooting & spatial visualization
  2. Personal flexibility, communication and cooperation
  3. Initiative, persistence & independence
  4. Attention to detail, self-control & dependability
  5. Making independent decisions
  6. Operating computers or complex machinery for a wide range of critical functions

Look at the list again.  With the exception of #1 and #6, all the “technical” skills he mentions, are in fact personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

That is the definition of “soft skills”.

As a presenter on many soft skills topics, this doesn’t surprise me.  Even in an increasingly complex and technology-driven society, the glue that holds us together is soft skills.

At another conference presentation, the Vice President Eric Harkins of “The Nerdery” (an award-winning software development company) said, “Empathy beats engineering”, and that great software engineers understand development is about solving problems for people.

Soft skills matter.

Employers who understand this foster work cultures where employees are hired, retained, and rewarded for both their personal qualities and skills, as well as for their technical expertise.

They also provide ongoing training opportunities to develop and enhance empathy, leadership, communication, and cooperation.

Next week I’ll write about how happy employees contribute more to organizations’ bottom lines.

May we pursue our paths, valuing and developing our soft skills,

Best wishes,

Elizabeth