Holly Hicks, workplacerantings.com
When it comes to a variety of industries and businesses, it may seem obvious at first glance that it takes “talent,” and maybe even “skills” to get the job done and improve a company’s bottom line. But what does that really mean, anyways? And when employers or business owners say that they value skills for their company, what are they talking about?
While it varies industry to industry, of course, there are a few things to note when it comes to thinking about skills in a business sense. Roughly, skills can be divided up into two categories: soft skills, and hard skills.
Soft skills and hard skills together are necessary for success in any business or personal endeavor, but what is the difference? When combined, they are critical for success in both management and productivity, but there are so many differences between the two, that it is important you be made aware of what you have and need, whether you are an employee looking to help the company, or a business owner looking to more tightly define staff roles and fill important positions.
Soft skills are covered with things that include personality traits and other social skills that are somewhat more difficult to define: friendships, friendliness, personal habits, and related issues.
While they are not specific job requirements or trained skills, they tend to be acquired and sometimes unwritten manners and social habits that a person picks up over time. Not surprisingly, though, the better you are at soft skills, the better you are at dealing with and managing people, and interacting with co-workers. People with good inter-office communication skills typically chart through the roof on soft skills, and can be very effective in customer service and related roles.
On the other hand, hard skills are those that one acquires as part of training for a specific job, or for education in general. Hard skills relate to and are defined by exactly what a person can do inside the workplace specifically – namely, the things that they ought to put on a resume to be noticed. These hard skills reflect and include a person’s ability to get things done, and while they don’t focus on communication and related topics, they focus more on how proficient a person is at completing the task at hand.
In all, though, it’s critical to understand that both soft and hard skills are incredibly necessary when it comes to both business and personal growth, and that a wide variety of people in a wide variety of situations need to understand how to use and parlay these skills to their advantage.
For employees, it is critical to understand how you best fit as an employee and a cog within the machine, whether your strengths are more hard or soft, so to speak. If you are better at communicating and working in that regard, it’s important to function in a role that best allows you to outline and highlight those soft skills.