There is a myriad of different roles and subsectors within the IT market. However, one constant thing is the importance of soft skills when hiring skilled professionals. Whether you’re a UI/UX designer or a cybersecurity engineer, conflict management, emotional intelligence and time management can make all the difference in a project.
It can impact team morale and lead you down the path of efficiency and collaboration or stress and confusion. More and more companies understand how crucial soft skills are to success in the IT sector and are consistently applying these to their recruitment process. The consequences of hiring a team with well rounded soft skill sets can also impact how your brand is perceived as customer service and diversity reflects brand values. With diversity and inclusion, an essential topic of discussion in the current Tech sector, soft skills will come under greater scrutiny.
Looking for more reasons why assessment of soft skills should be in your hiring process, here are just a few which could significantly affect your team and even brand.
Employee Wellbeing and Productivity
As a 2019 report that surveyed 408 CISOs in the US and UK showed, many professionals admitted to experiencing moderate to high levels of stress. Their constant need to be on call, and in a leadership position meant that they constantly faced difficult periods. While not all roles are as stressful as a CISO, knowing the type of workload and employment landscape means understanding the kind of character and soft skills required. For example, a good CISO should not only know how to handle stressful situations but to acknowledge when a situation or project needs to be reassessed.
Stress comes with most roles, but over-stress means impacting not only productivity but more importantly, team wellbeing and morale. The consequences of hiring someone unable to deal with these circumstances can have far-reaching impacts. As the study also showed,
more than a quarter of CISOs (26.5%) said both the hours and stress of the job impact their mental or physical health, and 17% of CISOs said they’ve turned to medication or alcohol to handle the pressure.
Emotional Intelligence Impacts Customer Service
EQ or Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to comprehend and control your emotions in positive ways to reduce anxiety or stress and communicate effectively, which allows you to overcome any emotional challenges in the workplace. While unpacking emotional intelligence means addressing a variety of traits such as conflict resolution, communication and stress management, it is crucial to be effective in your career.
Those who interact with end-users especially must possess a high level of emotional intelligence in order to empathise with the issues of their clients. The way with which your team interacts with its customer-base can have a profound impact on how your brand is perceived. Many companies, in recent years, have been in hot water based on the actions of one or a few employees. However, emotional intelligence is not only reserved for these more front-facing roles as Emotional Intelligence can count for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be a top performer. What’s more 23% of employees who don’t meet expectations during their first 18 months fail because of low emotional intelligence.
Communicating Your Company Goals & Values
In marketing, telling the brands story is everything. With that comes the need to articulate your goal, and your core values to your key demographic. A capable marketing team will need to know how to not only get that message across to the broader market but if the team is of a substantial size, it will need to work in harmony. If a team cannot communicate and compromise to come to a productive and coherent solution, it can not only slow the project down but can create a confusing brand story.
A brand identity that is confusing and pulls in different directions will not be an effective one, and as such, your companies goals and values can be misconstrued and impact your bottom line. This also goes for the visual features of your brand. If the UI/UX team cannot come to and effect resolution on a project, it may affect a very visual aspect of your company
The Internal Legal Impact
Morale and safety should always be at the top of any team leaders list. As stated before it can impact efficiency and project deadlines. However, it can also have a critical and immediate impact of creating more serious, legal ramifications. Conflict management is a vital concern where the internal teams stress levels may be higher than most. If there are members on your team who cannot handle conflict effectively, it can very well bubble over into a potentially harmful disturbance.
The worst of this could end in threat of or actual violence. Knowing when and how to spot this in the interview or early stages of a new hire’s progression can be crucial. The result of a breakdown in effective conflict management may very well lead to legal actions being taken by one or more parties. This will not only impact the parties in question but your team and the company as a whole.
Practice Makes Perfect
Soft skills are like all other skills; no one is born with a perfect set. We all have to work on them, and that is why it is essential to not only screen for these skills during interviews and have regularly scheduled reviews. It is also vital to have adequate training to allow all your staff the opportunity to hone these skills and make your team more reliable as a whole.
Quarterly training is effective in tackling issues with conflict management, emotional intelligence and effective communication. It can make all the difference in how you and your brand is perceived both internally and externally. Remember, employees do move on, and they do talk, how will they describe working for you?