If hard skills can be defined as “knowing how to do”, a set of knowledge and expertise and the ability to apply them properly to certain business, soft skills represent something different.
We are talking about putting together the “technical” capabilities and some characteristics of personality: quality, individual attitudes, social, communicative and managerial abilities of each single collaborator. Often they are defined as “knowledge, skills and attitude”, a kind of behavior that is more social, shared, participatory, and responsible.
Over the last few years, attention to soft skills has grown, so for the selectors these are skills and abilities they can no longer do without. It is difficult to accurately define this component inherent in the nature of people. Someone has called it “internal entrepreneurship”, but it can also be referred to as autonomy, creativity, and cooperation. The relationship between a person and work is steadily getting more oriented towards seeking deep sense and profound meaning, overcoming the old idea of repetition of pre-determined actions and standardized and normalized behavior.
A recent survey carried out in European companies and institutions has identified some of the most important soft skills – indispensable in a society that is experiencing epoch-making change thanks to technology: problem solving, flexibility, teamwork, motivation, creativity, and time management.
But the real innovation comes here: if it’s true that digital transformation has spread in all sectors, even traditional ones, that are far from the world of technology, forcing them to quickly review business models and processes , also soft skills have been involved In the process of change:
in fact, the digital skills have shifted toward the soft area
and soft skills have become more digital or digitized.
Companies started looking for new digital capabilities and new professional skills able to create a digital culture that involves every aspect of company organization.
The service sector has responded swiftly to the current revolution and today is characterized as one of the most mature areas in terms of digital soft skills: in particular, companies from ICT, consultants, media and telecommunications sector show higher levels of maturity, especially in the areas of knowledge, networking and creativity.
To develop and introduce the different types of digital soft skills inside the organizations, the most widespread approach was to use spot training courses (67% of cases), followed by awareness-raising activities (e.g. intranet initiatives), company corner point, communication campaigns, innovation lectures with guru and influencers (52%). About one out of five companies started evaluating digital soft skills also in locations where they select candidates.
Digital transformation has had the merit of gradually shifting the interest and strategies of companies from control-related visions toward a perspective that places in the center a person, his or her freedom, resources he or she is able to exploit in terms of innovation, sense of belonging to a community, and necessity to stay in touch. Digital skills, being well-versed with digital world, are becoming an important and essential part of digital maturity and critical awareness in using network environments.
People are called to put in place their judgment and skills. A wonderful phrase by Reid Hoffman, the founder of the social network Linkedin and venture capitalist, summarizes in a few words how the work should be understood today: “In an interconnected society, all should think of themselves as a small company “.
In this statement there is the whole spirit of so-called “digital disruption”, that forces companies to transform in agile and result-oriented way, to encourage a dialogue and to stimulate the people who work to continually enrich it with their personal contribution, otherwise it is impossible to face the changing world successfully.
It’s not a matter of tools, it’s a matter of culture.