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    Message of the Week 20 - 24 September 2021

    Week 38 | 2021
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    Soft skills spell success for the tech industry

    According to hubspot, “sales reps who hit their team’s sales goals quarter after quarter have a few things in common — soft skills.”

    It doesn’t matter if you call them soft skills, durable skills or career skills, well-developed emotional and social competencies have become even more important as the world adapts and shifts to the challenges of living in a pandemic.

    Many organisations are beginning to understand the importance of so called “soft skills” in building more coherent and efficient digital and remote working teams. And lest you think it’s a tired topic, recent analysis in the Harvard Business Review found that leaders who show vulnerability and empathy are better equipped to see their employees and businesses through a crisis. A view that is echoed by the Stanford Research Centre and the Carnegie Foundation, which found that 85% of job success comes from well-developed soft and people skills, with expertise and technical knowledge counting for only 15% of success. And this is beginning to become a factor influencing employment.

    In fact, in 2020 the World Economic Forum held a Jobs Reset Summit in which it pointed out that about 50% of employees will need to reskill by 2025, with a focus on problem solving and critical thinking leading the way as essential skills to develop, alongside analytical thinking, active learning, creativity and originality, leadership, resilience and flexibility. All of which, the World Economic Forum claims, need to be complemented by technological, design and programming skills – which demonstrates a shift in importance from hard to soft skills.

    Soft skills help people remain agile to job-specific competencies, which are ever changing and accelerating as the world becomes more reliant on artificial intelligence and automation. As people, we need to change our approach to work by shifting our focus from defining ourselves through “jobs” and instead realising and developing our potential through personal competencies. To do so is to adapt and thrive in a fast-evolving world.

    I believe in the combination of work ethic and soft skills. The sales team needs to understand our products, services and our industry in order to meet sales targets, but it is the soft skills like communication, active learning, and resilience that helps us exceed the targets.

    Lee-Ann Kellner - Channel Sales Manager - KYOCERA Document Solutions South Africa

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