The digital industry’s business model is built around fast paced, multi-disciplinary teams delivering projects. Since its inception there has been a focus on developing hard skills to generate results. Now we are appreciating the need for multi-disciplinary teams to be able to work together as effectively as they can execute their hard skills, in order to deliver game changing digital.
Hard skills, processes and tools are useful for digital work, but are in themselves insufficient to developing truly exceptional outputs. That’s where soft skills bridge the gap.
Soft skills are personal attributes that allow someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Soft skills cover things such as team work, leadership, time management, communication, a positive attitude, professional resilience, relationship building and more.
What returns can you expect from soft skills investment?
The impact of soft skills are notoriously hard to quantify, but in 2017 the University of Michigan ran a real world research study into the impact of soft skills training highlighting commercial benefits. It found that soft skills training can increase productivity and retention by more than 12% and provide ROI of over 250%. When the UK’s productivity levels are almost 17% lower than the rest of the G7, numbers like that matter to stay commercially competitive and internationally able.
Studies have also shown that employees who have soft skills training give more hours to their employer than those that don’t have soft skills training. There is also a spill over effect, where those without soft skills training but who are working with or in close physical proximity to those with soft skills training, give more hours to their work.
A 2015 study of over 300 digital managers and employees by The Candidate in Manchester, UK found that 77% of digital employees believe that soft skills are overlooked compared to technical or hard skills, and over 50% of respondents felt the digital industry was suffering as a result of a lack of soft skills training.
Are hard skills important, too?
Yes, absolutely. Hard skills are vital to being able to perform a job at the required level. Soft skills are not a replacement for hard skills. At Digital Rev we see soft skills development as an enhancement of a professional skill set that can take your employees and business to the next level.