Hard Skills or Soft Skills?
Soft Skills are considered the skills of the professionals of the future. That is why they are currently overvalued in the labor market. But the answer to the title question is not one or the other. It’s the real skills. Let’s get to the concept of these three terms.
In the first part of this article, when we conceptualized competence, we said that it is composed of three dimensions: knowledge, skills and attitudes. The meaning of Hard and Soft Skills is closely related to these dimensions.
Hard Skills refer to the dimension of knowledge. The theoretical, technical, specific knowledge of each profession: Medicine, Law, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, complete mastery of one or more languages and other areas of knowledge. This knowledge is acquired in school institutions of various levels, in technical courses, with the reading of books and other means. They are easier to learn and can be more objectively measured, tested, so they are more used, or rather, only technical knowledge is verified in more traditional recruitment processes.
In the context of business administration, Hard Skills are the technical knowledge necessary to perform a certain function or position and are more related to the processes of each area: financial, marketing, operational, IT and others. Each area demands a specific set of technical skills. In this way, Hard Skills differ from company to company, from area to area, from position to position, from functions to functions and from professional level to professional level.
Soft Skills refer to the Skills and Attitudes of the CHA. They are more subjective and do not depend on certificates and diplomas to develop. Although the education systems, in their current curricular bases determine the development of the socio-emotional skills that make up the Soft Skills, they are more difficult to be acquired than the Hard Skills.
But they can be developed. For this the person needs to want to develop them, to be aware, to know where he is, the values that permeate this environment, to have perceptions of the people who circulate in it, to request that these people reveal the perceptions they have of him and to free himself from the defense mechanisms that are barriers to accept criticism from others. In addition, define the professional paths that you want to follow, to identify and develop the Soft Skills that these career paths require for your efficient and effective exercise.
And what are these Soft Skills? They are the know-how, the know-how to be in tune with the know-how. Have empathy, decentralize to reach and consider the dimension of the other. It’s social-emotional, behavioral, and relationship skills. Self-knowledge, self-confidence, resilience, creativity, communication skills, proactivity, time management skills, leadership, persuasion, teamwork, cooperative work, emotional intelligence, ability to act with balance and thoughtfulness in conflict situations, relate with respect for the other. We can say that these are the most valued in the labor market today. Because they have value traits, most of them are less related to the processes and more connected to the organizational culture. Companies currently want to hire complete professionals, that is, who have Real Skills. Term of Psychology to designate that the complete professionals must be endowed with Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Therefore Real Skills are the real, hybrid competencies, composed of the two dimensions of the Skills. Real Skills are also called Power Skills. In fact, they have always composed the profile of efficient professionals of all eras. But they are considered essential for the efficient professionals of the BANI world.
Relationship of Hard Skills and Soft Skills with the management process
How to hire complete professionals who have the Real Skills (Power Skills) necessary for high performance that leads companies to exponentiate their results?
In a systemic organization, by processes, it is necessary to be aware that the various sectors interrelate and the way they relate. This will be decisive for companies to have in their competent professional staff, endowed with the Hard and Soft Skills necessary to create value for the company.
The first step is to define the structure of positions and functions. Then define the matrix of competencies, Hard and Soft Skills, required by these positions and functions, so that the employee has a proficient performance and delivers the expected results. The definition of the matrix of Hard and Soft Skills is part of the basis that sustains HR, as it guides almost all its processes. It is fundamental for the Selection and Recruitment process to hire employees endowed with the competencies defined in the profile of positions and functions. Well-defined competencies in the structure of positions and functions is a prerequisite for the excellence of the evaluation process. Competencies are parameters to verify the potential and deficiencies of employees, their suitability for the position and the impact of their performance on business results. That is why the process must have as object of verification the Soft and Hard Skills, in addition to the performance. In turn, the data and relevant information collected in the evaluation will interfere with the effectiveness of the processes subsequent to it: Registration and organization of the data collected, Data analysis, effective PDIs, subsystem of Positions and Salaries, Promotion, Succession, Offboarding. Without the careful definition of the matrix of Hard Skills and Soft Skills it is impossible for these people management processes to be efficient and effective. It is the qualified performances of employees that produce expected results that, in turn, will positively impact the business result and boost the company’s growth. Qualified performances are only possible if employees have the Hard and Soft Skills defined in the structure of positions and functions of all sectors (processes) of the organizational structure.
Who are responsible for the process of evaluation and management of people
The evaluation of performance and competencies is very important, as it is a determinant of the excellence of the organizational process. It is a diagnosis, a research to collect data and information that will underpin other processes of people management to ensure business results. But it’s just one stage of people management. And who are responsible for the processes, systems and subsystems of the overall people management process? The leaders. Therefore, they are also responsible for evaluating the performance and competencies of employees. For HR this is very clear, but it is not so evident to the leaders of other processes in the organization. For a long time it was considered that performance appraisal was the sole responsibility of HR. But in systemic management, the evaluation leaves HR and goes to the responsibility of the leaders. Evaluating requires getting to know people. That’s why leaders have to be prepared, guided. That’s the role of HR professionals. Advise managers, establish procedures to standardize the conduct of evaluators, train them to act properly in the process, in short, give support to the leadership to manage their leaders, their teams so that they reach high performance standards and meet the strategic goals of the business. That’s why the integration of HR with the leadership team should be the best possible. Managers have to get involved, commit to effective evaluation and people management process. There are scholars in the field who go further. As the evaluation process only makes sense if it improves the performance of employees to enhance business results and boost the company’s growth, it is the business that must appropriate the responsibility of the evaluation process so that it is carried out with excellence and legitimized as relevant in the organizational culture. As it is the leaders who know what competencies their subordinates must possess to perform their functions and achieve the results expected by the company, they have to participate in the construction of all stages of the evaluation process. Definition of the positions and functions, the competency matrix and the performance indicators required by those who will perform them, the evaluation forms consistent with these matrices, the collection and records of data and information, the definition of corrective actions (PDI), the process of reward, promotion, succession and dismissal. That is why the choice of leaders must be very judicious, objective, meritocratic. Possess the Soft and Hard Skills required by the relevance of their responsibility. You have to be an influencer, mobilizer of your team in achieving your goals. Know your strengths and reinforce them to maintain the motivation and engagement of those led. In the same way, help employees with poor performance to overcome their difficulties. Know how to listen, measure, analyze, make intelligent decisions, control, persuade, develop people, optimize processes, seek continuous improvement of oneself, employees and team, get results. You will be respected for your behavior, efficiency and effectiveness in the exercise of the function. It is the performance of the leaders that will ensure the excellence of the evaluation and the process of people management to exponentiate the results of the business and the growth of the company. The result of the employees, individually and in a team, reflects the quality of the leader’s performance.
On the VDX People platform, CHA became CHAF…
Based on the French theorists specialized in People Management, on the VDX People Platform, the CHA became CHAF. To the three dimensions of competencies, C of knowledge, H of skills and A of attitudes, VDX People incorporated the F, the initial letter of the word Form. For French theorists, the concept of competence incorporates a fourth dimension: “know-how”, the F of CHAF. What does it mean to “know how to do”? It means knowing how to make other people do, that is, to teach, to FORM. A competent person is also able to form, that is, to make another person competent to do what he has to do. Who actually knows, does and teaches, if you will. He has theoretical knowledge, applies this knowledge (knows how to do) and has the attitude of wanting to teach, to make other people do it. Teaches and Form.
VDX People wants to institutionalize this dimension of teaching knowledge in the company. It encourages the company to assume among its cultural values, “to be a learning community”, which is in a permanent learning process through solidary knowledge, shared among its employees, including managers, because, although at a higher hierarchical level, the manager is also an employee. We also assume the postulate that one learns more and more knowing how to make others do it. And if this action is supportive, shared, it raises the quality of employees’ performance, boosting them to achieve high performance. The more employees with high performance, the better the business result. Shared knowledge reinforces cooperative work, stimulates the exchange of ideas, discourages the environment of each one for himself, which corrupts the organizational environment and is counterproductive for the business. In addition to providing the development or strengthening of Soft and Hard Skills fundamental to the processes of systemic management, it is inclusive, recognizes the richness of coexistence between different and favors respect for diversity.
Among these Skills, we can identify: autonomy, self-confidence, self-esteem, proactivity, creativity, ability to communicate, to know how to listen, eliminate barriers of self-defense and accept constructive criticism, empathy, cooperative work (awareness that your performance impacts the performance of the team and other processes).
The employee recognizes that the shared teaching and learning provides their professional and even personal growth, that their career is in constant “upgrade”. This increases your adherence to the company’s goals, your engagement with the organizational culture, and the achievement of the strategic goals of the business, which is good for the company as well. In addition, it reduces the turnover rate and its costs with voluntary, financial and operational shutdowns. It allows the company to train its leaders, build a coherent plan of the succession process with employees prepared to assume positions immediately, when necessary, eliminating the need to always go to the market to hire, at high cost, overvalued professionals who, in practice, do not always meet the company’s expectation, unbalancing against itself the cost-benefit equation.
The VDX People platform stimulates the creation of this culture of shared knowledge by instituting the function of the ANGEL to, in the onboarding process, help the leader in the integration of the newly hired employee. But this function of the Angel can be extended to other processes, such as performance evaluation and development. When the leader has a very large team to manage, the angel can assist in some steps of the process. The Angel in this case would be an assistant to the manager. It should be noted that the role of Angel does not imply the creation of a new position between the manager and those led with the consequent impact on the salary sheet. The angel would be exercised by an experienced employee, with a leadership profile and at a certain time, so that a greater number of employees can exercise it. This is consistent with the formative dimension of the evaluation concept adopted by the platform and with the incorporation of the dimension “know how to do” in the concept of competence, to institute in the company a culture of “permanent teaching-learning”, through shared knowledge.
The anagram CHAF… it is also composed of the ellipsis sign. It indicates that, at the company’s discretion, CHA may incorporate new ingredients. An ability to improve the organizational environment, to qualify employees with a competence considered a priority for the business result at a given time, to commit employees to the realization of specific strategic projects, with a determined time of execution, in order to improve the performance of employees and consequently also the results of the business.
VDX People’s platform is a “People Operating System”. It is structured so that employees, at all hierarchical levels, acquire the systemic view of management processes. So that they are aware of the interrelation of processes and their implications. All its blocks and modules are connected, are compatible with each other, form a whole with cohesion. The belief that it is the people who enable the purposes and expected results of the business guides us. That is why the VDX People Platform focuses on people management to optimize performance and exponentiate company results.
VDX People Assessment – differentials
The VDX People Platform considers performance and competency evaluation a powerful feature of the people management process to lead employees to high performance and leverage business results. So it is formatted to fully match its relevance in the process.
In the VDX People platform all people management processes are integrated, connected with coherence. One of the factors that underpins integration, compatibility, the implications between them is evaluation. That is why its execution must be well done. What are the differentials of the platform?
- The way it is structured evidences the connection between people management processes in a transparent and accessible way.
- With its modular structure and blocks, the platform is flexible, customizable, customizable, allowing the company to define its own high performance parameters, based on its culture, business model, strategic planning and format evaluation forms compatible with its reality, its needs, the specific projects to develop leadership potential, entrepreneurial capacity and innovation.
- Its forms are organized to evaluate the performances and competencies of the matrix of positions and functions defined as fundamental for employees to exercise them. Therefore, the evaluation is also connected with each area and with the day to day of the employee.
- Different forms to evaluate the Hard Skills, Soft Skills and specific performances of each position and functions, as well as their different levels: trainee, junior, senior… leadership.
- Specific forms to guide the self-assessment of employees, improving Soft Skills very important for their personal and professional development: self-knowledge, self-analysis and self-criticism.
- It is complete: it evaluates performances, technical and behavioral competencies, Hard and Soft Skills (Power Skills) necessary to enable these performances.
- Their results show where the strengths and weaknesses of performance lie, that is, the strengths and deficiencies of the competencies that impact these results. Generates reports of all stages of the process for the company to build a database with the history of employees. Well organized and properly classified, the data and information from the reports continuously supply this base and constitute a reliable repository of Analytics for a more scientific management of people (People Analytics).
- It is predictive: it is not restricted in the performance accomplished (past), but provides data and information about the potential of the worker in relation to possible future performances (which he can also do), in the current position or in higher rungs of the career.
- It is formative. It provides accurate data and relevant information about the strengths of the employee, as well as their deficient competencies to support the PDIs, trainings, guidance feedbacks, one-on-one meetings, to promote development and high performance. Therefore, the Training and Development process is planned to meet the real needs of employees and business priorities, thus avoiding spending on training actions disconnected from the reality of the company.
- It is a tool for the leader to make an effective management of his led, in formative interventions of orientation and correction, immediate and long-term. Also to concretize the processes of rewards and salaries, promotions, the necessary dismissals, in a fair way, because these actions are based on the relevant information and data generated by the evaluation that evidence the merit of their performance. Therefore, they will be objective, transparent, eliminating the subjective biases that corrupt the healthy and trusting relationship between the leader and his or her subordinates.
- It also provides subsidies for managers to more securely monitor the achievement of the goals set out in the OKR and their impact on the business.
- Digital and Scientific HR: provides technological and statistical instruments for HR to act with more agility and effectiveness, minimizing the time required by the bureaucratic procedures still needed, focusing on qualifying the process of Selection and Recruitment, Onboarding, Development and Training, aligning them with the interests of employees, business priorities and the values of the organizational culture.
These differentials of the Evaluation prove the potential of the VDX People Platform for an efficient and effective management of people that will lead the company to hire, train and develop employees to achieve high performance that will exponentiate business results and boost the growth of the organization.