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Hard skills vs soft skills
As an employer, finding employees with a good balance of hard and soft skills is essential to building a productive and harmonious work environment. There are many ways to hire, identify, and develop employees’ hard and soft skills, like:
Hard and soft skills are two sides of the same coin, and supporting employees’ growth in both can reap benefits in productivity, efficiency, innovation, communication, and collaboration. Below, we’ll explain the difference between hard and soft skills so you can identify and help your employees grow in both.
|Hard skills||Soft skills|
|Definition||The technical abilities needed for a job.||The personal traits that help perform a job more efficiently or effectively.|
|Benefits||Easy to quantify, track, and teach.|
Demonstrates minimum competency in a role.
Able to build upon for more role specialization.
|Fosters and maintains healthy and productive work relationships.|
Increases work efficiency and effectiveness.
Improves adaptability to changing workplace conditions.
|Examples||→ Healthcare degree or license.|
→ Proficiency in a program or an application.
→ Sales and marketing.
What are hard skills?
Hard skills, also known as technical skills, comprise the practical abilities you need to perform the primary duties of your job on a daily basis.
Most often, these skills are industry- or job-specific. For example, healthcare professionals need to complete specific training to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the field, with certifications, like a nurse’s RN license, as proof of their proficiency.
Some hard skills can also translate across various positions if they are essential to completing the job satisfactorily. For example, mastery of Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs is a vital aspect of finance, accounting, and business administration jobs.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills, also known as durable or people skills, are the personality traits, habits, or other characteristics that allow you to be more productive or efficient in your role. They are also essential to fostering positive working relationships among coworkers, leadership, and customers.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills are much trickier to teach because employees develop them through the multitude of interactions, both professionally and personally, that happen in their daily lives.
Nevertheless, soft skills are versatile because you can use them across various roles and industries. In fact, 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers in LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report say that soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills. So, providing opportunities for employees to develop them should be a critical part of your L&D programs.
Soft skills vs hard skills FAQs
Start developing your employees’ hard and soft skills
Besides recruiting employees with the necessary soft and hard skills to make your business more agile for the future of work, you can also use various software to upskill your existing workforce. Some examples include:
Conduct better reviews, increase feedback quality, and simplify review cycle management. ClearCompany Performance Management helps you implement an employee-first approach by shifting the focus of performance reviews from evaluation and ranking to employee growth and future potential. ClearCompany helps your company drive engagement and focus with goal-planning tools while increasing the value and reducing the workload of performance review cycles.
Performance Pro is a customizable, user-friendly, automated performance management platform. Save time with our customizable libraries of content from competencies to tools that help managers leave more meaningful feedback & establish smart goals. Empower your employees to pursue their own professional development, retain your top talent, provide a sense of purpose with goal alignment to strategic objectives, & truly drive an increase in performance & achievement throughout your organization.
Watch this 90 second demo video to see how Coursera for Business empowers leaders to drive agility and innovation by upskilling talent across an entire organization. With one skills-based solution, you can strengthen and retain talent, drive employee productivity, and hone a competitive edge.