Both hard and soft skills are critical for workplace success. However, because hard and soft skills are fundamentally different from each other, evaluation and training methods are equally distinct. At Nocti Business Solutions (NBS) we believe that a properly trained and knowledgeable workforce leads to a safer, more efficient organization. Training workers in both hard and soft skills is a critical part of building a stronger workforce.
How To Tell The Difference Between Hard And Soft Skills
So, what is the difference between hard and soft skills? Hard skills are job-specific and concrete. Examples include: TIG welding, framing a house, or driving a forklift. While someone may exhibit a talent for specific hard skills, it’s safe to say that people aren’t born with these skills. Hard skills must be learned and may require official training or certification.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are more intangible. They are the skills we use to relate to other people and how we navigate life. Some examples of soft skills include:
- Critical thinking
Soft skills are more often part of our personalities, but they can be learned or developed. Someone who struggles with managing their workload can learn different time management techniques and improve their overall organization. Someone who disregards input from co-workers can learn to be a better listener and an all-around team player.
Although the specific skills will vary depending on the job, both hard and soft skills are absolutely critical for job success. A plumber and a welder will require different sets of hard skills, but they will both need to learn how to think critically and solve problems if they are to be successful in their careers.
Hard Skills Training
Because most hard skills are specific to the job, training for them is fairly straightforward. Hard skills are taught in high school career tech centers, technical colleges, trade schools, through apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Here’s how to ensure your employees have the correct job-specific skills needed for success.
Hire the Right Candidate with Pre-Employment Assessments
Training begins with hiring the right candidate. Before offering the job, administer a pre-employment assessment to your candidates. Pre-employment tests allow you to hire more efficiently, cost-effectively, and confidently. In the long-term, administering pre-employment tests lowers turnover rate, promotes a safer work environment and builds a more competent workforce.
Effective Training Program
Even the best candidate won’t make it far if they don’t receive the proper training. An effective training program will include:
- Big-picture overview
- Training goals and expectations
- Hands-on training
- Knowledge testing
- Training program feedback
Test Knowledge and Skills With Skills Assessments
After training is complete, it’s important to assess how much the trainee learned and how their hard skills have improved. Skills assessments can measure this knowledge and skill growth and provide insight into areas that may need additional training. NBS offers multiple levels of skills assessments (entry level, experienced worker, and advanced skill) so you can track your employee’s growth throughout their career.
Soft Skills Training
Soft skills aren’t job-specific, but that doesn’t make them any less critical for job success. Soft skills can be taught, but it’s more abstract than training for a concrete skill like welding. The actual return on investment (ROI) for soft skills training is far more qualitative than quantitative. Employees with soft skills training are better liked, happier in their jobs, and more likely to stay with the company long-term. Some research indicates that 75% of job success depends on people skills, while only 25% depends on actual technical knowledge.
Measuring Soft Skills With Skills Assessments
Nocti Business Solutions offers a few specific assessments to evaluate soft skills:
By utilizing these assessments, employers gain an extensive array of benefits that otherwise might be impossible to gauge in a standard hiring process. Benefits include:
- Accurately identifying an individual’s attitude, mindset, and behavior towards everyday tasks and work.
- A cost-effective process that allows the company and applicant to gauge if the desired job is the right fit for them.
- A blanket test for any entry-level position across an entire company.
- Guide training by understanding a person’s mental capacity and personality traits.
Specific areas covered:
- Computer applications and digital media
- Employability and career development
- Ethics and legal responsibilities
- Independence and initiative
- Leadership and teamwork
- Math skills
- Nonverbal communication
- Personal finance
- Personal health and wellness
- Positive attitude
- Reading skills
- Reasoning, problem-solving, and decision making
- Speaking and listening
- Safety, health, and environment
- Understanding the “big picture”
- Work ethic
A skills assessment establishes a candidate’s current skill level and informs future training. Here are a few ways to target soft skills during training.
- Mentoring and shadowing: learning from a more experienced employee helps a new hire manage work priorities and work with a new team.
- Onboarding new employees with company culture: does your company value teamwork? Attention to detail? Customer service? Make sure new hires are aware of your company values and convey the importance of upholding them.
- Adhering to company standards: checklists, communication standards, safety procedures, dress codes. There is a lot to learn when starting a new position. Train new employees on company standards and emphasize the importance of consistently following them.
Hard and Soft Skills Training With NBS
Whether you are evaluating hard skills or soft skills, Nocti Business Solutions has the pre-employment and skills assessments you need to inform your training programs. We can even develop custom assessments to measure what matters most to your company. Contact us today about how skills assessments can help you build a better workforce.