Hard Data on Soft Skills – Softfactors Competency Index™

People analytics can measure what was considered unmeasurable before – soft skills. Technology has given us the tools and techniques, and this is what we do at softfactors AG. Our tests measure competencies in key areas through a series of fun, intuitive, interactive and quick online activities. We have combined self-description, with ability testing and behavioral assessments.

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What Soft Skills are mostly required in today’s Jobs?

Delivery, Collaboration, Drive and Communication are becoming more and more important in today’s jobs. While Communication is on everybody’s list, the high score of Delivery and Drive are definitively somewhat surprising. At Softfactors we measure and observe competency trends, using our set of 25 competencies. They are grouped into 5 categories: Dealing with People, Interpersonal Skills, Dealing with Business, Thinking Skills, and Personal Qualities. The Softfactors Competency Index™ looks at all competencies by function (i.e. marketing) and role (i.e. senior expert or team leader). And the picture – not surprising – holds a list of commonly used skills that are important for the 21st century. The top 4 competencies and their detailed facets are:

  1. Delivery
    Completer and finisher, know how to organize people and activities, figure out the processes necessary to get things done, know what to measure and how to measure it.
  2. Collaboration
    Build consensus among colleagues, peers and clients, recognize the business concerns and perspectives of others, identify shared interests and common ground, focus on issues and interests instead of people or positions, gain others’ support for ideas, proposals, projects and solutions.
  3. Drive
    Strength of will, take initiative, dynamic and assertive, good stamina, identify what needs to be done and do it before being asked or before the situation requires it, ambitious.
  4. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.

To our surprise, the “doer” attitude that helps foster “Delivery” has been somewhat stronger than Communication, which we expected to be the most popular competency in our Softfactors Competency Index™. Together with the competency “Drive” the picture gives a strong “can do” attitude of the worker in the 21st century: making things happen seems to be a key element over all competencies.

Which Competencies are important for leaders?

For leadership positions (Managers, Executives and Managers of Managers) the picture looks somewhat different. The top 4 competencies for leaders are:

  1. Leading People
    Set direction, establish focus, decide on action, assign responsibility, delegate appropriately, mobilize commitment, provide motivational support, empower others, develop others and manage performance.
  2. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.
  3. Decision Making
    Break down problems into all facets, define the root causes of a problem, generate a range of solutions, weigh pros and cons of options, use lessons learned, make decisions with limited or unclear information, easily explain the rationale for a decision.
  4. Business Responsibility
    Integrate executive direction into decisions and actions, align products/services/actions with the organization, monitor resources, seek ways to reduce costs, adhere to internal control procedures and standards, actively uphold company regulations and policies.

Basis of the Softfactors Competency Index™ are the data of hiring organizations using the Softfactors recruiting suite. Analyzed were published jobs primarily in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the UK in 2016. Watch this space, we are going to monitor and publish more data about soft skills as they become available. We will be reporting them in the Softfactors Competency Index™.

Download our white paper “Putting Soft Skills at the Heart of Recruiting” here.

Want to demo Softfactors? Go through a candidate experience here.

Source: softfactors | smart digital recruiting

50% Hiring Cost Reduction through increased Quality and Speed: The Nord Stream 2 Project

The Landfall of the Nord Stream Pipeline in Germany

Nord Stream 2 AG is a project company established for the planning, construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline to transport natural gas from Northern Russia to Europe. New hires were needed for multiple business and technical functions. Nord Stream 2 wanted a data-driven, comprehensive, time saving process that would result in candidates who could immediately fit into their high-speed, international culture and who would produce results on Day One.

Interview/Hiring Ratio of 4:1

With softfactors, Nord Stream 2 soon learned that softfactors’ methodology reflected current research conducted by the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation showing that job success depends on a combination of technical knowledge and soft skills. They realized that soft skills were valuable factors to consider.

Smart algorithm do the workload

softfactors’ selection tools use an algorithm to compare the job requirements to each candidate’s profile. Candidates interested in a job complete an interactive online application. All candidates are screened on overall fit, traditional variables, and soft factor elements drawn from interactive exercises. The result is a scientifically rigorous list of pre-selected candidates – both suitable and unsuitable – based on a combination of competencies and foundational and technical skillsets.

Saving 20 hours interview time per position

With the front-end sourcing and candidate screening steps handled by softfactors, Nord Stream 2’s HR team was able to concentrate on in-person interviews and collaborative assessment discussions with the hiring managers. It brought down the interview/hiring ratio to 1:4. The number of interviews for hiring managers was reduced by over 50% because of the pre-match of suitable candidates to jobs.

Download the full study here
Nord Stream 2 AG – Facts and Figures
Time Frame for Recruiting 9 months
Online Applications through Softfactors ATS (very specialized jobs) 2’500 applications automatically screened
Algorithm assessed as suitable 450
Hired (filled) positions 45
Hiring/Interview Ratio 1:4,3 (normally 1:10)
Time saving for hiring managers and HR (2 people in interview) 810 hours

About Softfactors AG

Softfactors AG is an HR Tech Startup based in Zurich Switzerland. The recruiting solution measures and compares both resumes and soft skills. It looks at qualifications, work experience, social skills and personality of applicants and compares these with the requirements of the job opening, using a set of competencies and pre-defined job profiles.

www.softfactors.com


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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Are Soft Skills Winning?

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The whole debate about soft skills versus hard skills sounds like a relatively modern debate, right? Not at all. The debate has been raging for many years – as far back as last century even. In 1918, Charles Riborg Mann, a physicist, engineer and civilian adviser in the US War Department, published research that discussed the importance of soft skills versus hard skills in engineering disciplines.

Within the study he asserted that: “personal qualities such as common sense, integrity, resourcefulness, initiative, tact, thoroughness, accuracy, efficiency and understanding of men are universally recognised as being no less necessary to a professional engineer than are technical knowledge and skills”.

Research by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center built on that 1918 study, leading them to conclude that only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge. What does the other 85% come from? Good, well-developed soft skills of course.

So the debate about soft skills versus hard skills is nothing new. However, thinking tends to fluctuate over which skills – soft or hard – are most important when hiring. At the moment, the swing is definitely towards soft skills and it has been going that way for some time.

Why? For starters, there is the undeniable fact that hard skills date very quickly now. What was relevant and required five or even two years ago is soon redundant. Skills and knowledge regeneration is constant and employees need to have the right mindset that enables them to keep learning, keep developing and keep moving forward.

As a result, employers place less importance on what employees already know. They want to know what employees are capable of in the future, what their aptitudes are and how well placed they are to apply the skills needed today and the skills needed tomorrow.

It’s all about agility. It’s a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world that we live and work in and if organisations are to be agile, as they need to be, then they need agile employees. And being agile requires employees to have a whole host of personal attributes that fall into the soft skills category – flexibility, adaptability, creativity, dynamism, connectiveness, emotional intelligence and so it goes on.

There is lots of research that says that these are the skills that employers want now and will want even more in the future. A survey by Talent Q, part of Hay Group, for example found that nine in 10 employers think graduates with soft skills will be increasingly important as globalisation continues to gather pace. But those graduates are already in high demand – 81% of employers say they face strong competition for graduates with people skills.

A report carried out by Grant Thornton, a professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms, shows just how much value is placed on soft skills in the modern workplace, even in a profession that is all about numbers. The report, called ‘The Evolving Accounting Talent Profile’, said this in its executive summary: ‘Today’s CFOs find that technical skills are a necessary, but not sufficient, competency among accounting professionals. As they and their staff become more engaged in organisational decision-making, soft skills such as critical thinking and communication are increasingly important”.

Another report, this one carried out last year on behalf of McDonald’s UK, called ‘The Value of Soft Skills to the UK Economy’, states that soft skills are worth over £88 billion in gross value added to the UK economy each year, underpinning roughly 6.5% of the whole economy. That figure is expected to rise considerably over the next five years. The report predicts that by 2020, the annual contribution of soft skills to the economy will have grown in real terms to £109 billion and to just over £127 billion by 2025. Soft skills are worth a lot.


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