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Soft skills critical as businesses switch to remote work

- March 3, 2021 2 MIN READ
soft skills

A survey by recruitment specialists Drake International has found businesses will need to focus on honing and hiring for soft skills as remote and hybrid work models become the norm.

With only 20 per cent of workers happy to return to their workplace fulltime and 60 per cent of employees hoping to continue to work remotely, soft skills such as communication become essential for long term business success.

What soft skills are important?

Drake’s survey found that organisations that have been working remotely consider the following soft skills to be the most critical to productivity:

Communication (84.5%),
work ethic (47.6%),
adaptability (38.8%)
and time management (38.8%)

Other desired skills include dependability (31.1 per cent) and collaboration (30.1 per cent) while skills of less appeal include problem-solving (14.6 per cent), emotional intelligence (13.6 per cent), critical thinking (3.9%) and creativity with just 1.9 per cent respondents regarding it as a ‘critical’ skill.

“A huge portion of workers prefer a flexible, hybrid work environment and will likely continue to be the case even when COVID is a thing of the past,” said Tanya Anderson, Recruitment Manager at Drake International.”

The challenges of remote work

Still, Anderson says both workers and employees have found some elements of working remotely challenging.

“Technical skills and abilities that allow some team members to thrive in a physical workplace quickly became less important as we saw some ‘soft skills’ became invaluable in this new autonomous environment.”

93.3 per cent of survey respondents said they would continue to prioritise the soft skills in future recruitment.

“Technical skills will remain important and continue to evolve however, with a significant shift toward hybrid working models, some soft skills have become nothing short of absolutely essential, such as communication and work ethic.”

The best way for recruiters to find these skills in potential candidates, says Anderson, is through psychometric testing.

“Psychometric assessments are necessary in recruitment today as they provide valuable insights into certain behaviours and attributes of a candidate,” said Anderson.

“Employers need to understand the decision-making style, communicative qualities, energy levels and the motivation levels of candidates, as well as the ability to self-monitor.

“These are all important traits to consider when recruiting for more autonomous roles which are becoming more common as so many companies move toward a flexible hybrid working arrangement between the workplace and home.”

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