How Can RPOs Support Hiring for Soft Skills?

Time to Read: 4.3 minutes

Updated: February 22, 2023

Soft skills are gaining importance in the workplace, particularly for frontline or key workers required at volume. Whether you operate in retail, hospitality, healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, IT and technology, the majority of your workforce need to be able to work together effectively and to handle customer interactions well. This is where hiring for soft skills can support your workforce. However, it is important to know what soft skills you need for your unique workplace culture, what soft skills you may currently be lacking, and how to address soft skill requirements in your recruitment process.

Why Are Soft Skills Important in the Workplace?

It’s very easy to get caught up in the technical requirements of your volume hiring, but hiring for soft skills is just as important and can make or break productivity, collaboration, your company culture, and customer satisfaction. Soft skills include those social skills that help people work together, including leadership, listening, critical thinking, teamwork, flexibility or adaptability, time management, and communication. Having a good mix of soft skills in your employees specifically contributes to:

Improved Decision Making

When your employees can adapt to a given scenario at work, they can make better decisions that will benefit their individual projects or day-to-day activities.

Better Communication

If your employees are able to communicate effectively, disagree respectfully, and constructively suggest improvements, they will be better able to work together and progress all business activities peacefully.

Improved Customer Experiences

When your employees are good communicators, problem solvers, and flexible people, your customers will have a better experience when interacting with your business.

Supporting a Healthy Working Environment

Very much linked to the point above, employees who can communicate effectively make for a healthy work environment, free from toxic or manipulative behaviors.

Improved Employee Retention

Soft skills contribute to people working well together, and when people work well together they are less likely to look for other opportunities.

How to Measure Soft Skills in the Workplace

If you want to improve your workforce’s soft skills, you can deploy some simple techniques to assess the baseline of your current workforce’s soft skills. From there you can identify any gaps that may need to be addressed in upskilling, training, or in your recruiting.  Techniques to assess your current employees’ soft skills:

Self-Assessment Tools

Often in the form of surveys or questionnaires, self-assessments offer a unique insight into what your employees feel are their strengths and weaknesses. This is very useful as you can use their opinions to form the basis of your understanding and offset it with the way they communicate in the self-assessment as proof of those skills.

Implementing 360 Feedback

Getting feedback from your management structures on your workforce, and vice versa from your workforce on your management teams is a really useful way to understand what soft skills work well and which don’t.

Employee Engagement Surveys

This is a good way to measure how effective your current soft skill hiring has been at creating the positive work environment you need. If your employees are engaged, then what you have already works, but if they are not engaged then you need to address your current workforce’s soft skills.

How to Develop Soft Skills in the Workplace

Once you know what soft skills you need to develop in your existing workforce, you can create an internal training program for your teams. This can include a wide range of formats like seminars, conferences, and online workshops that are designed to emphasize those desirable soft skills and show people how they can use them in their day-to-day work.

How Can RPOs Evaluate Soft Skills During the Hiring Process?

RPOs can assess your high-volume recruiting needs against your business needs. This means seeing which soft skills would elevate your working culture and support better teamwork. They can then create custom hiring strategies that will bring more of those desired soft skills combinations into your organization. They can do this by:

Assessing Your Current Recruitment Processes

RPOs can assess your current recruitment processes to see where soft skills may be missing or falling through the cracks.

Identifying Appropriate Talent Pools

RPOs can suggest new talent pools that have the technical and soft skills you need to broaden your talent pool and increase the chances of hiring the hard and soft skills you need.

Designing Branded Candidate Engagement Campaigns

Your employer brand is a great tool to use when recruiting for soft skills, and RPOs can create employer-branded recruitment campaigns that attract top tier talent.

Creating Good Job Descriptions and Ads

America Succeeds identified that almost two-thirds of the 80 million job postings from 2021 listed soft skills among their qualifications. So when you post ads you should also set the expectation of which soft skills you want to attract. RPOs can help you create these and incorporate best-practice so your job descriptions not only attract the right soft skills, but also impart information about your employer brand and attract high-quality candidates.

Get advice and support on how to hire for soft skills and attract the skills that will improve your workforce, productivity, and overall bottom line with Pierpoint. Talk to an expert today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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