Why soft skills matter for digital transformation

Why soft skills matter for digital transformation

Digitization is now a greater focus than ever before due to shifts in business operation. Except for concentrating on technical capabilities, employers should pay attention to soft skills. Let us sort out why soft skills play an important role in the digital age.

Modern changes in businesses

The pandemic impacted our world in all aspects. Businesses felt the shift in operation that led them to transmit to remote work and to focus on digitization more. Tech skills were in demand at a record high. But if companies concentrate only on technical skills, this will be wrong. Soft skills can not be ignored. They play the same important role for businesses like technical skills. That’s why it is even recommended for employers to look for workers with strong, soft skills. But what are they? Unlike technical skills, soft skills are changeable. Let us sort out this question and define what soft skills matter for digital transformation.

Technical skills or soft skills

Usually, during hiring in an IT development company, your technical skills can be checked. These skills are concrete, simple to measure, and familiar to everyone. It is not surprising that while building a team, employers focus on technical skills. Still, soft skill sets are needed too.

A previous study determined soft skills that every employee should have in 2021. They are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, soft skills are put to the test because companies strive to maintain their activities.

Even without taking into account a pandemic, soft skills become a problem, especially among corporations undergoing digital transformation because it involves solving new tasks and working with teams throughout the company. Without employees who have the ability to solve issues, achieve results, and cooperate with other workers well, managing change on this scale is dangerous.

Coming back to a pandemic, more companies are fasting their digital transformation skills. The reason is that many employees work remotely, and tech companies provide tools to assist with the transition. Even if internal customers are working remotely, IT professionals do not always have the same ability. They should determine tech problems in person and with the help of remote desktop tools. Moreover, they should maintain local servers and manage many critical functions.

We can conclude that both soft skills and technical skills are necessary. Therefore, let us look at the main soft skills every IT leader should take into account during creating teams for digital transformation.

Curiosity

Perhaps, this is the most important soft skill to develop because demanded skills change all the time. Knowledge of particular software or programming language is useful. These can be important from the technology skills list. But the half-life of technical skills is currently two and a half years. That’s why those candidates who demonstrate curiosity and willingness to learn to possess more chances of being relevant and assisting their companies in implementing the latest technologies into their activities.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a useful skill when the time comes to new undertakings. It assists people in determining and resolving new issues that appear on their way. It involves analyzing data, conceptualizing, synthesizing, and the ability to reason and make conclusions from those analyses. It’s necessary for business survival.

From the conducted study, less than half of interviewed current students and recent graduates think that they possess critical thinking skills. And even fewer think their colleagues have this skill.

If you want to employ critical thinkers, you should watch over candidates who can show their thought processes to you while talking about their work. This can involve examples of how they have coped making significant decisions or solving complicated issues with the help of collaboration, research, execution, deliberation, and decision making.

Complex communication

Digital transformation can need complicated changes that expect the support of the entire company. Your team should know how to use technical terms and explain them. The team should utilize them in writing and through speech as well as in a way that the rest of the part of the company understands them. One of the important factors will be the ability to persuade and influence other people.

This soft skill is especially necessary because the digital transformation will touch every worker and department of your organization. You should search for people who can get support and understanding of the process and aims of the entire organization and possibly perform these tasks from home.

Creativity

Creativity does not only stand for drawing amazing pictures and writing thought-provoking stories. When creative people look at an issue, they can come up with new ways to resolve it that can appear unusual. Such people are not afraid to take risks during the thinking and brainstorming processes. 

If you want to know if the candidate has creativity skills, tell them about the existing problem of your company. Add that you are trying to solve it but unsuccessfully and ask the candidate who would he/she approach this problem. Do not take into account the viability of the solution, and you should focus on thought process and originality. Determine if the candidate relies on traditional processes and methods, or he/she offers a new angle of view that has not been considered yet.

Collaboration

Nowadays, the entire work is considered collaborative. You should have a team with members who are ready to work with other members. They should listen to their ideas, communicate, receive feedback, brainstorm, and be ready to share the spotlight. Collaboration is one of the important soft skills in IT.

For instance, during the transition to one main CRM, the team collaborated with workers in various roles and departments of the organization. It gives people an equal voice right that helps to eliminate fragmentation and involving technology experts in the entire process. Nowadays, many employees work remotely, and teams can apply cloud-based technologies to ensure effective collaboration no matter it is video conferencing, collaborative work management platform, or digital whiteboards.

Emotional intelligence

According to numerous studies, employees with emotional intelligence have a mix of empathy, self-awareness, social skill, motivation, and self-regulation. These traits assist teams in uniting to achieve outstanding goals during digital transformation, especially during a pandemic.

IT specialists are trained to prioritize internal customers first. And likely now they face a huge amount of requests to troubleshoot software, computer peripherals, and hardware. Only workers with higher emotional intelligence will be ready to propose to help out because the workload is increased, and remote work can stay after the pandemic.

Flexibility and adaptability

Even if you consider yourself well organized, be prepared that digital transformation does not always go according to plan. Some tasks will take much more time than expected. New problems likewise can appear. The end result can completely differ from what you imagined when you began.

Therefore, you should have workers in your team who can change course without problems and adapt quickly. If there are flexible and ready for changes people in your team, you can concentrate on changing the company rather than managing change in your own team. That’s why in digital, a soft skill is valued.

Productivity and accountability

In order to timely satisfy the set goals in digital transformation, you should have people in your team who are able to perform this quickly. You may know this type of person. Others wonder where they find more hours in a day to perform all tasks. Moreover, it is important for these people to be responsible for their work.

This skill can be complicated to assess during a job interview, especially when many organizations are transferring to virtual conversations. You can ask the interviewee to tell you about the latest work project. Search for clues in their narration in order to understand what the interviewee was responsible for and what he/she could accomplish in a short period of time. Another way to assess the responsibility of the candidate is to ask what the interviewee would do if the project was delayed.

Summing-up

Despite the impact of the pandemic that changed the world, even in these complicated circumstances, many companies have fast adapted to new ways of working, for instance, remote working. They also accelerated their efforts in digital soft transformation. Tech skills will continue to be one of the demanded skills in business. But still, employers should always search for people who are ready for continuous learning and development. Digital services and technologies develop, and it means companies should have talented people who are committed to adapt their skills along with this. Using these talents is necessary if they want to maintain the pace of digital change we’ve observed during the pandemic.

It is not as easy as it seems to create a team that is ready to accomplish the most complicated tasks. But if you keep in mind the importance of both soft skills and technical skills during hiring in your team, you can assist your future team to be more effective and sustainable during complicated times.