Through the work of Green (2012), it was noted that adaptability when it comes to skill training, technology immersion and horizontal transfers within a corporation was one of the skills most sought after in present-day job applicants.
One of the reasons behind this level of desirability is connected to present day HR practices wherein to lower the inherent costs associated with hiring personnel; HR departments have been combining different job roles into a single position. This often entails an employee having to adapt to a role that they were not originally trained for but need to master to retain their position within the company (Green, 2012).
The same can be for the currently evolving nature of global markets and technology wherein newer forms of technology are increasingly replacing old systems resulting in the creation of new processes that need to be adapted to.
Evidence of this can be seen in the changing technology landscape over the past five years wherein the popularization of smartphone and tablet applications has given rise to an entirely new industry of small companies all of whom specialize in the development of applications that would appeal to your average tablet or smartphone user.
Since employees are the backbone of any corporation, the ability of a company to change and adapt to a modern-day business environment is based almost entirely on its workforce which needs to be both skilled and adaptable in the face of such a market environment (Wenger & Owens, 2012).
The concept of people skills encompasses not only the capacity of an employee to utilize proper customer service skills but also entails their ability to get along with other employees within the company. Badillo-Amador & Vila (2013) delve more into this concept by explaining that integration into a company’s business culture is a key facet that HR hiring personnel look for in a potential employee.
The reason behind this is quite simple; an individual that cannot integrate themselves into the business culture of a company is more likely to leave at an earlier date as compared to an individual that can successfully integrate themselves. When an individual leaves the company, they take with them the skills and training given to them by the company to be better suited for a particular position (Badillo-Amador & Vila, 2013).
It is based on this that companies have a vested interest in lowering their employee churn rate (i.e., the rate by which employees are employed and leave the company).
Proper integration into the company’s business culture is a key component behind this and, as such, HR departments often look at an individual’s people skills during the interview to see if they would be the “right fit” so to speak so as to avoid wasting time and resources in training them only for them to leave within a year (Wenger & Owens, 2012).
Another aspect of people skills that are considered desirable is an individual’s customer service skills (i.e., their ability to interact with customers, clients, etc.). Proper handling of clients can make or break a company and, as such, it is important to have employees that can properly interact with clients/customers resulting in long term product patronage.
Robles (2012) explains that nine out of ten HR departments often look for critical thinking skills in potential candidates. This set of skills encompasses the ability of an employee to think on their feet, find alternative solutions when recommended processes do not work and to determine whether current methods utilized by the company need to be altered to better suit the given situation.
Overall, critical thinking skills can be considered an essential skill set by any potential candidate that is looking to be hired. Robles (2012) delves more into the concept of critical thinking by explaining that at the end of the day, companies need people that can become problem solvers.
One characteristic of your average white-collar worker is the ability to think critically and respond to a variety of potential situations. As such, a person’s capacity to think critically and logically often impacts their rate of promotion within a particular company (Robles, 2012).
Surprisingly, through the research of Blickle et al. (2013), it was noted that active listening was considered a skill instead of a trait that was inherent in all individuals. Blickle et al. (2013) noted that some individuals tend to “gloss over” certain facts and titbits of data when they are presented to them in verbal form. As a result, they often attempt to learn from their mistakes while working.
The problem with this behavior is that it results in preventable problems occurring. Active listening is a desired trait since more often than not employees simply do not pay attention during important seminars or meetings resulting in them missing out in internalizing important pieces of information (Blickle et al., 2013).
Examples of this range from workers not paying attention during sexual harassment seminars to ignoring a presentation on proper manners and behaviors around foreign clients.
Badillo-Amador, L., & Vila, L. E. (2013). Education and skill mismatches: wage and job satisfaction consequences. International Journal Of Manpower, 34(5), 416-428.
Blickle, G., Meurs, J. A., Wihler, A., Ewen, C., Plies, A., & Günther, S. (2013). The interactive effects of conscientiousness, openness to experience, and political skill on job performance in complex jobs: The importance of context. Journal Of Organizational Behavior, 34(8), 1145-1164.
Green, F. (2012). Employee involvement, technology and evolution in job skills: A task-based analysis. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 65(1), 36-67.
Robles, M. M. (2012). Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 453-465.
Wenger, D., & Owens, L. C. (2012). Help Wanted 2010: An Examination of New Media Skills Required by Top U.S. News Companies. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 67(1), 9-25