Getting the Soft Skills You Need to Cope with Change

Jacquelyn Soh
June 21, 2021

The 2020 crisis has given soft skills a new prominence.

While the demand for hard technical skills skyrocketed as companies rushed to digitize, soft skills emerged as the real predictors of how fast and well businesses could recover.  


What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics inherent in people that are indicators of behavior and potential to succeed in different roles. Examples include attention, focus, risk tolerance, generosity, etc.

Unlike hard skills, which are specific learned abilities acquired through training or experience , soft skills hinge less on access to opportunities and are hence more evenly distributed across the population. 


Why is the focus on soft skills so important? 

Because of how fast technology is evolving, the longevity of hard skills that make the  annual list of top ten “most in-demand” is shortening.  

L&D professionals are not only challenged to develop programs that match the rate of decay. They also need to develop people’s  abilities to adapt and tolerate ambiguity, to collaborate with others so as to support not just great teamwork, but the acquisition of new skills on the job. 

Employers should be thus considering not only how to attract top talent with the necessary soft skills, but also rethink and optimize L&D strategy to better cultivate the social and emotional skills that their workforce needs to provide value in the coming years. 

The takeaway is not to stop focusing on hard skills, but acknowledge that soft skills will help with the acquisition of hard skills.

So, how effectively are we currently assessing soft skills? 

The growing desire to embed soft skills as a core competency, and design jobs and talent processes around them is impeded by a lack of knowledge on how to actually evaluate and acquire them. 

According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Research, 59% of organizations acknowledge that they lack, reliable soft skills data, and 89% of HR leaders believe that hires that didn’t work out lacked the appropriate soft skills for the job . LinkedIn research further confirms that most companies do not have a way to formally assess soft skills, with talent professionals instead relying on social cues or “gut feel” for their evaluations.


How can pymetrics help?

pymetrics’ leading soft skills platform empowers companies to identify the unique, essential soft skills of your workforce in real-time, using objective behavioral data.  

Our streamlined gamified assessment takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and measures 11 categories of behavioral traits, including decision making, focus, effort, risk tolerance, attention, and more at a millisecond time scale.

Instead of asking someone whether their approach to making decisions is more instinctive or methodical for instance, we measure it based on how they approach certain scenarios-- do they spend a lot of time planning? Do they jump right in and figure it out along the way? This allows for a much more accurate and dynamic reading of the individual’s behavior compared to, say, a self-reported questionnaire.

So then what? By translating these behavioral data into actionable insights and matching recommendations, pymetrics gives Talent Acquisition and Talent Management leaders a way to build synchronized workforce transformation strategies at a scale, speed, and degree of objectivity unlike any other. 

If you would like to learn how the pymetrics soft skills assessments can support specific stages of the talent lifecycle including recruitment, workforce gap analysis, employee learning & development, internal mobilization and more, please feel free to explore here.