Importance of skills improvement
Skills development is the process of identifying a person’s gaps in skills and finding resources to grow and sharpen those skills. This is important, as having access to a wide variety of skills can be what sets you apart from others in this highly competitive and multicultural era. Skills development, therefore, opens up more and better opportunities. Skills are the tools you need to achieve your goals.
Before you try to identify the gaps in your skill, you first need to understand the difference between hard and soft skills. From there, you identify which of these you possess and which you lack. Once you know all of this, you’ll need to find ways to improve on them as a way of working towards a certain goal.
South Africa’s Labour legislation encourages and allows for skills development to take place through bodies of legislation such as the Skills Development Act (SDA) and Skills Development Levies Act, amongst others.
According to Kate McFarlin, a licensed insurance agent, soft skills are often overlooked in the workplace, even though they play a significant role in day-to-day operations. Below, we’ve compiled information on what these four soft skills are, and what role they play in the work environment, not only for recruiters but also for current employees or job seekers:
Drive or work ethic
Kate explains that this is a difficult skill to quantify, however, it is either the fact that employees or individuals will typically display a strong work ethic and the drive to complete tasks – or they won’t. This is an innate skill that can be learned through proper training and motivation.
Numerous research suggests that communication skills are the most important soft skills an individual can possess. “The ability to communicate through the spoken and written word is a necessity in every industry and every workplace”, says Kate. Further explaining that even though it may take some time, communication skills can be learned and improved with the appropriate training.
Having the ability to work in a team is crucial in all industries. “Some employees may naturally feel comfortable working within a group, while others may have problems and prefer to work alone. It is necessary to spot these personality types ahead of time for proper group formation”, says Kate. This skill can be developed through team-building exercises.
Decision making and problem-solving
Lastly, the ability to make decisions quickly, to think on one’s feet, and to solve problems with ease are all important traits. “Employees need to have the ability to take charge of a situation and guide others through if they have difficulty”, concludes Kate.
We hope now you understand why soft skills are important to have. The goal of getting it right is to constantly work on them either individually or at an organisational level.