Often, skill is an easier type of diversity for people to understand, as it’s usually fairly clear that organizations need a variety of skills to accomplish their objectives. We’ve already talked about diversity of skills as they pertain to levels of experience, but that’s more about hard skills. Here, we want to talk about soft skills. Quick refresher:
Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in this day and age. In fact, in the New York Times bestselling book A Whole New Mind, author Daniel H. Pink codifies the transition of our economy, from an agricultural age to an industrial age to an information age, and now into a conceptual age.
Pink argues, very convincingly, that the information age is drawing to a close, and we know this because:
- We have abundance caused by affluence
- We have automation caused by technology
- We have outsourcing (to Asia) caused by globalization
In this new, conceptual age, the skills that matter most are the ones that differentiate our organizations. And the things that differentiate are not hard skills — we’re seeing those skills outsourced or automated. It’s the soft skills that make the difference.The things that differentiate are not hard skills — we’re seeing those skills outsourced or automated. It’s the soft skills that make the difference.Click To Tweet
However, soft skills are too often ignored. They’re less visible and less quantifiable — at least to the untrained eye. But soft skills inform the majority of our behaviors; as noted above, soft skills are all about how you act.
Here are the soft skills managers reported they’d like to see in new college grads (and the percentage of respondents who say each skill is lacking in that group):
It can be said that hard skills are the physical cogs that power our organizations, and soft skills are the oil that allows the engine to run smoothly. What happens when you try to run a car without oil? The same thing that happens when you try to run an organization that’s short on soft skills: friction, heat and eventually, fire.
As you’re doing your diversity planning, consider what types of diverse soft skills are needed in each role and each department for you to have a well-oiled machine that works without friction and can provide optimal output.
Interested in a further deep-dive on diversity? There’s a lot more info in the ebook—grab a copy today!
Tell Us What You Think
What types of diversity does your organization strive for? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.