Farewell, soft skills. Hello Power Skills – Human Resources

The relevance of Behavioral Competencies has grown over the past two years and will continue in the future. Ana Marisa Pardal, Training Manager at SHL Portugal, reflects on the importance of “power skills” for organisations.

By Marisa Pardal, Training Manager at SHL Portugal

A few days ago, I shared with my colleague Maria João, from our Business Development department, the fact that I have never liked the expression “soft skills”, used to designate the behavioral skills important for the world of work. This designation tends to oppose “hard skills”, which refer to technical skills, traditionally more valued.

Currently, it is consensus that not only “technical skills”, but also “soft skills”, are important for effective performance. We certainly appreciate these skills when we think about the type of people we want in our team/organization, when we say that it is important, for example, to be people who know how to work in a team, who respect others, who are flexible and able to manage their emotions.

Indeed, if we think of skills such as collaboration, communication, emotional intelligence and leadership, we see how transversal and critical they are in fields as different as finance, administration, sales or marketing. Thus, it makes no sense to call them “soft skills”, as if they were secondary or less relevant skills. And why “energy skills”? Because these skills “empower” people, making them better able to collaborate, communicate effectively and lead. Having strong leadership skills means, among other things, being able to drive change, implement strategies, motivate teams and foster engagement.

While ‘power skills’ have always been relevant, their importance now becomes more urgent, given the rapid pace of change we are undergoing and the impact this is having on us and our ability to continue to respond to this which is asked of us. A recent study (Udemy, 2022) indicates that nine out of ten managers believe that there are gaps in the behavioral skills of their employees/organizations or anticipate that they will soon exist.

These data are consistent with the requests we have had from our clients, in the sense of designing training actions oriented towards powerful skills such as emotional intelligence, innovation, collaboration and networking. Academia SHL Portugal’s “Magic Tools for Power Skills” offer fits into this context, focusing on highly practical and interactive sessions for the development of work-critical behavioral skills.

In fact, there is nothing “soft” about behavioral skills. Organizations that promote this investment in their people will undoubtedly be better prepared for current and future challenges.

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