Today’s workplace changes rapidly. The technology we use and the skills we need are constantly evolving, which creates challenges for HR and Payroll professionals. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact set of skills new employees need to succeed in the modern economy, but HR and Payroll professionals can focus on a person’s analytical problem solving, technological adaptability, and soft skills to meet most tasks. Let’s dive into each to see how they help diminish the skills gap.
1. Soft Skills
Soft skills, as defined by the Society for Human Resources Management, are skills “needed to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize – [these] are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.”
Because Human Resources focus on person-to-person interaction, these skills are highly coveted among candidates. But the soft skills gap is highly noticeable in recent college graduates due to their preference to interact with technology over people.
Of course, not all millennial workers lack interpersonal skills, but highlighting communication, a respect towards criticism, and the ability to collaborate should rank highly in your desired soft skill set. As hard skills involving technology evolve, soft skills will become more important as the demands and complexities of the workforce continue to grow.
2. Analytical problem solving
The ability to develop strong interpersonal skills is critical in the HR industry, but perhaps just as important is an individual’s willingness to solve problems. Employers value candidates who can effectively analyze new data and new technology and figure out how to make it successful for their business.
Because technological advancements are constantly altering the ways we work, it’s crucial to develop strong problem-solving skills in order to diminish the skills gap new technology creates. Place an emphasis on “figuring things out,” but make sure you give ample time and resources in order for new and current employees to succeed.
3. Technological adaptability
Technological skill goes hand-in-hand with the ability to solve complex problems. Human resource departments should place a high value on candidates who are comfortable with the most current technology. Perhaps more importantly, your company should value candidates who are excited about new trends and upcoming changes.
Regardless of the technological tools your business uses, there are bound to be updates on the horizon and with those updates you’ll want someone comfortable navigating new changes. Even for traditionally creative roles, it may be more effective in the long run to hire candidates with high technical abilities. For example, creativity and strong communication skills are critical to the success of a marketer, but the ability to manage social media accounts, analyze large sums of data, and create enticing email campaigns may be more important due to the emphasis on a strong digital presence.
A strong mix of the soft skills, problem solving, and technological awareness will help to reduce the impact of the skill gap phenomenon, but it won’t be enough to eliminate it. Your company can combat it by placing a value on continued learning and implementing a structure that rewards those employees. The economy and workforce will continue to evolve, but employers who know what to look for in emerging candidates will come out with a competitive advantage.