Soft skills: understand why developing interpersonal skills is essential

Soft skills are no longer a differentiator but essential for professionals at any stage of their career.

One LinkedIn search revealed that 80% of those interviewed believe that soft skills are increasingly important for the company's success.

The term in English refers to the human skills and behaviors that determine how we relate, communicate and work. 

Therefore, in this guide you will find the definition of soft skills, how they differ from hard skills, what to do to develop them and how iFood prioritizes them in its ecosystem. 

What are soft skills?

Firstly, soft skills are characteristics and competencies of human behavior that are related to interpersonal mental and emotional skills. 

Thus, they represent our ability to deal with problems and challenges, and are more important than any technical skill for the job market. 

Finally, the term soft skills encompasses several skills such as teamwork, time control, empathy and the ability to delegate tasks.  

Examples of soft skills:

Some examples are: emotional intelligence, focus, resilience, integrity, communication, adaptability, critical thinking, among others. 

Furthermore, the World Economic Forum listed, in the report The Future of Work (2020), ten soft skills that will be on the rise by 2025. Therefore, they are: 

  • Analytical thinking and innovation; 
  • Critical thinking and analysis; 
  • Creativity, originality and initiative; 
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility; 
  • Leadership and social influence; 
  • Emotional intelligence; 
  • Persuasion and negotiation; 
  • Solving complex problems; 
  • Proactivity to learn and learning strategies.

Soft skills and hard skills: what's the difference?

While soft skills are skills that connect to human behavior, hard skills relate to technical skills and specific knowledge in an area. 

This way, we can easily identify hard skills and they relate to professional training, such as technical and undergraduate courses, certificates, specialization and language skills. 

In general, one complements the other, with the soft ones being more important, in the sense that it is not enough for a professional to just have technical knowledge. 

Therefore, he needs to be able to relate and communicate with the team, change when necessary and deal with situations and moments of pressure at work. 

How important are soft skills?

The importance of soft skills lies in the fact that they determine how well a person is able to work or interact with others.  

Most human interactions require one or more soft skills at some level. Therefore, developing these skills can help with career development. 

It is these skills that will help a candidate when it comes to getting a job, negotiating a salary and even in group dynamics.   

For companies, these skills are essential because the job market is constantly changing, with increasing demands, complexity and diversity.

However, being aligned with these transformations requires the company to have professionals capable of adapting, communicating well, leading, innovating, presenting new ideas and delivering results. 

What are your main skills?

The main soft skills are: emotional intelligence, communication, decision making, integrity, determination, focus and balance, according to Bernard Marr, writer and business strategist. 

Emotional intelligence has to do with how well a person relates to others, how they can put themselves in someone else's shoes. 

Furthermore, it can be worked on through empathy and understanding.  

It is one of the most important skills when working with a team or leading a team, to understand the organizational culture and to deal with customers and colleagues. 

Another fundamental skill is communication. Knowing how to communicate clearly with superiors, colleagues and staff is essential for anyone in a work environment. 

A determined and focused professional will be essential in any business and position, as they will move the processes forward, avoiding procrastination and indecision. 

Integrity, in turn, makes people trustworthy, as they fulfill what they set out to do and assume their own mistakes, without outsourcing their responsibilities. 

Finally, determination, focus and balance are other required skills, as they make a professional who works well and hard but knows how to balance professional and personal life. 

What are the soft skills that are in demand in the job market?

According to the Forbes, The soft skills that are in demand in the job market are: effective communication, creative thinking, resilience, empathy, leadership and work ethics

Communication can be done in different ways and one of the most effective is active listening. way of listening carefully to what the other person is saying, without judgment or interruption. 

Listening to the demands of delivery partners, in face-to-face meetings marked by active listening, has been a priority for iFood.  

In 2021, the company was present in around 200 meetings and heard from more than 100 professional delivery leaders, whose demands were assimilated and understood. 

How do companies evaluate soft skills? 

Companies evaluate soft skills in different ways, depending on the professional's career stage, according to the careers and study website In practice.  

In candidates for a job vacancy, they are evaluated through questions asked during the interview. 

For apprentice positions, such as interns and trainees, group dynamics, case studies and panels are carried out to identify soft skills in these professionals. 

How to develop soft skills?

Developing soft skills is no longer a differential but a prerequisite in any position and area in which the professional seeks placement. 

Self-knowledge, aligning expectations with those of the desired position, knowing how to listen, seeking feedback, having discipline and patience, continually improving yourself are some of the ways. 

These practices apply to both candidates and job recruiters. 

How to develop soft skills in employees? 

Developing soft skills in employees requires some actions, techniques and tools that may take some time to be absorbed and understood, but it will be worth it. 

The recruitment website Gupy listed some measures to develop these skills. 
A first step can be to make employees aware of their importance for the development and progress of their career and work. 

Finally, offering training, strengthening organizational culture, prioritizing teamwork and demonstrating trust in employees are ways to develop soft skills.  

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