With the rise of digital technologies, technical skills have become more important than ever. It’s not only computer programmers that need to be up to speed with the latest developments either. Jobs that have been in existence for decades or more have been modernised to incorporate the internet and new digital tools.
For businesses, this creates a new challenge, particularly concerning the hiring of staff. How much emphasis should you place on these technical skills and what role do people skills play in the modern organisation? For any successful business, or job candidate, it is important to remember that both technical and people skills remain equally important to success.
Because customers demand it
Although this may change in the not-too-distant future, customers would still much rather interact with a real human being than have their problems solved by a faceless piece of software. In terms of direct customer support, therefore, hiring individuals with good people skills remains vital. Having the right tone and patience can be the difference between getting a customer to stay with your business or jumping ship to a competitor.
Of course, businesses still need to innovate in order to progress. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is proving hugely useful by enabling staff to gain an overview of all their previous interactions with customers and identify any trends. The important thing is to use the data and insight created by tools like this to enable your staff to deliver a better service. The digital should always complement the human.
The importance of great management
Being able to manage people effectively is vitally important in any field. Managers get the most out of their staff by motivating them and channelling their energies into the right areas. In the world of music, managers can prove almost as important as the artists they represent. The likes of Troy Carter and Coran Capshaw have taken Lady Gaga and the Dave Matthews Band respectively to the pinnacle of their genres. Sporting managers, like Alex Ferguson and Don Shula, have left legacies that will go down in history.
Successful managers like those mentioned above certainly do not shy away from technology, embracing data to help with on-field issues or investing in the latest recording equipment to get their sound just right. However, they also use personality and persuasion to coax that little bit extra out of their colleagues. Whether you’re running a small business or a multi-platinum rock band, it’s important to remember this.
When it comes to connecting with clients and partners, people skills are also crucial. A potential partner may be attracted to your company because of the digital services that you provide, or the technology that you have at your disposal, but getting this partnership to work well over a long period of time requires great soft skills.
Communication, trust, conflict resolution, creativity, the ability to negotiate and many other skills are important today and will remain so for years to come. No matter what technical developments are on the horizon, customers, colleagues and clients will continue to value people skills in business and life generally.