Hard Facts about Soft Skills
Melissa Prusher – VP of global marketing for Avaap
With intimate knowledge of the inner workings of technology consulting teams, there’s no arguing that hard skills are required for the job. From intensive bootcamps and hands-on application training to securing a range of competency certifications, there’s a lot of pressure on healthcare IT consultants to acquire hard skills for career advancement.
Technical ability and subject matter knowledge are important to hiring firms and their clients, but interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, attitude, and social and emotional intelligence also matter. According to the National Soft Skills Association, 85 percent of job success is related to soft skills.
So, whether you’re on the hiring side or staffing a project, consider the following attributes when assembling a team:
Personality – Charismatic team members can create an enjoyable work environment for others but what’s most important isn’t the ability to light up a room; it’s knowing how to get along with others. Reaching a successful go-live requires lots of communication and coordination, so those able to articulate ideas, build trust, and react with a level head when the pressure is on make for good teammates.
Work Ethic – Willingness to put your nose to the grindstone can show that you’re comfortable with performing minor tasks as well as doing the heavy lifting. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Americans put in more hours, on average, than workers of most industrial nations: 70 hours more than Japanese workers, 99 more than British laborers, and 424 more hours than Germans. Many in-demand consultants rack up impressive hours because they travel a lot or there are milestones to hit to achieve an on-time go-live. Consultants that succeed bring energy to their work and go above and beyond when necessary.
Positive Attitude – Mindset is influential and contagious, which is why we put a priority on passion. When individuals love what they do, it shows in the work. They are more likely to focus on goal achievement and inspire those around them.
Oral and Written Communication Skills –Most people think they’re great communicators, but according to the latest State of the American Workplace report, only 13% of employees believe their business leaders communicate effectively with the rest of the organization. Sharpening communication skills is important for leading projects, sharing status updates, communicating changes to requirements, potential risks and other project details. Communication style has direct correlation on how people are perceived, so it is critical to communicate confidently and in a transparent manner.
Listening Ability– A good consultant asks many questions, but the discipline of listening takes work. Active listening can reveal important considerations and provide the opportunity to connect. When you truly understand the perspective of others, you are most likely to reach productive solutions.
Leadership – Problem-solving will build your reputation as a resource and show how you navigate tough situations. Leaders who can leave their ego at the door and use the strengths of those around them create an environment where teamwork works.
Soft skills are necessary for all professionals to have. For those willing to put in the effort, soft skills can be learned and, when put in practice, benefited by all.
Melissa Prusher is vice president of global marketing for Avaap, a healthcare IT and management consulting firm strategically focused on EHR and ERP enterprise applications.