As organizations increasingly realize the relevance of soft skills, they are investing in training their workforce to enable the formulation of a lasting bond between customers and the brand.
By Kunal Vasudeva
The integration of soft skills in the hospitality industry is not new. Soft skills are intrinsic to the hotel industry, but they have always existed in a more tacit way. Acquiring soft skills in the customer-centric industry is almost non-negotiable for hospitality professionals as well as aspirants. Although they have always been considered a valuable set of skills, it is only now that we address their importance, how mastering soft skills is as mandatory as hard skills.
Consumer behavior is changing faster than ever in the new world, and the industry must catch up. This requires a stronger set of cognitive skills in professionals who can understand the mindset of consumers and provide them with a sense of calm, control, assurance and stability. As organizations increasingly realize the relevance of soft skills, they are investing in training their workforce to enable the formulation of a lasting bond between customers and the brand. Moreover, they are also changing their recruitment process to select candidates with people skills. The impact of these skills on an individual employee not only improves their performance, but also the overall performance of an organization.
Soft skills are essential for employees to keep pace with their organization, their customers, and their workflow. Initially, skills that facilitate critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, cultural engagement and work management were taken for granted on the job. Companies would devote a lot of resources to training employees and equipping them with the right set of soft skills to improve their performance, increase brand value and maximize monetary gains. Today, instead of spending money on training employees, companies are opting for selective hiring and investing the extra funds in technology so that routine work can be automated or outsourced to machines. In this way, companies can increase the quality of their service as well as the brand value.
Traditionally, companies assessed candidates on technical skills when recruiting. Hard skills relate to the technical know-how of things and are skills required to perform a job well. These skills generally require the acquisition of knowledge and are considered to be associated with an individual’s intelligence quotient. On the contrary, soft skills are associated with an individual’s emotional quotient and broadly include interpersonal, human, relational or behavioral skills. These were previously seen as subsidiary to hard skills for success in leadership positions. Over time, they have claimed a more formidable place in organizations as now organizations are looking for these skills in candidates even applying for entry-level jobs.
The importance of soft skills is recognized by industry leaders, who see the value of soft skills and say they are as crucial as hard skills. In fact, people in the hospitality industry make great leaders in any industry. To leave an imprint and create a privileged bond with consumers, brands are looking for candidates with unique human abilities, able to adapt to change, sensitive to culture, manage the escalation of disputes, manage conflict resolution and create a positive environment for both guests and colleagues.
The role of training institutes is essential here, which are also adapting by placing greater emphasis on soft skills. They help students develop crucial life skills such as analytical skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, adaptability, integrity, optimism, self-motivation and resilience. A recent industry forecast published by Deloitte Access Economics said that general skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 and that the number of jobs in skill-intensive occupations general should increase by 2.5 times the employment rate. in other professions. The study further added that 70% of all future job profiles in the non-technical field will consist of human-centric capabilities.
Hospitality institutions are also equipping industry aspirants with “Hospitality Intelligence”. This includes interpersonal skills such as emotional, social and cultural intelligence, as well as intrapersonal skills such as critical thinking, self-management, productivity, proactivity and engagement. These skills lay the foundation for strong brand loyalty and customer relationships. A mix of these skills will allow professionals to excel in the areas of relationship management, crisis management, information dissemination and quick decision making. Going forward, these skills, which will impact the future of work, are expected to grow in importance and application.
The author is co-founder and chief operating officer of the Indian School of Hospitality.