Why are Millennials Falling Behind in Soft Skills, And What Can They Do About It


If you are reading this post, chances are you are not in a job that can be easily replaced by artificial intelligence or any robotic equipment. Apart from some repetitive tasks, most other professions require a healthy balance of hard and soft skills. Skills like creative thinking, communication abilities, ethics, social awareness, adaptability, etc. have become increasingly crucial in modern offices.

Why millennials lack soft skills: Identifying the problem

However, being grown up in this super-advanced technology age, millennials are more comfortable interacting with gadgets and devices than a real human. Mostly they are talented engineers, coders, designers, and data analysts, and get placed in positions that ask for a high level of knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. While having a great deal of proficiency in the core subjects is absolutely vital, our millennials often fall short in soft skills, and that’s something preventing many of them from achieving their career goals what they rightfully deserve.

A recent global study on employment opportunities revealed that around 40 percent of human resource managers having a hard time filling their vacancies because millennials are less able to adapt to a new office, and they are mostly not very good as part of a team than delivering individually. They further lack effective communication, collaboration, and leadership skills when it comes to exchanging ideas and thinking with colleagues and clients and taking charge of a vital situation. Therefore they can’t perform well as team members and often fail as leaders.

In technology and IT-related industries, management doesn’t give much importance in developing soft skills since having technically skilled matters there most. However, when looked at the industry data closely, it shows that those who are having a better human skill, stay a step ahead in their job than the others.

The modern-day education system apparently failed to address this critical issue. It emphasizes more on science, math, computer, and other hard skills and spends less on teaching students how to communicate with other people effectively and how to look and think problems from a human perspective.

Furthermore, it seems that the technological strength the younger generation possesses actually counteracts in this case and prevents them from learning soft skills. For example, when they are on the computer or phone, they are merely behind screens that don’t require them to have in-person communications.

The messaging applications replaced real-life human interaction, and now the younger generation doesn’t feel the need for establishing an emotional correction to others. Today it has been a lot easier to connect others through various messaging and social media applications, but building a personal and quality relation has become harder since there is less face to face or human to human conversations.

Today we are going to have a more in-depth look at this problem and see how millennials can develop soft skills in order to progress in workplaces and their overall career.

What can millennials do about their soft skill deficiency?

Regardless fresh out of university or boasted with years of job experience, millennials typically come with a wide range of sound technical skills in various fields, from data analysis to customer service. Despite that, they are taught to believe that they need to improve on their hard skills more when they actually need to work on their soft skills, specifically communication ability and the social responsibility part of the businesses.

So, how millennials can boost their soft skills and what roles employers need to play to build the future of their companies? We can start with the following points –

Employer’s role

Human resource managers should do their part by helping new recruits to focus on developing their communication skills, and other related soft skills from the very starting. Young workers need to work on their ability to work as productive team members, to share ideas with fellow workers, to demonstrate problems and their solutions, and to give valuable inputs to clients and higher management.

Many employers already realized it, and companies all over the world are now assigning an in-job mentor or career manager to every entry-level staff as part of their training system. These career managers sit down with these newly hired youngsters from time to time and talk to find out in which areas they need help. They typically mentor the recruits to overcome issues with verbal and written communications, building social engagement skills, being motivated, learning professional etiquette, and business ethics. Such mentoring will offer budding professionals a unique opportunity of learning from a more skilled and experienced person who probably represents the previous generation in a friendly and relaxed environment.

Set your own goal

If you are one of the tech-savvy millennials, you can start by setting your own expectations about improving your ability to communicate better with others. One can start by trying to write their ideas and critical thinking precisely and giving a speech based on that. Your ability to explain complex concepts more straightforwardly with enough clarity in order to get the audience connected with your ideas emotionally will make you stand out among the employees.

Know your audience

Millennials usually communicate within their closed circle and through various gadgets like smartphones and computers. They need to come out from their closed groups and learn to consider different perspectives of a vast array of different audience types. A lot of young professionals just write or speak in their own way and hope people will understand. These millennials should focus on the type of audience they are writing or talking to and re-arrange their content based on the same.

Be comfortable in a multicultural and multilingual workplace: Millennials should be aware that they are not going to work with a handful of people only in most modern-day workplaces. In fact, many professions now demand collaborations between a vast array of people and teams across languages, cultures, and borders. Hence, millennials who are expecting to join a company in the near future need to figure out how to build professional relations within a large group of people coming from various backgrounds.

Ask for more frequent feedback from your employer: A lot of organizations still follow the yearly evaluation system, which is quite dated and inefficient. It will be beneficial for both the employer and the millennial recruits if the feedback comes more often, preferably in real-time.

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