The current skills shortages that tech employers are experiencing have led to an unprecedented high demand for tech specialists. However, in order to lead the digital transformation that our society both needs and expects, decision makers need to cast their net wider and include specialists with so-called ‘soft skills’ in their hiring strategy. We take a look at what these soft skill roles are and why they’re so important.
In the same way that ‘team roles’, or a variety of differing skills and personality types benefit organisations by bringing to the fore people’s strengths, the most successful teams encapsulate a range of different abilities – and not just necessarily core tech skills.
Psychologists suggest that there are multiple team roles – visionaries, strategists, communicators, analysts, administrators, do-ers, innovators, leaders, team players, researchers, experts, planners, creatives, and communicators – to name but a few. And in the most effective teams it’s not simply the case of having someone who covers each of these roles individually, but ensuring that the roles are covered – a single person may embody two or more of these roles – that leads to the most success.
To achieve a successful digital transformation, therefore, tech decision makers must adapt their thinking along similar lines. With technology driving change in almost every area of our lives, and expected to make even more fundamental and radical changes in the future, it’s not enough just to have a surfeit of software developers, systems analysts or IT managers.
What other skills should tech decision makers be looking for?
Responsible for the User Experience of any form of technology that users interact with, UX Designers help developers understand how a product (whether that’s social media or a job board, a supermarket’s online shopping app or even a rail ticketing machine) looks and feels as well as its interactivity for the end user. Chatbots, for example, need to reflect the ‘tone’ of the organisation – if it needs to be casual and friendly or more formal – while Sat Navs need to be both clear and authoritative, while maintaining user confidence. Accessibility also needs to be factored in – whether an end product can be accessed by people with disabilities who have many different requirements. UX Designers are involved with every stage of a product’s development, from research to information architecture, from wireframing to testing, and their input varies from understanding the psychology of consumer decisions to design, from data analysis to creating prototypes. It’s a vital role but one whose importance can’t be overstated.
A varied role, depending on the nature of the organisation, an account manager’s main function is to manage and nurture existing clients as well as proactively look for growth opportunities with new clients. Account managers play a pivotal role in liaising between an organisation’s technical department and its end clients, demonstrating how a product can benefit them and feeding back any comments or technical issues. An understanding of the industry is of the utmost importance, as is the quality of being excited by it, but account managers must also have excellent interpersonal skills, be organised, confident of problem-solving and be able to communicate what is often intangible.
Tech startups clearly need talented code writers but they also require more traditional writing skills to craft narratives around the digital experiences which are being produced. These ‘storytellers’ shape the content of every part of an organisation, from inter-departmental communication to the tone of chatbots, from developing a product’s name to creating advertisements for it, from website content to a social media persona. Part of a writer’s job will be to include SEO into their work, in order to generate hits during searches. A writer’s main function is to bridge the gap between the technical and the user experience, explaining how it can benefit the user, in the simplest and most enticing language possible.
In order to achieve a successful digital transformation tech startups don’t need to think ‘out of the box’ they need to create their own, all-encompassing and ever-expanding box. The ability to produce a stunning digital experience requires more than technical skills and calls for a diverse and creative collaborative effort that utilises a wide range of talents.
If you’re looking to make the right hire for your business, whilst minimising risk and maximising effectiveness, get in touch with JIE Search.