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Статьи журнала АИ #13 (143)
Soft skills formation as a factor in employees’ cohesion

Soft skills formation as a factor in employees’ cohesion

Автор(-ы):

Nersesyan Susanna Perzantovna

Prokopenko Yulia Aleksandrovna

25 марта 2023

Научный руководитель

Prokopenko Yulia Aleksandrovna

Секция

Психология

Ключевые слова

soft skills
hard skills
group cohesion
group
labor market

Аннотация статьи

This article highlights the importance of building agile skills in an organization and how they affect organizational outcomes. The role of agile skills in today's competitive world. A productive and healthy working environment is critically dependent on interpersonal skills. After all, the workplace is an interpersonal space in which relationships must be encouraged and fostered, points of view must be exchanged, and occasionally conflicts must be resolved.

Текст статьи

The modern labor market high demands on specialists. This is due to the changes taking place in various sectors of the economy and the introduction of professional standards, according to which employees must have a wide range of competencies. «In our time, mental flexibility is just as important as joint flexibility». These include “hard skills”, which include competencies determined by the specifics of professional tasks, and “soft skills”, which include over-professional skills and personal qualities. According to A.G. Nagornaya, soft skills include “skills that aid to solve various problems and work with other people, influencing the professional development of a person, career development, self-realization in modern labor market conditions”.

In Russian practice, the role of the socio-psychological climate is essential. The urgency of this problem is connected, first of all, with the increased requirements for the level of psychological involvement of the employees in the workplace and the complication of the mental activity of people, the constant growth of one's personal claims. The socially contact part of any organization is a complex system, of components, expressed primarily in the formation of the socio-psychological climate of the team. The effective performance of labor functions depends not only on the fulfillment of organizational and production conditions, but also on interpersonal relationships that have a significant impact on the well-being and results of a person’s work. Turning to the psychological climate, it must be taken into account that we take into the consideration a relatively stable system of relations that has developed over a certain period of time and has the possibility of change and development [1, p. 23].

Soft skills, have always existed, but previously they had no exact name. Research in this area began in the United States in the 1960s, and in the business environment itself, this term appeared in the late 90s. Currently, 68.5% of HR professionals see the need for soft skills testing when hiring.

«Studies of the last decade show that for a young specialist, not only professional competencies are valuable, but also additional knowledge and skills, the development of which, as a rule, is purposefully only partly included in the curricula of universities» [4, p. 53]. «Thinking flexibility is a measure of a person's ability to offer a variety of ideas, to approach a problem from different angles, and to use different solution strategies». Guilford D. [6, p. 47]

Recent labor market surveys show that employers' interest in “soft skills” is increasing, with 93% of entrepreneurs from 16 European countries considering them as important as professional knowledge and skills. This is due to a change in the economy itself – an industrial society is increasingly focused on services and information technology.

In recent years, a social order has been, formed by employers, for specialists who are able to make independent decisions, be responsible for the results and consequences of their actions arrange work in a team, which contextually reflects soft skills. In this regard, the purpose of this article, is to determine the skills and abilities that make up the soft skills of a future specialist in the social sphere [3, p. 99].

Flexible skills are a set of general skills closely related to personal qualities; somehow important in any profession. Skills of critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, business communication, teamwork, digital communication, organization of activities are considered flexible, which are also influenced by the level of leadership qualities, knowledge of work ethics, discipline, and a sense of responsibility.

At the present time, there are four main soft skills of the future: creativity (the term “creativity” was first used in 1922 by D. Simpson. With this concept, he designated “the ability of a person to abandon stereotypical ways of thinking”), communication (it was first formulated by T. Gordon. He defined communicative competence as “the ability to get out of any situation without losing inner freedom, and at the same time, not allowing the communication partner to lose it” [6, p. 13]) сooperativeness, criticality.

It is believed that soft skills are increasing in demand in the context of technological progress and a dynamically changing business environment. In particular, the participants of the World Economic Forum, as well as the Gaidar Forum, noted that the transformation of education in the context of the technological revolution leads to an enhancement in the need for soft skills, and the US OECD Business Education Association defines soft skills as a critical factor in employment in today's labor market [4, p. 17]. «Thinking flexibility is manifested in the expedient variation of ways of action, in the ease of rearrangement of existing knowledge and the transition from one action to another» Menchinskaya N. [4, p. 21].

Economist A. Belousov considers the «development of flexible skills to be one of the trends that will soon determine the country's personnel police». Philosopher P. [6, p. 20]. Shchedrovitsky also notes the growing role of transversal competencies, i.e. the ability to see the bigger picture, identify patterns in complex objects, competently establish a dialogue and engage in teamwork.

Team cohesion is an indicator of strength, stability and teamwork, based on strong interpersonal relationships between people, which are characterized by mutual comprehensive sympathy of group members and satisfaction with membership in it. The development and formation of a cohesive team of any team is characterized by the similarity of its members' ideas, about the current standards, rules, requirements and the result of work expected from the group.

Group cohesion is one of the processes of group dynamics that characterizes the degree of commitment to the group of its members. It is the cohesion of the group that ensures its development as a team. The degree of group cohesion represents the level of development of the group, its proximity to the collective level.

As A. Duckworth said, “True mastery is born from a dozen disparate skills and habits that form into a single whole only after many years of practice. At the same time, it is absolutely not necessary to do something outstanding every day, the main thing is to develop a daily routine and consistently adhere to it” [4, p. 51].

Factors affecting group cohesion in an organization. In order to improve the work of employees in the organization, many factors should be taken into account. For example, in order to eliminate feelings of frustration among group members, it is necessary to take into account the needs of individuals and ensure that a high level of identification in the group and group cohesion is maintained. The level of group cohesion is significantly influenced by a large number of factors [6, p. 36].

Among the so-called internal factors, the team cohesion is most influenced by those factors that are associated with group membership, i.e. with the conditions for the inclusion of an individual in a group: the size of the group (as a rule, small groups have more opportunities to create a cohesive team), the stability of group members, psychological compatibility and, most importantly, the identification of each a member of a group with a group, a highly developed sense of belonging to a group.

In addition to internal factors, there are, external factors that affect the level of cohesion, of which the working environment of the group should be considered the most significant, i.e. the type and complexity of the objectives, which are presented in the form of tasks to be solved, the physical component of the group (working conditions, place of work, spatial differentiation of group members, etc.), communication, network in the group and technology.

An important characteristic of the effective work, of the group is the spirit of cooperation, which unites the members of the group in such a way that they work together as a team, strengthening the interaction between the members of the group. “This can be achieved on the basis of faith in the effectiveness and usefulness of the group's efforts and actions; a sense of community in the group; acceptance of group values and standards; a sense of trust and security; participation of all group members in the development of group decisions; free exchange of information; open expression of feelings, passions and preferences; conflict resolution by all group members; low level of absenteeism, managerial mistakes, refusals from work, denial of manifestations of activity” [5, p. 55].

Soft skills sometimes refer to acquired or personal skills. Based on this definition, it follows that these are skills that are less specialized, less specific to the job and more consistent with the general character and personality of the candidate.

Flexible skills are related to our attitude to reality and intuition. Due to the fact that soft skills are less specialized and more personality oriented, it is important to remember to understand what an individual's soft skills are and how they can be demonstrated to an employer when applying for a job.

This is extremely, important for young professionals and students who are applying for a job, for the first time and basically have practically no experience and acquired difficult skills, so managers pay great attention to the personal characteristics of a job candidate.

Soft skills are important not only when interacting, with external clients and partners. They are just as important when it comes to interacting with colleagues. Employers value interpersonal skills because they allow employees to work effectively in teams [6, p. 23].

A productive and healthy work environment critically, depends on interpersonal communication skills. After all, the workplace is an interpersonal space in which it is necessary to encourage relationships, exchange points of view and sometimes resolve conflicts.

Despite the fact that it is more, difficult to master flexible skills than knowledge, they can certainly be improved by practice. Improving your interpersonal communication skills may not be easy because it requires a lot of introspection, which may not be easy if you haven't done it before.

If we want to improve our interpersonal skills, or we have skills that we need to develop to work in a certain role, here are some tips:

  • Constantly engage in introspection. In order to improve, a person must first partially identify where one's shortcomings lie. It is not always easy.
  • Get the right training. Once you have identified areas that need improvement, you need to look for a few online courses that will help you develop skills that will be useful in the workplace. 
  • Observe others. Look at other people who demonstrate the skills you wish to improve. If you know them, ask for advice or guidance.
  • Practice. All soft skills will be improved by practice. After receiving training or mentoring, practice using the newly acquired skills before the interview. This will give you confidence to apply these skills in the workplace.
  • The team will work effectively only if its members have a positive attitude towards each other. Employees in this case should try to find compromises in solving complex problems and follow the rules adopted in this community.

In terms of its results, teamwork far exceeds even the most active total activity of employees working individually. However, to achieve this, it is necessary to organize the team competently and pay special attention to the internal atmosphere.

Creating a cohesive team is one of the primary tasks of the management, of any organization. Such cohesion with a unified approach to the work process will serve as the basis for building effective activities. It implies both the correct motivation of employees with the formation of a reward system, and the introduction of special personnel management techniques [2, p. 77]. «There is a correlation between mental flexibility and the ability to judge things objectively» Cutler G. [6, p. 34].

“Flexible skills are especially important in project and scientific work. Flexible skills (as well as ingenuity and adaptability) are Russia's competitive advantages in the global economy of the future. Now there are conditions for their full use.” S. Nemov [4, p. 31].

The ultimate goal of team building is to create relationships between employees that contribute to the maximum productivity of teamwork. An important factor is the psychological atmosphere and social mood within any team. A high level of mutual respect and trust between superiors and subordinates also serves as the basis for organizing teamwork. A cohesive team ensures overall efficiency. Thus, we conclude that soft skills are just as important as professional skills. Nowadays, a specialist must have both skills in order to be in demand in the labor market and to be competitive. Soft skills can be both innate and acquired, and now there are many opportunities to cultivate them in yourself.

In the life of any organization, the cohesion of the team plays the most important role, since the success of the organization and its development depend on it. A close-knit team will be much more useful, because it works as a unit. «A friendly team is the key to the prosperity of both a small company and a huge company» [1, p. 36]. In organizations, there are often problems in building corporate cohesion among employees, especially between different departments.

Список литературы

  1. Bortnik, E. Upravlenie svyazyami s obshchestvennost'yu / E.Bortnik, E. Korotkov. – M.: ID FBK-PRESS, 2006. – 462 s. (In Russian).
  2. Ivancevich Dzh. M., Lobanov A. A. CHelovecheskie resursy upravleniya. – M., 2007.304 s. (In Russian).
  3. Miheeva, G. A. Formirovanie sistemy mezhlichnostnyh otnoshenij studentov / G. A. Miheeva // Izv. Ros. gos. ped. un-ta im. A. I. Gercena. Aspirantskie tetradi. – 2008. - № 30(67). – S. 404–409. (In Russian).
  4. Stepanova, L. N. Soft skills kak prediktory zhiznennogo samoosushchestvleniya studentov / L. N. Stepanova, E. F. Zeer // Obrazovanie i nauka. – T. 21, № 8. – 2019. – S. 65–89. (In Russian).
  5. Tarasenko, M. L. O nekotoryh osobennostyah zatrudnennogo obshcheniya v studencheskoj srede / M. L. Tarasenko // Okruzhnaya nauch.-prakt. konf. «VI Znamenskie chteniya»: sb. tezisov. ‒ Surgut: RIO SurGPU, 2007. ‒ S. 66–67. 127. (In Russian).
  6. Uvarina, N. V. Professional'naya gibkost' kak «soft skills» pedagoga / N. V. Uvarina, A. V. Savchenkov // Sovremennaya vysshaya shkola: innovacionnyj aspekt. ‒ 2019. ‒ № 3(45). ‒ S. 27–35. (In Russian).

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Nersesyan S. P., Prokopenko Y. A. Soft skills formation as a factor in employees’ cohesion // Актуальные исследования. 2023. №13 (143). С. 104-107. URL: https://apni.ru/article/5891-soft-skills-formation-as-a-factor-in-employee

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