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developing effective soft skills to improve work-quality of fresh graduates

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RUNNING HEAD: Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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Developing Effective Soft Skills will Improve the Work-Quality of Fresh Graduates
Dicky Ramadan
1428743
IRKHS
Madam Zaharah Bt. Zainal Abidin
Section 48
International Islamic University of Malaysia
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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Work-quality of fresh graduates
In this modern era, employee’s ability to socialize or communicate in real work-setting
has taken the company’s concern despite focusing only on their hard skills. The benefit of having
soft skill with an excellent mixture of hard skill will be sought when fresh graduates apply to
work in real-setting (Majid, Liming, Tong & Raihana, 2012) . The interest towards the
importance of soft skill was seen due to the fact that the employer has set a higher expectation
among fresh graduates’ ability in which includes communication, problem-solving, selfmotivation, decision-making and time management skills.
Soft skills is considered as a median to be used by future employees in order to be adept
in social interaction and to improvise their career advancement (Williams, 2015; Majid et al,
2012). The consequence of possessing these abilities will leverage individual social skills to be
more positive by improving the standard of soft skills for the future employee. Soft skill is
needed by individuals to flourish in career and to socialize in day to day basis. For example,
fresh graduates usually encounter problems when working in a team or solving a problem. Thus,
it is believed that fresh graduates need to take consideration in improving their soft skills ability
before entering real work-setting.
Being able to work in a real work-setting is the ambition for most of the fresh graduates
nowadays. Yet, the complexity of business environment enforces company to develop a higher
requirement of recruitment criteria. Researchers found that graduated students encountered
issues regarding soft skill, especially communication skill, during their first job (Patacsil &
Tablatin, 2017). Soft skill is the most relevant factor for individual ability to survive or adapt to
the real-work setting environment.
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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As a result, the fresh graduate should be aware of the importance of developing
appropriate soft skill during university in which it offers advance benefit for their future. Another
purpose of the development of appropriate soft-skill for the student is to establish a dedicated
and loyal individual, to meet the requirement of attractive potential employee and to have a
proper blend of hard and soft skills.
The main purpose of this research is to give an insight for the fresh graduate on the
opportunity and importance of developing soft skills. In addition, this research aim is to reduce
the probability of unemployment due to lack of soft skill.
Work well with colleagues and produces a positive work attitude
Soft-skill serves individuals to work well with colleagues and produce a positive work
attitude. These aspects are expected to boost the productivity of employees and maintain the
harmonious atmosphere in the workplace. Communication skill is considered to be important
when employees wanted to deliver a perspicuous explanation towards colleague to avoid any
miscommunication. The importance of soft skills ability ought to be the concern of fresh
graduates as it helps them to communicate effectively with other people, especially during a
discussion, conversation or in a meeting.
In recent time, employers expect to generate fine and effective staff in their team (Majid,
et al, 2012). The major factor being expected for employees is to constitute effective speaking
skills and the ability to communicate appropriately in both orally and written; team works also
has a high contribution in team situations. Thus, it should be noted that most organization have
set communication skills highly standardized as for their recruitment criterion.
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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It is strongly believed that the organization has expected their goals and objectives to be
implemented not only by professional and technical skills only; whereby communication skills is
included to be a major factor. Other than that, employees will be expected to get involved in
leadership, decision-making activities and conflict management.
As defined by Sailah (2008),
Each of individual constitute a unique characteristic regarding soft skills. This is due to
diversities in cognitive, speaking, acting and taking certain attitude in different settings.
All these factors can be enhanced as the individual adapt and adjust in adversities
circumstances and perceive it as character(pg. 119).
Human is a unique creature with different kinds of characteristic. In this case, fresh
graduates who have the willingness to learn and practice their soft skills can develop their ability
and characteristic. As the author mentioned ‘these characteristics can improve’ to emphasize that
every endeavour action with the intention to improve will receive the result in the future. Thus,
this can be useful when employees want to deliver a message to a fellow worker and avoid
miscommunication.
To illustrate, in the meeting, employees with good soft skills who wants to convey ideas
during the brainstorming session regarding the marketing strategy are usually able to organize in
a systematic manner to ease the audience understanding about the content although the content is
complex. In addition, when there is a critic of the idea, a professional employee recognize the
way how to solve and response to a fellow worker in an appropriate way.
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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Meet the requirement of attractive potential employee
The consequences of fresh graduates to possess these career traits are to meet the
requirement of attractive potential employee and be more committed, dedicated and productive
employees. It is believed that human resources hold an important role in organizational
performance as their key assets. As claimed by Wats and Wats (2009), this leads the company to
put trust on human resources to be able to hire, retain and promote employees who are
dependable, resourceful, ethical, having effective communication, self-directed, willing to work
and learn and having a positive attitude. Employers recruit new employees on the basis of
competencies in technical and nontechnical or soft skills. However, potential employees lack the
required composite soft skills relevant to the particular work setting.
Fresh graduates are expected to possess proper soft skills before entering work. Past
study has shown that soft skill is highly demanded because employers tend to produce desired
bounding competencies within the employee. Employees with a high level of soft skills have a
discipline-based knowledge and skills, adequate levels of soft skills are considered desirable for
moving forward in the career. As claimed by Mithcell, Skinner and White (2010) soft skill will
provide the fresh graduate with the ability to be able to meet the criteria required by employers.
This, it can be seen that human resources will respond with the performance of the employees.
Employees also have a tendency to communicate with company, clients or even other
stakeholders. In this case, the example that can be attained is the ability of employees to decide
the appropriate request or suggestion and understand when to stop an argument during the
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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negotiation or conversation. Information regarding the quality of employee dealing in certain
circumstances will be collected by talent management for further evaluation.
However, it turned out to be a fact that employers appreciated the value of soft skills and
the endeavour on how it can be attained. It is believed that well-trained employees can meet the
expectation of organization and develop Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). By any
means, this shows that employees assessment of OCB will be determined by the performance
and contribution towards the organization. As a fact, the assessment will assist human resources
to create a decision regarding promotion, bonus, training and development of their employees.
Apart from that, employees who constitute OCB benefit the organization through the
enhancement of productivity, efficiency, customer happiness, decrease costs and turnover and
absenteeism (Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff & Blume, 2009). Therefore, categorization will be
made by talent management during the selection process in the extent to be able to hire an
attractive employee.
A proper blend of hard and soft skills
Besides hard skills, due to globalization’s impact on workforces, employers are looking
for a proper blend of hard and soft skills. The studies have shown that fresh graduates often deal
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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with a barrier of communication skills with colleagues and clients. It shows that hard-skill is not
the only important aspect for professional growth alone.
According to Dewiyani (2015), Soft skills is derived from the sociology terms called EQ
(Emotional Intelligence Quotient) of a person, in which it consists of social life, communication,
verbal expression, habit, friendliness, and optimization. Meanwhile, hard skills can be defined as
IQ (Intelligence Quotient) that can be categorized as science mastering, technology and technical
skills. As claimed by Litecky, Arnett, & Prabhakar (2004) “Hard skills can be gained by the
means of training and education or conditioned depending on the desired job and specified to
each work setting” (p. 69).
Therefore, it can be perceived that hard skill is a fundamental basis for the development
of educational curriculum, future profiling of jobs and the technical functions that the industry
desire most. In fact, hard skill is the main factor that is required to be developed at first and
followed by soft skills. For example, the Information Technology (IT) department emphasize
that hard skill is more important than soft skills as the companies specified their criteria based on
the ability of hard skills. The term soft skills used interchangeably with nontechnical skill is
defined as the interpersonal, human, people or behavioural skills needed to apply technical skills
and knowledge in the workplace (Weber, Finely, Crawford, & Rivera, 2009,. p.2 cited in Ooi &
Ting, 2015). From the above citation, it can be understood that the idea of a proper blend of hard
and soft skills can produce a harmonious integrity of an individual who will enter the workforce.
The mixture of hard and soft skill is increasingly important (Radermacher, Walia & Knudson,
2014). It can be perceived as soft skills and hard skills have a different function. In addition, a
qualified employee can be defined as an individual who possesses and masters to not only in
technical skills but also develops a sense of humanities. The study conducted by Williams (2015)
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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indicated that improvement soft skills are required to have a high quality of future employees
who will enter workforce. Employers recognize soft skills as applicable employability skills.. In
fact, all fields of work require the balance of hard skills and soft skills.
Past study found out that students in Singapore has the awareness on the impact of
advance soft skills for their future career and employment although there are many students
assumed their soft skills has not considerably meet the standard of job requirement (Majid et al.,
2012). It indicates that the awareness on the importance of soft skills has taken into consideration
without further action among fresh graduates. The dynamics in the world of business enforce
fresh graduates to be well prepared concerning soft skills, as a guideline, in creating
opportunities in job finding (Skinner, Mithcell & White, 2010). Employers also provide
opportunities for fresh graduates to develop their soft skills during the work and evaluate the
endeavor to create decision on the advancement of their performance.
In a nutshell, the idea of developing soft skills such as communication skills, time
management, problem solving and decision making in the early stage is to prevent deflation of
unemployment among fresh graduates. In comparison, selection methods for employees have
evolved from the previous time. It can be seen through the development of job analysis that
consists of job description and specification. Employers tend to set soft skills as a high value in
order to maintain the equilibrium of their staff member.
In Islam soft skills are perceived as a gift that has been given by Allah to humans to
communicate the thoughts, feelings and ideas uniquely. It also creates a two-way communication
from the sender and receiver through the senses that leads to learn and interact with others.
Based on Hadith by Sunan Abi Dawud (“Rulings on As-salam (Islamic Greeting)”, 2013):
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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A man came to the Prophet and said: Peace be upon you! He responded to his
salutation. He then sat down. The Prophet said: Ten [rewards]. Another man came and
said: Peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you! He responded to his salutation when he sat
down. He said: Twenty. Another man came and said: Peace and Allah’s mercy and
blessings be upon you! He responded to him and said when he sat down: and blessings be
upon you! He responded to him and said when he sat down: Thirty.
According to the hadith, it can understood that greeting in Islam such as saying
‘Assalaamu alaykum’ (peace be upon you) is being recommended as it spreads love among
human in order to maintain harmony in society. Besides, the development of soft skills can be
attained by practicing the Islamic teachings in daily basis. The idea of implementing Islamic
teaching is to improve the individual’s confidence before entering the workforce. An individual
should be well-mannered in delivering a message to others and understand the current situation.
Yet, starting from a greeting and simple-communication training, the benefit of soft skills that
can be used in life is to communicate and be aware of individual’s differences.
References
Ooi, K.B. & Ting, S.H. (2015). Employers’ Emphasis on Technical Skills and Soft Skills in
Job Advertisements. The English Teacher, XLIV(1), 1-12. Retrieved from
https://journals.melta.org.my/index.php/tet/article/viewFile/214/115.
Dewiyani, M. S. (2015). Improving Students Soft Skills Using Thinking Process Profile Based
On Personality Types. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education
(IJERE), 4(3), 118. doi:10.11591/ijere.v4i3.4502
Nabulsi, M. R. (2013, March 20). Rulings on As-salam (Islamic Greeting). Retrieved from
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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http://www.muhammad-pbuh.com/en/?p=411
Hodges, D., & Burchell, N. (2003). Business graduate competencies: Employers' views on
importance and performance. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 4(2), 1622.
Litecky, C. R., Arnett, K. P., & Prabhakar, B. (2004). The paradox of soft skills versus
technical skills in is hiring. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 45(1), 6976. Retrieved from EBSCOhost Business Source Complete (Accession No:
16997615)
Majid S., Liming Z., Tong S. & Raihana S. (2012). Important of Soft Skills for Education and
Career Success. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education
(IJCDSE), Special Issue Volume 2 Issue 2, 2012
Mitchell, G. W., Skinner, L. B., & White, B. J. (2010). Essential soft skills for success in the
twenty- first century workforce as perceived by business educators. Delta Pi Epsilon
Journal, 52(1), 43-53.
Patacsil, F., & Tablatin, C. L. (2017). Exploring the importance of soft and hard skills as
perceived by IT internship students and industry: A gap analysis. Journal of Technology
and Science Education,7(3), 347. doi:10.3926/jotse.271
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Paine, J. B., & Bachrach, D. G. (2000). Organizational
citizenship behaviors: A critical review of the theoretical and empirical literature and
suggestions for future research. Journal of Management, 26(3), 513-563. doi:
10.1177/014920630002600307
Radermacher, A., Walia, G., & Knudson, D. (2014). Investigating the skill gap between
Soft-skills will improve work-quality
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graduating students and industry expectations. In Companion Proceedings of the 36th
international conference on software engineering (pp. 291-300). ACM.
https://doi.org/10.1145/2591062.2591159.
Sailah (2008). “Soft Skills Development of Higher Education”, Jakarta: Working Team Soft
Skills Development, Directorate General of Higher Education, 2008.
Weber, M. R., Finely, D. A., Crawford, A., & Rivera, D. J. (2009). An exploratory study
identifying soft skill competencies in entry-level managers. Tourism and Hospitality
Research, 9(4), 353-361.
Williams A.C. (2015). Soft Skills Perceived by Students and Employers as Relevant
Employability Skills. Walden University. Retrieved October 13, 2018, from
http://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?
article=2426&context=dissertations
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