Senior industry experts from hospitals and health systems across the nation gathered in Austin, Texas, to share their latest tools and insights around the theme Build a Winning People Strategy. A phrase heard consistently during the two days of keynote presentations, panel discussions and collaborative roundtables was “select for power skills.”
Also known as “soft skills,” health care leaders have embraced the new term as it became more apparent that these are actually distinct, must-have talents, rather than nebulous, nice-to-have skills.
According to Talent Plus Fellow Larry Sternberg, “Power skills are the most important determinant in the success of a leader. Yet, they are notoriously difficult and time-consuming to teach. Organizations that find ways to assess candidates’ power skills will greatly increase their competitive advantage.”
What are Power Skills?
Indeed’s career guide refers to soft skills as “Personality traits and behaviors. Unlike technical, or ‘hard’ skills, soft skills are not about the knowledge you possess but rather behaviors you display in different situations.” The site lists some of the most sought-after soft skills:
- Effective communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Work ethic
Zip Recruiter also lists flexibility, ability to collaborate/work on a team, presentation skills, problem-solving skills, and a proactive approach to work as soft skills.
Data-Driven Science Proven with ROI
While hard skills are quantifiable and typically earned through education and certification, power skills are often referred to as transferrable and difficult to measure. While there are assessments and tools available to HR professionals that sift and rate candidates based on power skills, there are important questions to ask providers of these tools:
- Do they meet Department of Labor Uniform Guidelines?
- Are they scientifically validated?
- What are the validity coefficients?
- How predictive are they?
Power skills are innate behavioral traits and come hard-wired in all of us. For over 30 years, Talent Plus ® has been using science and research to discover the best in people and predict performance. Instead of a snapshot in time of an individual’s skills and competencies, the health care environment requires a predictive picture of the performance specific to a job-role — beyond hard skills. Health care leaders are building their Human Capital Balance Sheet ® and how they create a memorable and favorable experience for patients and their families. Talent acquisition leaders are responding to the exciting challenge of consistently delivering patient-centered care. In order to do that you must:
- Raise the level of talent
- Build a service-oriented culture and find candidates who fit
- Retain and grow the best of the best
- Develop managers and leaders
- Create, expand and implement a succession plan strategy
The Difference Between Surviving and Thriving
When talent assessments measuring power skills are used in the selection process, HR leaders can identify individuals who fit their unique culture, resulting in higher engagement and net promoter scores. Aligning recruitment process to a power skills perspective can help organizations identify individuals who will consistently keep the brand promise. Alignment to the mission and values of an organization always translates into better patient care. Internal and external selection processes need to support a talent pipeline providing strong, service-oriented leaders who can carry your mission forward.
—Niki McCabe attended the HR Healthcare Conference in Austin, Texas, June 2019. McCabe is a Senior Business Consultant at Talent Plus.