Soft Skills and Hard Skills – Finding the Perfect Mix
In various industries (the hospitality industry included) holding a degree is viewed as a route to ensuring one’s progression. For example, in countries such as Singapore, having a degree is often seen as a basic requirement for a candidate to be considered for a managerial role (Jerene Ang, Human Resources Online). However, the trick to being a great hotel manager does not solely come from having your name printed on a certificate. The ability to combine the soft skills with the hard is what makes a great all round manager. By this, we mean things such as, being able to emphasise with guests and staff, while at the same time being pragmatic and thorough in financial aspects of the hotel. But how can these skills be developed?
Soft skills are not simply about saying ‘hello’ to guests and staff members (though greeting guests is a part of it), they’re more so about effective interactions and empathy. CTH units such as the Customer Relationship Management in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Level 5) and Management and Leadership Across Cultures (Level 7) are aimed at developing an understanding of these soft skills. By learning about different issues across cultures, hotel staff become able to deal with a diverse range of clientele. Also, understanding how to manage guests can help when working for hotels who may have complex loyalty scheme programmes. These soft skills are important in the industry. Jeroen Greven (Korea Herald) says ‘The notion of hospitality has changed immensely throughout the years’, therefore; developing an education with courses that can allow a learner to cope with the changing expectations in the hospitality industry is essential when aiming to progress.
Hard skills on the other hand are more so about tangible skills; we're talking about being able to use different software, calculate finances and develop strategies. Developing these skills are important when trying to advance your role. In fact, understanding these different skills gives a learner a more holistic understanding of the running of a hotel and therefore always them to adapt to a senior position. CTH units such as, Finance in Tourism and Hospitality (Level 4) and Quality Management for Hospitality & Tourism (Level 6) help learners to develop their managerial decision making. Dilip Puri (Business World) in reference to hospitality education in India expressed the need for curriculum's to 'create the spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation'. The units mentioned allow learners to recognise costing practices and make decisions on performance indicators. These skills both meet the point made by Dilip Puri and help learners acknowledge the key factors in the running of a hotel.
Developing the correct balance of soft and hard skills is something that is key in meeting the expectations of a great manager. These skills allow a manager to be empathetic but at the same time practical. CTH does however acknowledge the importance of a degree; it is something that cannot be underestimated and is valued worldwide. That is why our University Pathways are so important to learners in their pursuit to achieve their desired careers.