Tuesday, September 3, 2013
When many employers are asked what they feel is most lacking from their recently hired employees, the most common answers fall into what are generally considered soft skills. “Soft skills” refer to how you interact with other people while “hard skills,” are the nuts and bolts of actually performing your job. Together with work ethics, I refer to these soft skills as essential skills because they are essential to most types of work. Nowhere is this more true than in an industry that deals with the public on a daily basis, such as HVACR. I have known technicians who lost jobs because of their lack of these essential skills. You can readily see the effect of essential skills in fast food restaurants. While most servers now say something to the effect of “thank you, have a nice day”, that is not always the meaning that is conveyed. The tone of voice and flat delivery sometimes convey the message “god I hate this job, please go away.” Since I have no desire to torture anyone by purchasing something from them, I find somewhere else to go. Why should they care? If enough people are made uncomfortable by the greeting, the company can lose enough business that employees will lose their jobs. In HVACR, customers need to trust you with much larger decisions than what to have for lunch. They want someone who is professional in appearance, attitude, and behavior. They really want to trust you because they want their problem solved. But if you convey the message that their troubles are a nuisance to you, they will feel uneasy asking for or accepting advice from you. As a service tech you might feel that you work on machines, and you do; but you work FOR the customer. The condensing unit is not going to write you a check. So make sure and make time to listen to and communicate with the person writing the check. After all, getting paid is a pretty essential skill.