Business simulations are a great way to apply business theory and know-how to a realistic business setting and increase students' employability. But what about the other and equally important set of skills that employers look in their personnel, namely soft skills? Can they also be practiced by using simulation games?
In opposition to hard skills, which are competences than can be easily quantified (e.g., proficiency in a language or software, machine operation, computer programming, etc.), soft skills are “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge [and which] include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude” (Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition).
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management points out that soft skills are as important as hard skills to employers that are hiring for entry-level jobs. And even if these competences are traditionally associated with a person’s character, practice is key for improvement and business simulations can help students to strengthen their soft-skills competences and thus become more employable.
Credit: SHRM/Mercer Survey findings: Entry-level applicant job skills
Below you can read about some of the soft skills that students can acquire, practice and/or improve by using Cesim business simulations:
Dependability and reliability
Voted in this study as the most important soft skills that employers look in new recruits, dependability and reliability are interlinked and at the base of a well-functioning organization. A dependable employee can be trusted by their employer to bring nothing but their best effort. By using Cesim business simulations, team members practice not only the dynamics of teamwork, but also to trust on the capability that each team member has to deliver their best.
Corporate success is almost never dependent on a single person, but on combining the collective talents of the staff of a company, and at Cesim we make sure to incorporate this aspect of doing business in the game mechanics of our simulations. In a previous post from our blog, Associate Professor Anssi Tarkiainen at Lappeenranta University of Technology has explained how participants improve their teamwork skills by using Cesim business simulations.
The world is changing continuously and at ever-increasing pace, and both employees and companies need to be able to adapt or risk becoming obsolete. Cesim business simulations are built with the idea of a world which is in constant change, usually due to circumstances that escape immediate knowledge (in the game, as in real life, the actions of each team are unknown to each other until each round has been completed), so that participants train not only on how to react, but also to anticipate a market shift.
Running a business encompasses having to make sense of large amounts of data, even more so in this day and age. Cesim simulations allow students to put in practice their critical thinking by compelling them to interpret and look for patterns in the different variables and information that guide the development of the simulation, both internal and dependent on the behaviour of the opposing teams.
This soft skill helps build relationships between co-workers and set clear expectations and objectives. Cesim simulations can help improve the interpersonal communication skills of participants as they discuss the right strategy to advance towards the goal of winning the simulation rounds and successfully completing the game.
As the business world changes, new challenges arise and a good professional must be able to provide innovative solutions. The only way to become a proficient problem solver is to find solutions to problems, and Cesim business simulations present the perfect opportunity to do so in a safe environment. Business simulations present the possibility to try out different solutions, some more successful than others, and learn not only from the victories, but also from the losses. Cesim simulations allow participants to practice, test and strengthen their ability to apply the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom to concrete scenarios and becoming better in doing so.