The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace: Why You Need to Invest in Them
Soft skills are personality traits and interpersonal behaviours that make a person effective at communicating with and relating to others.
Soft skills are an essential part of an effective team. These skills aren’t specific to the work at hand, but are transferable skills in every workplace and in life in general.
Why are soft skills important in the workplace? Let’s take a closer look at what soft skills are, and why they’re so important.
What are soft skills?
The term ‘soft skills’ relates to competencies in communication, time management, emotional intelligence, people skills and other interpersonal personality traits.
Rather than hard skills, which relate to specialised abilities, soft skills are more general and wide-reaching, such as having strong communication skills. This makes soft skills important as they can be applied to all industries, workplaces and one’s personal life.
What soft skills are essential in the modern workplace?
There are certain essential soft skills that many recruiters look for in potential candidates. During the hiring process job seekers should be evaluated not only to ensure they possess the right technical skills for the job, but also the right soft skills to fit in with the workplace and existing team.
Some examples of important soft skills for the workplace include:
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
- Problem solving
- Interpersonal skills
- Listening skills
- Social skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict resolution
- Time management
Why are soft skills important in the workplace?
Many soft skills that are important in the workplace help establish trust and strong relationships between employees and employers, as well as with customers or clients.
Good communication skills and other social skills ensure that an employee can be an effective communicator with the ability to relate to a wide range of different people. This makes them a valuable employee capable of creating professional relationships on behalf of the company.
Personal attributes such as good communication skills and emotional intelligence often encourage employee productivity. Those with strong interpersonal skills can use their skills such as active listening to really listen to their customers, and provide a necessary solution.
Business productivity and workplace outcomes benefit from a team of people with soft skills that can be applied across the board.
Positive workplace culture
Soft skills such as communication skills facilitate a cohesive team – and a cohesive team encourages a positive workplace culture, where each member of the team feels respected. Collaboration and mutual respect from the whole team creates a positive work environment and team culture.
A job candidate or employee that can demonstrate the use of soft skills in their past work experience is more likely to be adaptable to changes. Many important soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, allow for adaptability and flexibility – both useful skills in the ever-changing business landscape.
Employees that possess the necessary soft skills will often be able to maintain a positive attitude when faced with changes – an important skill when it comes to challenges faced in many workplaces.
Incorporating soft skills training in your workplace L&D strategy
It’s never too late to learn new skills. Professional development should be a focus of every workplace, and soft skills can be developed just like any other skill.
Investing in soft skills training doesn’t need to be boring or forced. There are many different models of training available to utilise today, from virtual classrooms to online professional development courses. Soft skills training may include things like activities to encourage team work, opportunities for creative and critical thinking, or the chance to practise leadership skills.
Staff retention is important, as hiring and training new staff can be time consuming and costly. By offering a strong professional development program as part of your workplace L&D strategy, there is a chance for employees to improve their soft skills and increase their opportunity for career progression.
As with any training strategy, soft skills training needs to be financially viable for a business. It’s important to understand the ROI when it comes to soft skills training. Track the effectiveness of training your employees in soft skills to ensure your professional development plan is working for you.
What to look for when hiring new employees
Soft skills are in high demand. This is important for job seekers to be aware of, so they can showcase their soft skills on their resume and in an interview for a new job. It’s also important for HR managers to focus on looking for soft skills in job candidates.
Hiring managers should ask behaviour-based interview questions to get an idea of the job candidates capabilities and soft skill proficiencies. Ask for specific examples of their past behaviour, such as how they solved a particular problem, or how they build relationships with their clients.
If there are particular soft skills that are most important for your workplace, be on the lookout for them when hiring. For example, if it’s a customer service role, you may be looking especially for skills around good communication and problem solving when under pressure. A job seeker that can demonstrate the soft skills that are a priority for you is likely the right choice.
Developing soft skills
Soft skills training can benefit the whole team and workplace. Professional development should be a focus within every business, and developing strong soft skills is a great way of increasing productivity and encouraging growth among the team.
Now you know why soft skills are important in the workplace, get in touch with us here at MCI Solutions today to see how our professional development courses can help incorporate soft skills training into your L&D strategy.