The importance of soft skills in the workplace

Business Insights

Soft skills are more important than they have ever been in the workplace. For many roles in the modern workplace, it is no longer enough to have the technical expertise alone. Those who demonstrate strong soft skills in areas such as communication, leadership, problem solving, time management and resilience will help a business gain a competitive edge. These human qualities are what help build and strengthen an organisation, and even shape the culture. Businesses are beginning to catch on to the fact that developing staff in soft skills often go hand in hand with business success. But how can your organisation begin to recognise and strengthen an employee’s soft skills?

Identifying soft skills

The good news is that soft skills can be continuously developed. People also learn a range of soft skills through experiences outside of work, such as home projects, socialising or parenthood. These skills can then be transferred into the workplace, and help employees tackle a range of tasks. An effective way of working out what soft skills your employees possess is by asking them to carry out a self assessment of a set of predetermined soft skills that are deemed important within the team. But first, work out what soft skills your business most requires - you can be guided by your company values, individual and team successes - before asking your employees to take an honest look at their soft skill set. By having an open discussion with employees and providing feedback based on their assessment, an agreed decision can be reached as to the soft skills they may wish to develop further. Team members that are particularly strong in certain soft skills may also be able to provide advice to the rest of the team to help them grow in a specific area. While soft skills are difficult to measure, this reflective approach will help you gain a clearer picture of soft skills currently within the team. But what can you do if your business is lacking a specific soft skill altogether?

A soft skills gap

Research suggests that there is a growing skills gap, which is going to make recruiting the right employees an even bigger challenge. Desired skills include problem solving, flexibility and teamwork, and especially after the pandemic, resilience, leadership and empathy are high up the agenda. Given that recruitment is more costly than retention of employees, it makes sense for businesses to look at ways to help their workforce develop and improve their soft skills. As a result, employees will not only feel more valued and achieve greater job satisfaction but organisations will have staff who can adapt in times of uncertainty and an ever changing environment.

Continuous learning

Staff development is vital for business continuity, considering the speed in which businesses are changing, particularly as a result of automation. This will mean that soft skills, due to their transferable nature, will be valued even more highly by employers. A report by Deloitte predicts that soft skill intensive occupations will represent two-thirds of all jobs by 2030, compared to half of all jobs in 2000.

Therefore companies who invest in developing soft skills will put themselves in a much stronger position for the future. A great way to help individuals develop a specific soft skill is to provide them with bitesize eLearning modules. This allows employers to help nurture an employee’s learning for a particular skill, without overloading them with information. Often employees are restricted by time, but short eLearning courses can be fitted more easily into the working day and act as a starting point for self discovery and improvement.

Supporting your employees and encouraging them to seek improvement will not only support their professional development but it will also benefit the company as a whole.

Visit the iHASCO website to find out more about their online soft skills library or request instant access to trial any of their eLearning courses at