For any organization to be successful, it is important for it’s employers to have most in-demand soft skills. There is a lot of focus on hard skills by employers, employees, and job seekers. That is natural, but it is only part of the bigger picture. While the ability to operate machinery or knowledge of today’s accounting best practices is critical, so-called soft skills are just as vital.
The importance of soft skills has been driven home since the rise of COVID-19, as well. With most teams moving to a remote format (and remaining there, even as we finally come to grips with the pandemic), soft skills are increasingly being sought. Not entirely sure what soft skills are, why they matter, or which ones are most important in today’s world? Those can be challenging questions to answer, but this article will explore those topics and more.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills often receive less attention than hard skills because, in many situations, they are not directly related to the performance of specific job functions. It’s not about knowing how to code in PHP, or how to replace an oil pan gasket. It’s about an employee’s personal skills and how they interact with other people and the wider world around them.
For some people, soft skills come naturally. Extroverted people are often good communicators, while other people might be good at studying others. Yet other people find that they have a natural tendency to continue learning and to seek growth, while others have naturally high emotional intelligence.
While many of those are based on inborn traits, the good news is that all soft skills can be learned. Even the most introverted among us can become great communicators. Even those who are “late for everything” can learn better time management skills. The trick is for employers to offer the right up-skilling opportunities in the form of modules and lessons within their learning management system.
Of course, both employers and employees have limited time. That makes it critical for an informed decision to be made about which training options are offered. Below, we will touch on some of the most in-demand soft skills for the modern workplace. Many of these will seem commonsense, but some might be more eye-opening. For more information, click here.
Some Most In-Demand Soft Skills that are important to gain for the employers are given as under:
The first and foremost in-demand soft skill is good and effective communication. This one should go without saying. Good communication skills are critical for virtually all positions and career paths. And, with the rise in digital communication during the pandemic and the likelihood that many positions will remain remote even when businesses are free to return to normal, it has taken on new importance.
Communication involves more than just face-to-face verbal skills, though. It encompasses knowledge of how to communicate effectively through digital means. It also requires that you have a mastery of nonverbal communication, including body language and other visual cues that help convey depth and context.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Employees face challenges in every position. It could be dealing with a particularly challenging, unhappy customer. It might be working with an abrasive coworker. There are countless examples of challenges that employees might face in their daily duties, and employees must have the skills to overcome those hurdles.
Problem-solving requires critical thinking and creativity – two supplemental skills that allow us to “think around corners” and envision solutions that might not otherwise be possible. Employees have to come up with innovative solutions to both existing and new challenges with equanimity.
No one is an island. You don’t work on a vacuum. Even if you work largely alone in your home, your efforts do not occur in a vacuum. All of our efforts dovetail to create something larger than what we can accomplish alone. Those with collaborative capabilities not only understand this inherently but can work closely with others and add their unique touch to group projects.
Collaboration can be challenging, particularly when strong personalities clash. There can be a power struggle where people vie for perceived leadership of the group, but someone with true collaborative skills understands that it really is a group thing and that there is no personal stake in such projects.
Our society is built on the scarcity mindset. That is, there is only so much to go around, and the more you collect, the better off you will be. The underlying principle was once motivating, but today we are beginning to realize that it is actually a negative thing. The counter to this is the growth mindset, which focuses on abundance.
Someone with a growth mindset is often generous, does not hoard resources, and tends to be happier than someone who sees the world in terms of scarce resources available only to a few. People with a growth mindset are also usually lifelong learners who continually challenge themselves to grow personally and professionally.
We often hear emotional intelligence talked about today, but there is little conversation about what it is or how it works. Really, emotional intelligence comes down to your level of empathy – being able to put yourself in someone else’s position and see things from their perspective. Today, emotional intelligence is more important than ever before.
The pandemic has created a unique situation in which employees are at once freer than they have ever been to manage their own time, yet dealing with negative emotions like stress and worry, and even grief over lost loved ones. This soft skill is critical for communicating correctly, building strong interpersonal relationships, and is a key to moving up to higher positions within the workplace.
Building the Team You Need for Success
We’ve explored some of the most important and sought-after soft skills today. However, many others can be just as important. Punctuality, organization, leadership, and the ability to serve others are all high on the list of priorities.
The good news is that all of these can be taught – the right learning management system (LMS) is critical, though. At eLeap, we offer a flexible, cloud-based platform that’s ideal for building the soft skills you need in your team. Contact us today to learn more.