Hard Lessons on Soft Skills

WRITTEN September 4, 2023 Author: Patricia McCormack

It is competitive out there in the business world. It’s not enough to just have the technical skills covered. There is a great need for strong soft skills. It is time to learn some hard lessons on soft skills.It is competitive out there in the business world.

So wait, what skills are we talking about?

Hard skills are specific, technical skills that are required for a particular job. For example, a software engineer needs to have hard skills in programming languages and software development tools. A marketing manager needs to have hard skills in data analysis and social media marketing.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more general and transferable. They are the interpersonal and communication skills that allow you to interact effectively with others, work well in a team, and solve problems. We are talking about skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and leadership, which are important for success in any job, regardless of the industry.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of soft skills in the workplace. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that “77% percent of employers intend to improve the soft skills (e.g., empathy, compassion, communication) of their people managers.”

Reasons why businesses need to make sure their staff is competent on both hard and on soft skills:

  • Improve communication and collaboration within a team. When members of a team have strong soft skills, they are better able to see and appreciate each other’s perspectives. Moreover, that understanding will lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.
  • Build relationships with customers and clients. Employees who are able to communicate effectively and build rapport with others, are more likely to create and foster a positive customer experience.
  • Boost employee morale and motivation. Employees feeling value and respect, get engaged in their work, increasing productivity.
  • Prepare employees for the challenges of the future workplace. The workplace today is more complex and globalized. Understandably, the ability to work and communicate effectively with others and solve problems is vital.

There are a number of things that businesses can do to help their staff develop their soft skills. One is to provide training and development opportunities. This could include workshops on communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Businesses can also create a culture that values soft skills. Some companies have rewards for employees who are excelling after providing opportunities for them to practice these skills.

How Do You Use Soft Skills?

Here are a few examples of applying soft skills on the job:

  • Communication: When a software engineer is able to communicate effectively with their team members, it gets projects completed on time and within budget.
  • Teamwork: A marketing manager who is able to build and maintain strong relationships with their team members can create a more productive and cohesive work environment.
  • Problem-solving: A customer service representative who is able to think critically and solve problems can resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Critical thinking: A project manager who is able to think critically and make sound decisions can help to ensure that projects are successful.
  • Leadership: A CEO who is able to inspire and motivate their team members can create a high-performing organization.

First Step: Assessing Needs

If a company would like to improve the soft skills of their employees, the first step is to identify the specific soft skills that are most valuable and relevant to that company and its employees. Companies often research via surveys, interviews, or feedback sessions with team members. It is important to understand the areas for improvement, and to prioritize those skills.

Remember, a successful soft skills program requires commitment, engagement, and continuous effort. By prioritizing the development of these skills, any company can foster a positive work environment and empower their employees to reach their full potential.

Learn this and more in our Staff Development classes. Or if you’re looking for ways to improve your other communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


If You Want To Learn the Art of Effective Workplace Communication, These are the Skills that You Need to Hone – FORBES.COM

What are Soft Skills and Why are They Important – AMWA.ORG

Meaningful Recognition Takes Great Soft Skills – HRmorning.com

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