TSI Blog

Just How Important Are Soft Skills?

May 15th, 2014 by Alison McKinney

Soft skills refer to a collection of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with as well as enhancing their interactions, job performance and career prospects.

Organisations value soft skills as they are just as important an indicator of job performance as the hard skills required to perform a certain type of task or activity. Soft skills provide an important compliment to hard skills and it has been suggested that in a number of occupations, soft skills may be more important in the long term than occupational hard skills.

Some of the most common soft skills employers are looking for include the following;

Communication Skills

It’s more than just being able to speak the language. Communication skills involve being a good listener, articulating oneself well, using appropriate and effective posture and body language as well as presenting excellent writing capabilities.

Problem Solving

When faced with a problem, people tend to do three things.

  • They get afraid or uncomfortable and wish it would go away
  • They feel that they have to come up with an answer and it has to be the right answer
  • They look for someone to blame

Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. And that’s a problem! Because, in fact, there are always going to be problems! So the ability to use creativity, reasoning, past experience, information and available resources to resolve issues is attractive as it saves everyone valuable time.

Strong Work Ethic

Employers are on the lookout for employees that take initiative, are reliable and can do the job right the first time. Managers don’t have the time or resources to babysit, so this is a skill that is expected from all employees.

Positive Attitude

A positive attitude in the workplace is helpful whether you own your own business, work as an employee, or manage others within a business environment. Cynicism and sarcasm are widespread in today’s workplace, and both can bring down employees and their teams quickly.  While it may not be possible to control the mood of the whole workplace, you are always in control of your own attitude each day.

Soft skills play an important role in professional success.  They help individuals to excel in the workplace and their importance cannot be denied in this age of information and knowledge. In fact, it could be argued that employees with good soft skills are highly likely to have better employee engagement levels.

If you would like to know more about how your organisation can improve employee engagement levels, then contact us on +44 (0) 1255 850051.

Written by Alison McKinney
Alison McKinney is the Project and Quality Assurance Manager at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Alison has extensive experience in project management and quality assurance and has recently worked on projects for clients as diverse as: WSP Middle East. Natural History Museum, Peverel, Marine Stewardship Council, Accor UK &Ireland and Thompsons Solicitors. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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