Tools & Tips

How Soft Skills Are Becoming The Deciding Factor In The Modern Workplace

By Lucy Wyndham

Ninety three percent of employers now regard ‘soft skills’ as either very important or essential in their hiring decisions, according to a 2016 study by Wonderlic. An increasing number of employers and corporations are seeking skills that go beyond the technical qualifications that come with the job. Recognition is being given by businesses to the value of an employee who is able to successfully combine their technical skills with those such as communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills in the workplace. In addition, attention is being focused on the approaches companies and government agencies can take to aid the development of the North American workforce and its future productivity. So what is driving the increased emphasis of soft skills in the modern day workplace? Check out the reasons why skills such as interpersonal and leadership skills are more vital than ever.

Customers Demands Are Changing

Customer’s access to information is changing. With the internet and emergence of apps and software customers can now easily access information, competitors and substitutes. With heightened competition, there are many companies offering the same or similar products at any one time. This is why customer service is becoming even more key to the business’ success. More emphasis is being placed on customer service and interpersonal skills such as effective communication. A recently published NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 Serial Switchers Report found that poor customer service is costing businesses $75 billion dollars each year. As a result, more CEOs are realizing the need to focus more on their employees’ soft skills to aid customer loyalty.

Get The Max Benefit Of Your Technical Skills

Skills such as  effective communication, reliability, adaptability and being team oriented are not just an addition to your resume but should be looked at as complements that will encourage employees to get the best of their technical skills. Both sets of skills depend on each other to be truly efficient and effective in the workplace. For businesses to be successful, they do need to have strong interpersonal relationships with their investors, customers and especially amongst their employees.

A 2017 report by the Ontario Chamber Of Commerce highlighted just how important this is by revealing an increasing mismatch with new employees lacking soft skills such as time management and flexibility. It should be noted that as much as employees are valued for possessing these skills, employers should also be willing to foster them by providing the right environment and training. For employees, offering support to mitigate the various effects of workplace disputes including intimidation, stress and bullying is essential, in order to foster a positive atmosphere and encourage the use of skills such as communication and teamwork.

Soft Skills Set You Apart In The Recruitment Race

Finally, the job market is also constantly evolving. With more employers realizing the value of good interpersonal relationships within and beyond their organizations, a candidate showcasing both the technical skills and desired qualities are becoming instantly noticed in the recruitment process. In fact, an Accountemps survey found that 77 percent of CFOs regarded the development of soft skills as challenging. Not only can mastering these skills secure you a second glance at recruitment but it can also hinder your ability to progress in your career. The top three listed reasons for not advancing in the survey included poor interpersonal skills, poor work ethic and failure to develop new skills.

There is no doubt that the need for soft skills in the workplace is becoming more of a priority for employers. It is now an essential component to not only acquire a job but to also progress in your career. While technical skills propel business progress in many areas of a company, it is the ability to communicate and fully utilize those skills that will make the difference in the end.

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