Soft Skills

When we think about training in the workplace, soft skills can often be overlooked because they’re not as tangible as ‘hard skills’ like coding or advanced Excel skills. But developing soft skill training for employees is just as important as technical skills.

The phrase ‘soft skills’ incorporates a wide variety of personality traits, communication and people skills, social attitudes and emotional intelligence. These qualities (also known as ‘core skills’) are increasingly important for success in the workplace – and not just for those in leadership positions. Everyone can benefit from some focused training and development to help them realise their full potential.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills tend to be more personality-focused, as opposed to being based on qualifications, technical skills, or vocational experience. That includes things like people skills, social skills, interpersonal skills, and transferable skills. 

In contrast, hard skills are technical skills that are often job specific. They come from certification programs, employee training, and work experience and can be taught, measured, and tested through exams and practical assignments or quizzes. 

Hard skills tend to relate to the core business of an organization, such as writing skills, computer networking skills, machine operation, business analysis, design, and construction. Soft skills deal more with interpersonal relationships and involve things like conflict resolution, communication, listening, and problem-solving.

In short, these are some key differences between hard skills and soft skills:

Soft SkillsHard Skills
Experience basedRule based
People relatedTechnological/scientific
AttitudinalIndustrial/mechanical
BehavioralRelates to tools and techniques
Non-domain specificSpecialized
GeneralProcedural and methodical
Trans-situationalReplicable
Non-technicalPredictable
IntangibleTangible

How Soft Skills Training Can Benefit Any Business

Competencies like communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving underpin almost every facet of business operations. Across your organization, in every business unit and employee role, soft skills are crucial for gaining new clients, improving customer service metrics, and building a stronger team dynamic. 

There are many other organizational benefits to be gained from soft skills programs, and here are our top three:

1. Improve customer service

This could be considered the most obvious benefit of improving soft skills in the workplace. Your employees will be able to actively listen more effectively to establish your customers’ needs, identify problems, and help them resolve it. They are also likely to have more compassion and empathy after enhancement of soft skills, which can have a large positive impact on customer service. 

2. Increase sales

Improving soft skills can benefit your sales team during the sales negotiation process. Employees can use their competencies to engage with the client on a more personal level, without breaching the all-important professional boundaries, and your customers will definitely appreciate this. When employees take additional time to discuss the pain points that your clients experience and match them with the right solution, the sale will result by itself.

3. Improve employee retention

Your organization will retain more talent because you’ve invested in their professional growth, and this pays off. You will reduce the need to hire and train replacement staff, thus reducing organizational costs. 

Additionally, soft skills improve knowledge retention and equip employees to take ownership of their personal development.