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Shifting focus to soft-skill development

When choosing between two candidates that are equal in experience and qualification, organisations are now prioritising ‘soft skills’ when making the hiring decision. In LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, 92% of professionals for talent acquisition revealed that soft skills are equally or often more essential than hard skills.

Our world is extremely dynamic, necessitating soft skills in the workplace to keep businesses relevant. Soft skills are crucial for the development of any employee within an organisation. The way that we communicate with colleagues and solve problems are soft skills that play a large role in the long-term success of an organisation. Organisations that foster soft skill development will generally outperform those that do not. This being said, it is not so easy to hire an entire workforce that has soft skills already. A study conducted by LinkedIn discovered that almost 60% of hiring managers in the U.S. struggle to locate candidates that possess soft skills. Luckily, it is highly possible to develop soft skills in the workplace.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are character traits which complement technical skills and expertise. Soft skills relate to how one works. A person’s emotional intelligence is determined by their soft skills. These include interpersonal, communication, listening, time management, and empathy skills. Hiring managers typically seek candidates with soft skills as these make a person more successful within an organisation. Someone may be excellent with their technical job-specific skills and expertise, but if they are unable to manage their time and communicate with their team, they may be unsuccessful within the workplace. Psychologist and author Dan Goleman wrote the book Emotional Intelligence at Work, concluding that when IQ and technical skills are similar, soft skills and EQ account for 90% of success when progressing up the ladder of success.

5 essential soft skills in the workplace


Effective communication leads to efficiency and productivity, which leads to more constructive interactions. This includes verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as body language.


Having teams with a diverse range of soft and hard skills will ensure that several different perspectives arise when problem solving. According to the Harvard Business Review, the highest performing teams have a strong structure, a shared mindset, direction that is compelling, and are supportive.

Growth mindset

Resilience, agility, and emotional intelligence are crucial. It is important to help employees to understand and become aware of the importance of soft skills.


Initiative often sets apart the higher performers within an organisation. It is essential that there are employees that are able to step forward and take on tasks without being spoon fed.

Positive attitude

Leaders want people who are friendly, eager to work, and good with others.

How can a leader develop soft skills in the workplace?

1.) Welcome feedback with open arms.

This goes for feedback from your colleagues, team members, employees, and mentors. By getting feedback, you will gain valuable insight which can be put to use for self-improvement.

2.) Prioritise which soft skills need to be developed.

Every person has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Some people will be naturally stronger in some soft skills than others. Therefore, it is essential to capitalise on the strengths of your team and build on their weaknesses.

3.) Encourage active listening.

Encourage listening to truly understand other perspectives. -Improve the teams' writing skills. Writing skills are essential for communication in today’s technologically advanced world. It will be beneficial to ensure that your organisation’s members partake in writing skills courses.

4.) Training for improvement.

Team building workshops, short courses, and overall skills improvement and development will assist in building the soft skills of your team.

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