The value of soft skills in the workplace

Find out why employers value soft skills and learn how to identify and develop the skills that help unlock your career potential.

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and standing out from the crowd in a professional market can be challenging. That’s why it’s important for job seekers to develop a diverse set of soft skills that can showcase their unique value to potential employers.

So, what are soft skills in the workplace? Soft skills refer to a set of personal and transferrable traits and abilities that are applicable across different industries and roles. Unlike hard or technical skills, they’re not role-specific skills learned through training and education. Instead, soft skills are focused on abilities surrounding behaviours like communication, adaptability and decision-making. That makes them applicable to every workplace and desirable to all employers.

In this article, we’re going to delve a little further into soft skills, why employers value them and how you can identify and develop your own soft skills to help unlock your future career potential.

Why employers value soft skills

More and more, we’re seeing a shift in focus from hard skills to soft skills in the workplace. While specific hard skills are still clearly valued – and are vital in certain industries and roles – soft skills are seen as essential for workers to successfully navigate a modern work environment. Employers who want to nurture a workplace focused on creativity, productivity and great teamwork will actively seek out candidates who can demonstrate a varied and developed range of soft skills.

Identifying soft skills: what are soft skills?

What are examples of soft skills in work, and what are the most important soft skills in the workplace? There are various essential soft skills that will always be seen as desirable by employers. Some of the most important include:

• Communication: the ability to communicate effectively with co-workers, share and contribute to ideas and articulate thoughts clearly.

• Time management: the ability to successfully meet deadlines, effectively prioritise tasks and work in a continuously productive way.

• Teamwork: the ability to work towards and recognise the importance of a positive and happy team dynamic.

• Problem-solving: the ability to use critical thinking to come up with and contribute to solutions that fix problems in the workplace.

• Leadership: the ability to confidently guide a team, delegate tasks as appropriate and inspire and bring together other colleagues.

• Emotional intelligence: the ability to empathise well with others, recognise other points of view, address and resolve conflict and manage personal emotions.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the main soft skills that employers seek out. Most job interviews are specifically designed to pinpoint soft skills like these within candidates. At this point, the technical skills detailed in the application stage will have already established you are a good fit for the role. Showing a potential employer how you can personally bring value to the team through a well-developed set of soft skills is a great way to stand out and leave a lasting impression.

Feedback from current colleagues, mentors, teachers or supervisors is a good way to identify your core soft skills. Self-reflection on your experiences and interactions in professional settings can also help you begin to recognise your strengths and any areas that require improvement. Consider times that you have demonstrated soft skills and what approaches have led to the most positive results.

How can you develop soft skills in the workplace?

The great news about soft skills is they can be continuously improved and refined over time. You can work on developing and refining your soft skills through practice and learning. For example, people skills can be developed by attending networking events or joining clubs to help improve your communication and collaboration skills.

Professional careers services or online learning focused on teaching soft skills in the workplace can also help you improve and develop skills, like time management and communication. Workshops, conferences or seminars can help teach you the best practices when it comes to the soft skills you’d like to improve upon.

Here are some simple strategies that can help you improve your soft skills:

• Request feedback and take on board constructive criticism.
• Identify soft skills you’d like to develop and set goals to work towards.
• Find opportunities within your current projects to apply and develop soft skills.
• Look for a mentor who can guide your development.
• Attend training sessions or workshops wherever possible.

Above all, integrating soft skills into your daily routine is a great proactive step that encourages continuous personal growth. By continuing to improve upon and refine your soft skills, you can successfully showcase your unique value to employers and help secure your future career success.

We hope this article was useful and taught you more about the value of soft skills in the workplace. If you are looking for further information, get in touch with us on 01484 242000 or email

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