Soft skills are still important in the workplace
What are the most important and in demand soft skills in the workplace that young employees should be focusing on?
Soft skills are still important in today’s workplace. In fact, perhaps they’re even more important than ever. Thanks to changes in a millennials’ work ethic and Generation Z, as well as the emergence of “knowmads” (workers with knowledge), organisations have gone from being rigid, hierarchical and unchangeable systems to ones that are more horizontal and flexible instead. On top of this, Gen Zs are “forcing” companies to reinforce conditions such as job security, diversity and inclusion. This diverse and multicultural scenario poses new communicative challenges and excellent management, based on emotional intelligence, which guarantees mutual understanding and optimal levels of performance. Given this situation, it’s inevitable that individuals in a company will begin to identify and develop some of the most important soft skills for today’s job market.
These are the most important soft skills for today’s workplace. They’re good qualities for getting almost any job (combined with your hard skills, obvs!)
What has so far been mentioned has also changed what is now considered success and leadership. Today’s leadership focuses on using their influence to create positive changes in an organisation. As the icon of pop and rock music Patti Smith says: “Make your interactions with people transformational not just transactional”. Therefore, it’s not surprising that hiring managers are especially interested in incorporating those candidates who have these important soft skills in their work dynamics or, in other words, the best qualities to give you the job:
- Communication skills. Knowing how to communicate is essential in any area of life, but it’s a key point in the business world, when sometimes decisions and actions must be made at the drop of a hat. However, communication skills not only serve to organise and delegate work correctly, they’re also essential to ensure positive and productive interpersonal relationships between individuals in the workplace as well as between the organisation and their respective stakeholders. Therefore, communication skills are an especially important soft skill in an international work environment that is heading towards continuous expansion.
- Active listening. This ability is based on listening carefully and neutrally to the other person. With active listening, the other person feels heard and valued, so it’s a very important soft skill for work dynamics that focus on human value.
- Empathy & understanding. Understanding the feelings and emotions of others is of utmost importance in today’s organisations. The movies of the 80s and 90s show us charismatic leaders, and perhaps even extroverts, but very controlling ones who are solely looking for results. Fortunately, today it’s understood that productivity depends on the mood of employees…so, working on empathy and understanding (without crossing the boundary of professionalism) means treating others with tolerance and compassion. And, yes, it positively affects the performance of the team. Therefore, empathy and understanding are an important soft skill highly valued in the workplace.
- The rise of the freelancers and “knowmads” have encouraged autonomous work versus teamwork. However, most companies still have fairly defined profiles that work together because, you know, two heads are better than one. Obviously, in order to work in a team, it’s very important to work on other soft skills such as those already mentioned: communication and active listening.
- Creativity is not only an important soft skill for creative business models, but it can be applied to any other type of work. A robotics expert can be creative when approaching processes and admin staff can create new (more productive) ways to organise billing. Because after all, creativity consists of finding something new that works better. This is a key point in an increasingly competitive world. Companies that do not work on innovation and creativity are simply doomed to fail. So take note!
- Decision Making and Problem Solving. Like they say, you have to turn thoughts into actions and ideas into plans of action. Making decisions and solving problems assertively IS NOT EASY. To do this, you have to be a strategic thinker, to be able to study all the variables and anticipate future situations. When the profitability and future of a company is at stake, knowing how to make decisions and solve problems becomes the most important thing.
As you can see, soft skills are now more than important in the workplace and some of them are essential qualities to get any job. The good news is that, even if at first glance it seems that you have to be born with these kinds of skills, soft skills can be observed, understood, learned and incorporated. So…go for it!