by E. Flanagan | Jan. 30, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Why soft skills matter more than hard skills

Businesswoman making a presentation to her colleagues in office.jpg

A recent study found that 89% of managers reported a lack of soft skills as the primary reason for employee termination. To succeed in the workplace, individuals must understand the importance of soft skills in the corporate world and exhibit both qualitative (soft) and quantitative (hard) skills.

Understanding why soft skills matter is only part of the battle. Learning how to help employees learn soft skills for the future requires just as much attention. Fortunately, steps can be taken to help employees develop their soft skills competency.

In this blog, we define soft skills in the workplace, discuss the importance of soft skills in the corporate world, and explain how to develop soft skills for the future.

How to define soft skills in the workplace

What are soft skills in business? In essence, soft skills are non-technical skills that characterize how a person works and interacts with others. Common soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Self-motivation

But why are soft skills important in the workplace?

The importance of soft skills in the corporate world

Many candidates are looking for meaningful employment. Soft skills training can help you build a culture that’s appealing to prospective employees, but it’s not just employees who benefit.

Soft skills are becoming increasingly crucial in the corporate world as they can have a major impact on an organization’s success. When employees put soft skills into action, projects will run smoother, relationships with clients and colleagues will improve, teams will be more productive, and employees will become more confident in their roles.

One study by MIT Sloan found that a 12-month soft skills training program for an Indian garment manufacturer saw a +250% return on investment within eight months of its conclusion. By nature, the work was heavily reliant upon hard skills, but soft skills are what really moved the needle.

Introducing these essential skills to your employees can make a significant difference in the profitability of your business, which is just one reason why soft skills are important.

Why are employment soft skills more transferable than hard skills?

LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report showed that 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers say that soft skills are just as important – or more important – than hard skills.

Hard skills are quantifiable technical capabilities required to perform a job. The problem with hard skills is that they’re always changing. Coding knowledge today may be outdated tomorrow, requiring upskilling or even reskilling. While hard skills may help you land a job, soft skills help you excel at whatever you do.

Soft skills don’t change like hard skills. For example, effective communication will always be important, no matter your job. Due to their transferability, soft skills enable people to pivot to a new position, company, or industry with ease. Conversely, someone who only knows how to code can’t get a job working in marketing.

To build a well-rounded workforce, employees must receive hard and soft skills training.

Training methods for hard skills

Hard skills are typically easier to train and measure than soft skills. For instance, learners can take a course and get certified in a technical skill, proving their proficiency.

  1. Individual learning. Self-paced, individualized learning is good for developing hard skills. Employees can work through relevant modules, test their knowledge, and receive a continuous loop of feedback to keep them moving forward.
  2. On-the-job practice. While employees can learn hard skills through a screen, putting them into practice reinforces them. For example, employees can learn in real time how to perform different job functions when working with a manager or co-worker.

Training methods for soft skills

Soft skills training is more experiential and interactive than hard skills training. It’s hard to build these essential people skills without in-person practice – head knowledge only gets you so far.

  1. Group learning. Soft skills are interpersonal, so individual, self-paced learning isn’t the most effective way to develop them. Instead, group learning helps employees practice soft skills by working together (e.g., role-play scenarios, group discussions).
  2. Coaching. Coaching is another great training method for soft skills. Managers can use a coaching platform to help employees develop desirable soft skills by giving feedback, encouraging practice, and measuring progress.

Are you ready to develop soft skills in the workplace and empower employees to reach their full potential?

Develop soft skills for the future using Spoke®

Using a modern LMS like Spoke®, learners can take self-directed learning paths, collaborate with colleagues, and receive actionable coaching, helping them develop hard and soft skills. The best part? It’s all measurable.

By delivering custom soft skills training using Spoke®, your company will experience benefits such as:

  • Increased productivity
  • Better customer service
  • Higher retention rates
  • Healthier team dynamics

Spoke® makes it easy to distill the importance of soft skills in corporate world scenarios by driving learners from one skill to the next through intelligent, action-oriented recommendations. With Unboxed Training & Technology (Unboxed), you can effectively build soft skill competency in your organization.

At Unboxed, we can create a comprehensive training plan that allows your employees to improve upon and learn new soft skills at work. Schedule a demo of Spoke® to learn more about how Unboxed can help you future-proof your business.

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