Soft skills have intensified since the early 2000’s, now becoming as important as the hard skills we need to fulfil in each and every industry and profession (McFarlin, N.D ) .Collins English Dictionary defines soft skills as “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people and a positive attitude” (Collins English Dictionary, 2012). Furthermore this transferable concept is relevant in all industries and involves the combination of personality traits, positive attributes, social graces and the ability to communicate (National Careers Service, N.D & Torch 2013). These qualities enable the individual to form relationships with fellow employees and customers as well as enhancing performance (Torch, 2013). Soft skills are more to do with who you are and what qualities you display, rather than the amount of technical knowledge you know or the amount of experience you have had (Robles, 2015).
Without the existence of soft skills in a workplace, the environment becomes dysfunctional, unorganised and unwelcoming (Mind Tools, N.D). Certain skills such as communication, adaptability, teamwork and integrity and work ethic if implemented, allow the business to run properly (Cenere P, Gill R, Lawson C & Lewis M, 2015). These skills and a combination of others are a necessity to all businesses because they avoid conflict and lack of inclusion and negotiation in group decisions (Mind Tools, N.D). This is due to the aspect of strong communication preventing such situations and enhancing cooperation and teamwork (Robles, 2015).
For a business to be achieving the very best that it can, employees need to negotiate, cooperate, make agreeable decisions and resolve conflicts (Mind Tools, N.D). This enhances the organisations attitudes which the customer visualises and can encourage the employee to contribute to the organisations strategies and visions (Mind Tools, N.D).
Forming relationships with customers is vital in every business. So once certain soft skills are implemented, it is much easier for the employees to build and maintain customer relationships (Mind Tools, N.D).
Here are some soft skill examples:
Cenere P, Gill R, Lawson C & Lewis M, 2015, ‘Communication skills for business professionals’, Cambridge University Press, Sydney, Pages 9-12. McFarlin, K N.D, ‘The importance of soft skills in the workplace’, Small Business, Viewed 9th of April 2016, www.smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-soft-skills
Mind Tools, N.D, ‘Why soft skills matter?’, Mind Tools, Viewed 12th of April 2016, https://www.mindtools.com/pages/articles/newcpr-34.htm
National Careers Service, N.D, ‘What are the soft skills employees want’, National Careers Service, Viewed 9th of April 2016, http://nationalcarerrservice.direct.gov.uk/aboutus/newsarticlepages/spotlight
Robels, M 2012, ‘Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace’, Business communication quarterly, Vol 75, Issue 4, Pages 453-465
Torch, R 2013, ‘The growing importance of soft skills in the workplace’, TorchGroup, Viewed 9th of April 2016, www.torchgroup.com/TorchLite
Duckworth, S, 2014, ‘Heavy emphasis on hard skills leaves children unprepared for the real tests in life’, Viewed 10th of April 2016, https://vigornotrigor.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/heavy-emphasis-on-hard-skills-leaves-children-unprepared-for-the-real-tests-in-life/
Goodwin, T 2014, ‘7 things to ask yourself before volunteering aboard’, GVI, Viewed 10th of April 2016, http://www.gviusa.com/blog/questions-before-volunteering-abroad/
Video Source: Heckman, J 2012, ‘Hard facts soft skills’, Heckman Equation, Viewed 10th of April 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKzQYQNtYts