06 June 2023

Why Soft Skills Are Essential in the Modern Workplace

why soft skills are important in the modern workplace

A new era of work requires more than just technical skills

Artificial intelligence, once a futuristic concept, is becoming tightly interwoven into the fabric of our business. It’s now being used to complete tasks that traditionally required our very own hard skills (technical knowledge) – drafting emails, analyzing data, and even chatting with customers. According to a recent IBM report, 35% of companies are using AI in their business, with 42% reporting that they’re exploring the technology. While this may bring some productivity gains, soft skills like creativity, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking will be lost in the process unless technology is combined with human knowledge.

In a hybrid world of work, the human element can boost technology’s productivity more so than ever. Think about the diversity of ideas that may spark from combining talent from numerous backgrounds into one borderless team? To flourish, however, employees must possess even stronger communication and collaboration skills than in an office set up, working with peers across various time zones, sometimes completely virtually.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the takeaways from our latest eBook, around why soft skills are such an important L&D investment in our modern workplace.

Communications Skills Gaps in Hybrid Teams
The skillset your team needs to thrive in a hybrid workplace
Communications Skills Gaps in Hybrid Teams
The skillset your team needs to thrive in a hybrid workplace

Why Soft Skills Matter at Work

CNBC recently reported that 76% of companies are using skills-based hiring to fill open roles, and an emphasis on soft skills is steadily growing. Here are a few areas we see companies aiming to develop through soft skills training:

  • Building relationships: Soft skills are essential in building positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers. Good communication, active listening, empathy, and teamwork can help individuals establish and maintain trust and collaboration, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Leadership: Effective leaders possess strong soft skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and empathy to inspire and motivate team members. They also know how to delegate tasks, resolve conflicts, and provide constructive feedback to promote productivity and performance.
  • Customer service: Strong interpersonal skills help employees understand and address customer needs, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Many customers report that they will only buy from companies they trust.
  • Adaptability: In today’s rapidly changing work environment, employees need to be adaptable and resilient. Soft skills such as flexibility and problem-solving help them navigate challenges more easily. Especially as technology continues to disrupt.

And as some of the most important soft skills are linked to communication, below we delve into what we consider are the three most important communication pillars to focus on.

Three Communication Pillars for L&D

Organizations must recognize the value of effectively sharpening their teams’ communication skills. In our latest eBook, we identify three important communication “pillars,” to invest in to set your hybrid team up for success: language, intercultural and interpersonal skills.

Communications Skills Gaps in Hybrid Teams
The skillset your team needs to thrive in a hybrid workplace
Communications Skills Gaps in Hybrid Teams
The skillset your team needs to thrive in a hybrid workplace

Pillar 1: Language Skills

To be able to communicate we have to speak the same language. Though it’s not always necessary to be fluent, there is a strong case for meeting some local language requirements. Even at the most basic level, this fortifies trust and interpersonal connection with customers, heightening the chance of making a sale and building a fruitful business relationship.

Pillar 2: Intercultural skills

Research shows that fostering diverse teams ultimately drives better business results and the good news is that diverse teams are so much easier to build remotely. However, diversity will undoubtedly mean embracing different cultures, values, beliefs, and ways of working, coexisting together. Training your teams up with strong intercultural skills means navigating those differences better, thereby communicating and working more effectively together.

Pillar 3: Interpersonal skills

In the modern workplace, communication takes place in various channels – email, chat, video conferencing, and phone calls. This leaves room for misunderstanding. For example, if a senior leader messages a junior colleague on chat saying, “let me know when you’re free for a call,” the junior colleague may get worried of what he has to say, unaware of the fact all the leader intended was to perhaps congratulate him for his hard work in person. When teams communicate effectively, psychological safety flourishes and performance soars.

Are you ready to take the next step in making your hybrid workforce thrive? Contact us here today.

About Learnlight

Learnlight provides language, intercultural, and communications skills training to blue chips and international organizations around the world. Learnlight uses a blend of cutting-edge technology and world-class instructor-led training to equip employees with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly complex and global business environment. Learnlight currently delivers blended virtual and face-to-face services to more than 1,200 clients with over 100,000 active learners in more than 180 countries.

More information can be found at learnlight.com

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