Why Soft Skills are Hard Currency in Business

Did you know 85% of career success comes from having the right soft skills?

In a generation of constantly evolving technology that statistic might surprise you, as in recent years the emphasis has been on developing the right technical skills to stay ahead in the digital revolution.

With Deloitte reporting that by 2030 two thirds of all roles will be soft skill intensive, businesses and their employees need to focus on their soft skills gaps to secure their futures.

Long undervalued, even by their ‘soft skills’ name, these critical attributes are hard won, with the ability to demonstrate emotional intelligence and build relationships being a trait machines will never be able to replicate.

The Ability to Learn New Things

While functional skill sets will continue to evolve to keep up the technology-led disruption, a key set of soft skills will remain critical to surviving and thriving in the ceaselessly dynamic workplace

In fast-moving, disruptive environments, social capital skills are more important than ever. Employees with the ability to build consensus, negotiate and unify cross-functional teams to navigate challenges are in high demand.

While technical and job function experience may open the first door for a candidate at a company, people skills are what keep new doors opening within the organization.

Employers who want to attract rallying leaders need to demonstrate how they value, reward and progress expert relationship builders

In fact, as more mundane roles become automated it will be these human attributes that differentiate businesses and people from the competition.

It’s not all just speculation, as Google discovered when they looked at the skill sets of their most successful teams. The results showed their most productive and successful people weren’t those in teams creating algorithm, but those that brought strong soft skills to the table – collaboration, communication and teamwork.

Linkedin backed up these findings with their own 2019 survey, which highlighted finding candidates with high soft skills abilities a priority for businesses.

With 91% of employers struggling to find potential employees who fit this criteria, surely part of the solution is to invest in soft skill training with the employees they have.

Why Investing in Soft Skills Boosts the Bottom Line

Widespread research shows that 50% of employees quit their boss not their job, and with a UK talent crisis looming, the need for leaders to invest in and develop their people skills has never been more critical.

  1. Investing in soft skills training increases productivity by 12%
  2. Managers who have better relationships with their staff reduce turnover, which costs businesses an estimated £12,000 per average employee
  3. 91% of managers acknowledge that what they do affects their staff, so enabling managers to develop their empathy, approachability and communication lessens sick days which currently cost the UK economy billions of pounds annually.
  4. Soft skills are worth over £88billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy annually according to a report by Development Economics
  5. Research by Dale Carnegie indicated 4 leadership behaviours that inspired UK employees. These were giving sincere praise and appreciation, willingness to admit own mistakes, allowing employees to develop and grow and being honest and acting with integrity. However, less than 50% of leaders practised these behaviours consistently, highlighting further the need for improvement.

So, whilst hard skills might get you the job it’s soft skills that keep you there and get you the promotion.

This is one of the reasons Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best selling business books of all times. The enduring principles he wrote about over 100 years ago are as relevant today as they were then.

Since then the learnings from the book have been developed into The Dale Carnegie Course, which has been taken by over 8 million people in 80 countries across the world.

Across the UK businesses have used the practical skills taught to transform the behaviours of people within their organisations, reaping tremendous results.

‘The course changes the way you interact with other people, the way you communicate and the way you lead others…..when people leave the programme they do something different.’ David Kinson, Training and Development Manager, Johnsons Apparelmaster

You can learn more about the Dale Carnegie Course here, or if you want to discover some of the enduring principles taken from How to Win Friends and Influence People download the free ebook Secrets to Success.