Job-specific technical skills are vital, but they are not all that is necessary for good job performance. Soft skills that apply in a wide range of jobs are equally important to a successful business operation. While most people possess these skills to some extent, onboarding and ongoing training and professional development can help both your staff and your business become even stronger.
Communication and Collaboration
Some of the most important employee strengths are the people skills that make each staff member a good fit for the job. Among these is the ability to communicate, collaborate, adapt to a changing environment and maintain a positive attitude at all times, even when there are ups and downs. All of these influence interactions with internal and external stakeholders, which in turn play a role in determining whether your business will remain competitive and productive.
Speaking and Listening
The ability to listen, speaking effectively and communicating orally and in writing are critical soft skills. A common problem – and potential area of development – lies not with understanding the message that must be conveyed, but with considering how the receiver will interpret it. Employee development training that focuses on communication topics such as active listening, audience identification, interpreting body language and public speaking can help your staff build confidence, learn new skills and build on skills they already possess.
Teamwork and Conflict Resolution
Also vital is the capacity to work with others in person or remotely to achieve a common goal. This requires strong conflict resolution skills and the ability to give and accept criticism in a mature and healthy way. Teamwork is an opportunity to capitalize on the skills each member brings to the group and work on areas that need improvement. Team building exercises can be very beneficial in teamwork and collaboration training and development.
Adaptability and Autonomy
Adaptability covers a wide spectrum of skills. Employees who can set priorities, manage their time and respond well to changing conditions and work assignments are among the most valuable. Adaptability also involves the ability to remain open to new ideas and methods for accomplishing tasks. Training related to developing and improving prioritization and time management skills is vital to creating an adaptable workforce. This area also relies on an employee’s inner character as it relates to things like accountability, ethical behavior and a respect for diversity. While formal training can helpful to lay the groundwork, mentoring and leading by example are also critical.
- LiveCareer: 14 Skills and Values Employers Seek in Jobseekers
- SalesForce: Here Are the Soft Skills Most Important to Your Business
- Inc.: A Crash Course in Communications
- Harvard Business Review: Your Scarcest Resource
- Mind Tools: Team-Building Activities: An Introduction
- Training Station: Effective Time Management Techniques To Teach Your Employees
- Inc.: How to Start a Mentoring Program
- Mind Tools: Leading by Example
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.