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Sept 7

6 min read

Are soft skills crucial to prepare my organisation for the future?

The demands of employees for the perfect workspace are changing – there's no doubt about it. Whether it’s the switch to remote or hybrid working, flexible working hours, building a company culture or introducing a new business model: we can all agree that change is inevitable. Because, as the saying goes, change is the only constant. Hence we ask the question: are soft skills crucial to prepare my organisation for the future?

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Most desired skills are no longer technical

As the work environment is changing, so are our expectations of what type of skills we require to ensure employee success. According to reputable corporate learning analyst Josh Bersin, the most desired skills are no longer technical, but behavioural: the so-called soft skills. Or as we like to call them: power skills. We strongly agree with Bersin's point of view. We'll explain why.

Why soft skills are the power skills of the 21st-century workforce

So, what does this mean for the future work environment? What is the difference between hard skills and soft skills, and what makes soft skills so powerful? Let us explain. For starters: hard skills have always been the driving force of the labour market. If you’re the best at a specific work requirement – you get the job.

For example, if you’re the best at building websites, that web developer position is for you. But what if you can’t communicate with your colleagues, make your own planning for the day, or don’t have the willingness to adapt to change? That’s where power skills come in.

Power skills are behavioural skills that can’t be replaced with a new computer or a system update. They can be seen as a bundle of personality traits, mindsets, abilities and experiences. These power skills are something that takes years to learn and are constantly changing. Possessing power skills aren’t only the ‘new hire requirements’, it is also crucial for senior management.

New employees fail because they lack soft skills

A study by IBM shows that almost half of the university graduates already have the right hard skills they need to enter the workplace, but it’s the skills for problem-solving, teamwork, business understanding and leadership that they’re missing.

Research conducted at the 2020 SHRM Talent Conference confirmed that and even showed that 46% of new employees fail within the first 18 months. Not less than 89% of these newcomers fail because of a lack of soft skills. 

And if that's not enough to convince you, did you know that companies see a substantial return on investment when offering soft skill courses for their employees? Research done by Harvard University, Boston University and Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, showed that training in soft skills produced a 256% ROI as well as a 12% higher team productivity.

Soft skills lacking in leadership teams according to employees

Do we see a similar trend among leadership teams? Research conducted by GoodHabitz in collaboration with the research agency Markteffect, confirmed that employees clearly notice a lack of soft skills with their managers.

 

Employees also stated what they want their leaders to improve on. The results indicated that 28% wanted their leaders to improve their communication skills. The second most desired leadership skill (24%) is creating team spirit, another 23% saw a lack of empathy in their leadership team, 22% wanted a more inspirational leadership style and to top it off, 22% wanted more focus on mental health at work.

Discover a fresh perspective on learning

Let's get to the core of the question: Are soft skills crucial to preparing my organisation for the future? The answer is yes, they are. Soft skills are becoming more and more important and even play a vital role in employee happiness. 

 

Luckily, power skills can be taught with the right training. For example, the online learning library of GoodHabitz consists of courses that help employees develop their soft skills. From effective communication, to giving feedback, to presenting

BDO Consultancy: the evolution from technical to soft skills

Technical skills, use of numbers and conducting business audits are all very common themes at an accounting and advisory firm. But what happens when you lack time management, leadership, and the adaptability to change? The accounting and advisory company BDO realised that to continuously grow as a company and ensure successful work processes, they also had to offer their employees courses in soft skills.

 

Developing your power skills takes years of experience, but also the right training. Together with GoodHabitz, BDO could fill in the gap of the missing skills and offer their employees a variety of courses. 

 

The Senior L&D Advisor of BDO said that their employees were very happy with the courses of GoodHabitz. Even in a number-based and technical work environment, soft skills can be adapted quickly. As long as you use the right tools.