Why Do Soft Skills Matter?

Soft skills are a hard nut to crack.

Communication was identified as the skill most in demand across 100 major US metro areas by LinkedIn. A separate analysis of 960K job postings by the job board Monster also concluded that the ability to “communicate effectively” is a major skills gap.

That may be why more than 2000 talent professionals and executives identified soft skills as their #1 development priority for 2018, according to the 2018 Workplace Learning Report.

But why in a business world obsessed with data do soft skills matter?

People—and the companies who employ them—simply can’t succeed without being able to communicate, collaborate, and manage others. This is especially true for those who lead sales, marketing, and project teams.

92% of executives say soft skills are equally as important as, if not more important than, technical skills according to a WSJ survey.

For proof, look no further than your own work experience. The ability to communicate and work well with others often means the difference between success and failure.

How you communicate can mean the difference between…

  • Getting chosen for a high-profile project and getting sidelined.
  • Getting promoted and getting passed over.
  • Being a coworker people can trust and being one people roll their eyes at.
  • Being a leader people can rally behind and being one people ignore.

Soft skills are foundational to building relationships, to successfully leading teams and projects, and to creating an organizational culture that people enjoy being a part of.

Couple that with the shorter shelf life of technical skills today (thanks to the exponential evolution of technology) and it’s easy to see why soft skills are a great long-term investment.

Soft skills are evergreen. At least in the 200,000 years modern man has existed, they’ve never grown obsolete.

How will companies meet skyrocketing demand?

With demand for social and emotional skills (e.g., leadership and managing others) expected to rise 24% by 2030, companies are feeling pressured to keep pace.

How can today’s organizations close the ever-widening soft skills gap?

Hiring for these skills is one option, but it’s a costly one considering what it takes to recruit new talent. And it’s an approach that leaves behind the people who’ve already dedicated themselves to building and growing your company.

Plus, a whopping 89% of executives surveyed by the WSJ say that it’s difficult to find talent with those skills.

A better approach? Build soft skills from within.

It’s simply not true that soft skills are something you’re either born with or not.

They can and should be taught—or why else would talent developers, 35% of whom expect a budget increase this year, allocate the majority of their spend to it?

Shoring up the soft skills of your existing workforce can help increase engagement, improve moral, and achieve growth faster.

It can even boost retention of your top talent. LinkedIn reports that 94% of employees say they’d stay in a job longer if a company invested in their development.

Soft skills training profoundly transforms individual, team, and company performance.

We see it again and again with our own clients. But don’t just take our word for it. Read this CEO’s story.

See for yourself how a soft skills skeptic becomes a believer. Learn how his publicly traded company ignited a culture of openness and inclusion, amplified investor confidence, and improved equity performance through better communication.

Struggling with how to build your talent’s soft skills?

Start a conversation with us about how to build the right soft skills training and reinforcement program for your team.

Heather Muir

Heather Muir

As Vice President of Marketing, Heather directs Mandel’s marketing, branding, and communications strategies in collaboration with the Executive Team. In addition, Heather leads Mandel’s public- and industry-relations activities. Prior to joining Mandel in 2010, Heather held several marketing and communications roles within the learning and training industry. She is also an active member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), Training Industry, Inc.; eLearningGuild; and the Association of Briefing Program Managers (ABPM). Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis, and has completed graduate courses in business and entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.