Why soft skills are so popular in L&D

by John Hilton18 Jan 2016
Aside from operational skills, soft skills such as conflict resolution and communications skills are very popular with employees at the moment, according to Andrew Morris, Director at Robert Half.

This is because the soft skills are the things that will help employees progress in a range of areas, including getting along with colleagues better, improving relations with different departments and being able to persuade people with better lines of arguments.

“It’s really the soft skills that people seem to get a lot out of,” Morris told L&D Professional.

“Obviously the operational skills are also very important, but those people who are able to develop their communications skills are often the same people who are able to progress through an organisation and be able to take the next step.”

Morris added that if you have a look at employees in a lot of organisations, it’s not generally the people who have the best IQ who are the top performers.

Rather, it’s those individuals who have streets smarts and the ability to communicate at the highest level, he said.

“They are the ones that certainly progress faster than the people with just the operational skills only.”

Morris argued that it’s hugely beneficial for managers to sit down with staff to work out what training and development they need.  

“If you can sit down and plan out training and development opportunities that certainly helps with staff retention,” he said.

“People want to progress, people want to be listened to, and by making sure they are getting the development they need, it will lead them to having a longer and happier career at an organisation.

“Staff turnover can really stifle the growth of any organisation if the best people there are not looked after.”