Putting Your Soft Skills to Work / by Foy Staley, HR Office Savers Inc.

By Foy Staley, Director of Business Development & Soft Skills Training for HR Office Savers, Inc.

For many of us, our parents and teachers instilled certain core values when we were young that typically included honesty, hard work, the importance of education, and being a team player.

They told us that we need to get along with others and work together. These “people skills” are important emotionally, socially, and academically.

 

Fast forward to adulthood, employers now are revisiting these core values as “soft skills” and there is a shortage in the workplace.

Here are three soft skills that employers look for and you should be integrating into your performance at work.

Communication

The words we speak, hear, write or read are just some of the ways we communicate. Sometimes, we communicate more through our tone of voice, body language and even through art and music (think memes and GIFs).

In order to effectively communicate with your managers, employees, clients, customers and each other, be aware of how you deliver the message as well as what you say. This requires the ability to not only express yourself clearly but also anticipate how your message will be received. Employing this skill will help you tackle difficult conversations.

Pro-tip: Email is one component of communication and businesses depend on it. When writing an email, check it to make sure it is professional, respectful and represents the company (and you) well.

Empathy

Empathy is perhaps the most important soft skill we can develop for better interpersonal interactions. Empathy is simply the ability to identify with another person’s experience.

Understanding or being open to another person’s perspective can widen your horizon and extend your own thinking. Empathy increases cooperation within work teams and can facilitate better decision making.

Pro-tip: Build empathy for others by asking questions and envisioning yourself in their place. This can lead to better solutions and deeper engagement.

Confidence

Confidence is the belief that you know what to do, how to do it, that you are good at what you do and that you can handle whatever comes your way.

Confidence is central to all other skills. Employers look for qualified employees with self-confidence in their abilities and skills. Self-confidence can help you to work under pressure and to adapt to changes in the workplace.

Pro-tip: One key trait of a highly self-confident person is that they build others up rather than tear them down.

In Conclusion

Soft Skills empower employees to work together and to reach goals which leads to improved performance, lower retention and increased productivity. The core values taught when we were young are now the skills that are critical in the working world. Everyone can take steps to enhance their soft skills through practice and training.

Foy Staley is the Director of Business Development and Soft Skills Training for HR Office Savers, Inc., an independent human resource consulting firm that supports local businesses and individuals with their human resource needs.

Promoting positive and sustained employment for both workers and employers!

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