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Soft Skills in the workplace

By: Tamara Papo

Published On: January 16, 2015


There are certain soft skills every company looks for in a potential employee. “Soft skills” refer to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that describe an individual's ability to interact with others. Companies value soft skills because research suggests and experience shows that they can be just as important an indicator of job performance as hard skills (specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measure). Developing soft skills is essential, as these skills are required elements for organizational and personal success.

Communication skills

To an employer great communication skills are essential. Employers consistently rank good communication skills at the top of the list of necessary skills for potential employees. One major challenge in the workplace is learning the specific communication styles of others and how and when to share your ideas and concerns. Learning how to listen carefully and when to ask for help is important. During an interview, employers are impressed by a job candidate who answers questions articulately. The interview can be indication to employers how the candidate will interact with supervisors, coworkers and customers.

Enthusiasm and Attitude

An “I can” attitude is a critical component of workplace success. Perseverance, punctuality, and a desire to learn are traits of a positive attitude, and in today's competitive job market, a positive attitude can be the difference between getting hired and being fired. Enthusiasm can make a difference in landing a job as well as advancing in your career. A positive and enthusiastic attitude is critical component of workplace success. When employees look for prospective candidates beyond skills, experience and training they look for those who demonstrate enthusiasm – people they believe will complete assigned tasks in an upbeat and cooperative manner. A positive attitude demonstrates that employees are willing to go above and beyond to get along with coworkers and will respond to constructive criticism with maturity and willingness to improve.


Teamwork is essential to ensuring organizational success. Employers look for candidates they feel will work well with others. Teamwork involves building relationships and working with other people using a number of important skills and habits:

  • Working cooperatively
  • Contributing to groups with ideas suggestions and effort
  • Communication
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Willingness to participate in group decision making

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Having the necessary skills to identify solutions to problems is one of the soft skills that employers are looking for in employees. Problem solving is the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Employers want employees who can work through problems on their own or as an effective team member. The ideal employee is one who can think critically and creatively share thoughts and opinions.


Professionalism is a key to success, regardless of industry. Employers value employees who are able to carry out their duties in professional manner. The ability to consistently produce high-quality work, honesty and integrity are important qualities for employees to demonstrate and can increase advancement opportunities.


Soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today's work force. It is no longer enough to possess strong technical skills without developing the interpersonal and relationship-building soft skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Soft skills are more critical than ever as organizations struggle to find meaningful ways to remain competitive and be productive.



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