The importance of soft skills

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Posted by: JasmineThompson
Posted on: 14/11/2022

By Lauren Hunt-Newham, Generation Next marketing and communications placement

Soft skills are some of the top priorities that companies pay close attention to in employment. In 2019, LinkedIn found in its Global Trends Report that 92% of talent professionals and managers agree that soft skills are increasingly important to the business.

Some of the skills you’ve picked up through school, university and past employment experiences, that can often be overlooked, help you to succeed in your workplace and contribute to career progression.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills define your personal attributes that determine how you work and cooperate with others. In the workplace, they represent our ability to work effectively and harmoniously with others, which is why they are valued by employers.

These skills are often established throughout your whole life, but can still be taught and developed – and the value of these skills is a lot more impactful than you believe.

A well-rounded successful professional will have a large collection of strong soft skills, which can range from communication, time management, adaptability, to emotional intelligence.

In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the key soft skills you’ll need to help you thrive in the workplace.


Effective communication measures your ability to converse with others in the workplace. It isn’t just being able to communicate verbally in a confident manner, it also includes non-verbal actions, as well as writing and listening skills. Bringing new ideas to the table and communicating your views is a key skill that organisations desire.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, hybrid working has been adopted by many businesses and employees, due to the benefits around flexibility. This sudden change in working environment has meant that communication has become one of the most useful skills to have in a job role so you can give off a positive impression in-person and remotely.

You can improve you communication by simplifying your messages – make sure they are direct, and easy for others to understand.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control your emotions, while being able to empathise with others around you.

It is made up of a combination of:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Having the ability to think before you act, to say no when needed, and be conformable with change, means you are already on the right tracks to having powerful emotional intelligence, and this will help you create positive and productive relationships in the workplace.

Building your self awareness can be key to improving your emotional intelligence while at work. Truly understanding yourself will help you regulate your emotional responses to situations.

Whether they be good or bad reactions to a conflict situation at work, a negotiation or a team meeting, self awareness will allow you to evaluate your own response or performance. In the long run, this will help you become more confident in your decision making as you will become more aware of others around you and have the ability to think and adapt your own emotional responses.

Generation Next tip: Reflecting on your work after a major project or commission can be a good way to improve your self awareness as it enables you to consider your actions and whether if you had reacted differently in a situation, if the outcome would be positive or negative.


You will regularly find you work with people who each have their own strengths, weaknesses, strong beliefs, communication styles, and their own aspirations. Being able to control, and work well with a diverse team is an essential skill for a young professional.

Solving problems to get the best possible solutions becomes easier through collaboration. Becoming a key player in a team will not only build your collaboration skills, but also significantly improve your communication styles, time management and emotional intelligence.

You can improve this skill by getting out of your comfort zone, getting involved with team projects, and working on your communication skills.

A good first step is to build your professional network through membership organisations, which not only improves your social and communication skills but can lead to collaborative opportunities.

Time management

Work can get busy at times, causing tasks quickly build up to an overwhelming level of actions. Knowing how to manage your time is an essential skill.

Being able to break down larger tasks and organise and identify the importance of each one is a good start to managing your time well.

Having time management under control will bring nothing but benefits for yourself – it will allow you to be more productive, creative and give you a more positive mindset.

Generation Next tip: Having a diary and using it to plan your day is an effective way to keep track of your workload and set your priorities.


The ability to embrace change and challenges with a positive and resourceful attitude is a crucial skill in the workplace. Unexpected problems are a regular occurrence in the modern workplace so being able to adapt in a calm manner and find solutions quickly will help you stand out.

Observing colleagues or asking the advice of a mentor is a good way to learn how one can improve adaptability. Usually those in senior positions will demonstrate this, so should have some tips or tricks you can learn from on how they approach situations.

Active listening

Paying close attention when in meetings so you know what needs to be done and the goings-on of a project is a must-needed skill to ensure you are an effective part of a team.

If you struggle to concentrate in meetings, challenge yourself not to look at your various devices, and focus completely on speakers, and take notes to look back on.

In conclusion

Soft skills are vital as a professional in the workplace. Each skill interlinks with another skill – for example, solid communication and powerful emotional intelligence allows you to work better within a team, and become a good collaborator. Each bounces off one another, which is why it is so valuable to develop your soft skill set to become a well-rounded worker.

Through our social events and educational webinars, Generation Next can assist you in developing a collection of soft skills. Alongside our document portal via our website, we design our events programme to cover a range of topics in business, which you can transfer to your workplace and develop throughout your career.

The Generation Next mentoring scheme can also help you make useful connections with senior business leaders who can coach you through problems or decisions in the workplace.

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