Communicate, Collaborate and Grow–Sharpen your Soft Skills to Get Ahead

Employers Say Soft Skills are as Valuable as Hard Skills

You’re in line for a promotion at your place of business. You’re not the only one being considered. You know you have all the technical skills and “know how” to do the job. But, as it turns out, you don’t get it. What went wrong?

Say, you’ve recently graduated from college. You’ve trained for four years to learn how to be an asset in the marketing job you’ve applied for. You get hired, but within 18 months, you’re out. What happened?

Could it possibly be that you had all the skills, all the training—the KNOW HOW— to do the job, but possibly lacked the very necessary SOFT SKILLS to advance your career?

A 2019 survey found 77% of employers said soft skills are just as important as hard skills. While hard skills are the technical and learned aspects of how to do a job, soft skills relate to your behavior and how you perform on the job. Soft skills include important attributes such as the ability to communicate well, to be able to adapt and remain flexible when in unexpected and unplanned situations and whether you have a positive attitude and critical thinking skills. In fact, according to Mark Murphy, the author of Hire for Attitude, 46% of new hires fail in the first 18 months and of those new hires, 89% fail for reasons associated with attitude alone. Employers want employees who show initiative, take feedback well, know how to prioritize work, meet deadlines and collaborate with others. And since these skills aren’t taught in higher education or included in on-the-job training, all too often we learn them from the school of hard knocks.

Among the many necessary soft skills in order to succeed, interpersonal communication ranks as one of the most important. According to the Mitchell Communications Group, miscommunication costs businesses $37 billion (or $26K per employee) in the U.S. and U.K. every year. Some employers are saying interpersonal communication skills matter more in business than intelligence!

Good communication skills are vital and we’re talking about a lot more than talking! Being a good communicator is the ability to speak to a variety of individuals in person, on the phone, and in writing. Often overlooked, is the importance of being a good listener—the fact that you are empathetic with others and comprehend what is being said without misinterpreting. Other spokes in the communication wheel include:

  • Negotiation
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Persuasion
  • Public Speaking
  • Reading body language
  • Storytelling
  • Visual communication
  • Writing reports and proposals

Communication and collaboration go hand-in-hand. 86% of executives identify ineffective collaboration and communication as a major cause of failure in business. People approach communication in a variety of ways based on age, culture, diversity in experience and individual goals. This wide-ranging difference among individuals can cause defensiveness and conflict, creating barriers to collaboration. However, it’s the variety of perceptions and thought-processing, and the mere diversity of opinions that spawn new ideas and problem-solve. The key is to step outside of yourself and place yourself in another’s shoes, practicing empathy and deep listening.

Collaboration is Vital to Communication

The fact is, individuals are more willing to work with people they like. The ability to understand, communicate and influence can’t be overstated. 98% of top salespeople identify relationships as the most important factor in generating new business. These skills apply to productive co-worker relationships as well and largely impact the overall success or failure of a business. For example, the stress caused by having to work under a manager who lacks interpersonal skills is believed to cost American companies an estimated $360 billion every year. Keeping a positive attitude, especially in high-stress work environments, draws people to you and allows you the ability to influence and persuade others creating increased collaboration and enthusiasm.

Organizations that learn effective communication are nearly five times as likely to retain the best employees and employees who say they are able to be their authentic self at work are nearly three times more likely to say they are proud to work for their company. And businesses that communicate effectively are 50% more likely to have low employee turnover rates.

Soft skills training is needed now more than ever! Everybody Up is in the business of helping others thrive in the workplace with employee engagement and teamwork training. Recent surveys following our workshops have demonstrated that 84% of participants felt they were more innovative when their failures were celebrated; 100% felt the tactics covered helped their team to be more supportive of one another, 88% reported the skills they learned will help them avoid conflict and 96% felt they could more positively collaborative with their team. For more tips on skill building, check us out on YouTube. (link here)!

ABOUT FOUNDER, MELISSA LOVE: She spent the first 20 years of her career working the front lines with multi-million-dollar clients like Trump Entertainment Resorts, Rolls-Royce, Subway, Pizza Hut, Indiana Department of Transportation and Rolls-Human. In 2011 she fell into improv and found it could conquer her fear of public speaking and allowed her to always be her authentic self. Because of the strong connectedness and the 100% acceptance, it provided her a freedom she’d never experienced before. Shared laughter, shared positive experiences, strong community, stress relief and group therapy all rolled up together… That’s the power of improv. This is why she now provides workshops to companies nationwide to inspire human connection, kindness and laughter in the workplace. If you’re looking to build bridges that connect managers to their team and attract inspired employees to grow your business Everybody Up! can help. For more information, contact Melissa Love at 512-695-9144 or email her at [email protected].