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Briah Handa Oakley 16.02.2023 5 min read

Workplace Soft Skills: You NEED them and Here's Why

Picture this: your company acquires a new team member, Jenny, who is highly skilled and knowledgeable in her technical field. She brings to the table years of experience and expertise but struggles with soft skills. She often interrupts others in meetings, fails to listen actively, and has a hard time collaborating with her other team members. Her emails are often blunt and lacking in empathy, which has led to misunderstandings and conflicts with her colleagues. 

Workplace environments of today are complex. To succeed in the modern workplace and build strong relationships with colleagues and professional contacts, it's all about honing your abilities to resolve conflicts, solve problems, have empathy, and network with others.

In this blog post, we offer insight into why the demand for soft skills is beginning to surge, and why training these soft skills is becoming the key tool for organizations to transition to the future of work.


What's In This Post?

  1. What are soft skills in the workplace?
  2. Why is it important to have soft skills?
  3. What are the top 10 most important soft skills?
  4. Developing soft skills for a successful workplace?

What are soft skills in the workplace?

Soft skills in the workplace refer to a set of interpersonal skills that are valued by employers and are not necessarily related to technical or job-specific knowledge. These skills are often also referred to as "people skills" or "emotional intelligence."

Retorio workplace colleagues hi5

Hard skills, on the other hand, are specific, quantitative, and job-specific skills that are typically acquired through formal education, training programs, or on-the-job experience. 

Examples of hard skills include:

  • Coding and Programming
  • Graphic design
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Accounting and finance
  • Project management

Retorio hard skills 2 people talking-1

Why is it important to have soft skills?

The need for soft skills is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

In the space of just a couple of years we've witnessed massive organizational shifts fuelled by the pandemic; meanwhile, artificial intelligence and automation are reshaping current workforce trends and catalyzing new ones. 

An organization needs to make sure they are equipped to mitigate risks so it can compete in the demanding, competitive, collaborative, and diverse environment we see today.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, by 2025, over 50% of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling to develop the soft skills necessary to adapt to the changing nature of work. So as technology continues to automate routine tasks, it's time to work on creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and complex problem-solving skills.

What are the top 10 most important soft skills?

Different industries and job roles will prioritize certain soft skills over others, and the importance of specific soft skills may vary depending on the context of a particular workplace. However, there are several soft skills that are widely recognized as being essential in many different industries and job roles. These soft skills include:

Active listening

Listening is often mistaken for hearing, a casual, ambient condition. But listening is much more than that. It is cerebral, mental, conscious, and decision-based. Listening is a skill. A skill that can be earned, practiced, and improved.

Communication skills Having good communication skills allows employees to effectively interact with team members and provide solutions to customer needs. This involves not simply speaking clearly and concisely, but also actively listening, asking questions to clarify understanding, and providing feedback in a way that is easy to understand.
Empathy Empathy involves having the capability to perceive the emotions of others, understand their viewpoint, and imagine their potential thoughts or emotions. 
Patience Patience involves taking the time to listen to others' concerns, ask clarifying questions, and provide practical solutions without becoming frustrated, upset, or dismissive.
Flexibility The last couple of years have taught us well enough the importance of flexibility and adaptability. And it seems like its importance is only going to increase. 
Positive attitude

When employees have a positive attitude, it can easily spread and have a profound positive effect on other colleagues.

Conflict resolution Conflict resolution skills refer to the ability to effectively manage and resolve conflicts or disputes in a professional and respectful manner.
Continuous learning mindset We are witnessing an ever-developing business landscape, and employees need to keep learning to remain relevant and in demand.
Time management  By managing time effectively, employees can ensure they attend to people's inquiries and issues promptly, leading to quick results and higher customer satisfaction.
Negotiation skills Negotiation skills are the ability to effectively communicate and reach an agreement with customers in a mutually beneficial way. This becomes crucial when employees are resolving customer complaints and finding mutually acceptable solutions, de-escalating difficult situations, and overall improving customer satisfaction.


Developing soft skills for a successful workplace 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in learning and development (L&D) due to the fact that they improve efficiency and effectiveness, and trains not only hard skills but also the vital soft skills needed in a thriving workplace.

AI technologies help personalize learning experiences for employees in the workplace, provide real-time feedback, and create an immersive training experience to help employees retain information better.

Retorio's AI-powered behavioral intelligence platform is one example of an AI-powered training platform using immersive videos to help employees around the globe accelerate their social and emotional skills for improved corporate performance. 

Retorio Training and Development 4Retorio's video-powered soft skill training program allows for companies to set up personalized learning at scale. Companies can set up new training programs for their entire team in minutes, measure & maximize the ROI of their existing learning content, and create personalized learning paths for each participant.

Want to try out Retorio's behavioral intelligence platform for yourself?

Try it today


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The Top 3 Soft Skill Examples from Top Performers
The #1 Soft Skills Training Course for your Sales Team
Soft Skills Assessment: Test your Soft Skills Online Now


1. What are the benefits of training soft skills with AI?

  • Interactive video simulations mean users are actually engaged
    No more wasting time and money on passive soft skills training sessions that employees aren't motivated for. AI platforms let employees perfect their skills with highly interactive real-world scenarios.
  • It's scalable - the training program grows as your company grows
    Unlimited scalability of customized training means your training can grow as your company grows.
  • Goodbye to lengthy onboarding processes
    Scalable, interpersonal simulations and job role-plays make it possible to ramp up times for training new and existing employees.
  • Real feedback, in real-time.
    The AI provides immediate feedback for trainees so they can understand on the spot where to improve.
  • Train when you need, make mistakes and improve at your own pace.
    Build a peak-performing team by creating the opportunity for employees to perfect their skills regularly with ongoing analysis and feedback.


2. How do soft skills help you in the workplace?

Soft skills are becoming crucial in the workplace. They are the important attributes that help employees effectively navigate and succeed in the workplace. They are personal qualities, habits, and attitudes that contribute to effective communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership. 


Briah Handa Oakley

I work as part of the marketing team at Retorio, conducting in-depth content strategy at the intersection between artificial intelligence and L&D. I cover emerging technology and the latest advancements in AI technology and ultimately fuse technical knowledge with storytelling skills.