4 Soft Skills that are Important in the Workplace

With an increasing number of jobs and job scopes becoming automated in the past decade, soft skills remain a feature machines are, as of yet, unable to replicate and are thus increasingly important to have in the workplace.

26 January 2023

While hard skills showcase a person’s experience and technical prowess to their employers, soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that affect how well a person is able to work or interact with others. These skills determine how easy it is for someone to form trustworthy and dependable relationships with others which means soft skills are essential for success in the workplace.

Depending on the role you are applying for, different soft skills might be valued more than others but across the board, here are four soft skills that you should pick up for any office you might end up in.


Time Management

Time management is not about working harder, but instead about working smarter with properly planned workloads and schedules to ensure that deadlines are met. By managing your time well, you will be able to increase your productivity and improve your efficiency to deliver better work. There will also be a higher level of job satisfaction experienced as you will feel less stressed and burnt out.

Some ways to practice proper time management include making a list of tasks to help you visualise what needs to be done, and then prioritising tasks in order of importance. Try removing distractions when you are working by putting your phone away.


Empathetic Listening

In the workplace, being a good listener will come with definite perks. Empathetic listening will help you understand other colleagues in your workplace better, enabling you to improve partnerships with your peers and hence be able to collaborate with them more effectively. You can practise empathetic listening by slowing down and deliberately seeking to understand your peer’s inner worlds. It means taking in what the other is saying, or not saying, with the intention of understanding them better.

Aside from verbal cues, you can also start paying attention to non-verbal cues such as your colleagues’ body language, the pitch of their words and how fast they are speaking. Is the person you are talking to crossing their arms and turning away from you? Is the person lowering their voice or speaking very fast? These can all be signs to clue you in on how the speaker is feeling and thinking.


Open to Criticism

Though the word ‘criticism’ often carries with it a negative connotation, when it is given constructively, criticism can actually be a good thing. Being open to taking constructive criticism will allow you to know how you can improve your performance which will position you to be better able to tackle future challenges. When given effectively, criticism will benefit both the organisation and the individual.

It can be hard for anyone to receive criticism, after all everyone is usually trying their best in the workplace and being told your best is not good enough can sting. Try to see constructive criticism as a useful tool for your long-term growth and development as well as a stepping stone to better your performance in the workplace.


Public Speaking

Being skilled in public speaking is often a highly prized soft skill among employers as it demonstrates your ability to think critically and creatively. Public speaking also showcases a person’s professionalism and leadership abilities.

A more introverted person may feel less comfortable speaking in public, making public speaking situations nerve-wracking and stressful. For such people, it is best to prepare in advance. Be sure to take note of both your verbal and non-verbal cues, and look confident and enthusiastic while maintaining eye contact with your audience. You will also want to prepare and practice your speech beforehand to ensure lesser mistakes are made.

As more employers start to realise the importance of both hard and soft skills, it will be increasingly vital for employees to be able to demonstrate these soft skills mentioned above. If you need advice on how to develop such soft skills, you can get in touch with the Career Connect Office at careerconnect@sim.edu.sg