Soft skills are in short supply these days across all industries, jobs, and types of employees. Soft skills are the skills we need to “get along” with others—whether those others are clients, customers, vendors, or colleagues.
Unfortunately, most employees haven’t been taught soft skills in school, especially in high school. Many come to the job lacking important skills in effective communication, conflict management, negotiation, delivering and receiving feedback, and more.
Soft skills aren’t just something needed by employees in customer service or retail settings. In fact, tradespeople also need soft skills—and, in some instances, they may need these skills even more critically than employees working on the front lines with customers.
Unfortunately, blue collar workers tend to fare worse than their white collar colleagues in exhibiting the soft skills required by today’s employers. A LiveCareer study analyzed thousands of resumes and found that “blue-collar applicants fared worse than white-collar counterparts at matching their resumes to employer-desired skills. The study found white-collar candidates matching hard skills 184 percent better and soft skills 42 percent better than blue-collar jobseekers.”
Soft skills are required to interact with people in any setting—from colleagues to customers. Regardless of the type of work you do, or the setting, having well developed soft skills can boost job performance.
Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute says: “Movers are a perfect example of why soft skills training matters. Movers are frequently required to perform physically demanding tasks and must be able to lift heavy objects, but they also need to interact with customers and resolve conflict. Movers who lack soft skills training may be able to do their job in the literal sense, but they will not be able to provide the same level of service as those who have been trained in how to properly communicate and interact with customers.”
Some soft skills are lacking to a higher degree than others.
Chad Brinkle is owner and founder of High Country Offroad, a Jeep Wrangler after market parts provider. “In my experience managing blue-collar workers, I've found that the biggest soft skills lacking are communication and management,” Brinkle says. While employees may be hired into a job, they’re not likely to be promoted if they lack important soft skills, Brinkle says. “It's important to know how to work with other employees and customers as well as how to prioritize one's work,” he says. “I would say communication, interpersonal, leadership, and decision-making skills are vital to have.”
His perspectives are supported by research. The top five soft skills employers list in job ads, according to LiveCareer, include:
Those lacking these skills, or needing to improve them, can turn to training can help. Today, digital or online training can be made available 24/7/365, providing employees with the ability to learn, and refresh, their skills whenever they need to use them.
“It is essential that businesses working with a blue collar workforce invest in soft skills training for their employees,” says Haley.
Deloitte says that learning new skills has never been easier and that workers must continually do so just to stay relevant. Today’s pressures, they say: “is often extending beyond just ‘hard’ or technical skills.” Employers, Deloitte says, “are asking their workforce to deliver value through ‘human capabilities’,” or soft skills.
Soft skills are fluid, as is employees’ need for information and education to help them develop and hone their soft skills. It’s not about attending a once a year session, or about quarterly or even monthly updates. Today’s digital technology means that employees can have ongoing access to the training and information they need to hone their soft skills.
GoJob can help. GoJob offers on-demand training, including soft skills training for employees. We encourage you to check out what we have to offer.