With all the talk about disruption, digital technology, and the relevance of human intervention in sales industries like insurance broking and others, a recent report by Deloitte’s Access Economics reinforces the relevance of soft skills.

Not only does the report state that soft skills drive business outcomes, it goes on to highlight that these skills will become increasingly important to the success of businesses into the future:

The skills for future success

  • Two thirds of all jobs will be soft skills intensive by 2030
  • Soft skills of employees could increase revenue by more than $90,000 (average Australian business)
  • Demand for soft skills exceeds supply by up to 45 percentage points
  • Less than 1% of Australians report having any soft skills on their LinkedIn profile
  • One quarter of employers have difficulty filling entry level vacancies because applicants lack soft skills

Technical skills are important but are only part of the picture. As I’ve relayed in previous articles, an imbalance of technical training versus soft skills training can exacerbate the issue for sales people who become more comfortable talking and telling rather than listening, questioning, understanding and problem solving!

Soft skills will become increasingly important:

  • Soft skills intensive jobs will grow 2.5% faster than other jobs
  • 42% of businesses need leadership skills developed for the digital future

As Deloitte state, despite a lack of focus on soft skills in the national debate, they are critical to the success of both individuals and businesses.

Technology enhancements enable many routine technical tasks like operating machinery and bookkeeping to be automated. Yet in the 21st century businesses increasingly rely on critical thinking, emotional judgment and problem solving skills in their staff to not just understand what technology is saying but analyse why it is saying it and the advice around what should be done.

How soft skills are impacted by the way we think

Understanding the underlying preferences and sometimes bias that influences our interactions is important to being able to adapt and develop new skills.

We all have ‘thinking preferences’ that affect the way we view the world, relate to people and even run our businesses.

As part of our soft skills training programs we use a tool called Herrmann Brain Dominance instrument HBDI® which helps people to understand the way they prefer to think and how this impacts the way they communicate.

HBDI® is the world’s most widely used thinking preference tool and is an important step in understanding and adjusting our communication style and developing soft skills for both external and internal business use, and for life in general.

Measurement and investment

Given the importance of soft skills it is critical that businesses continue to gain an understanding of how they perform.

One of the challenges has always been how to assess the soft skills level within your organisation. In addition to programs like HBDI®, there are other assessment platforms and tools for a number of industries which allows businesses to assess and understand their employees’ on the job soft skills capability, their gaps and where to invest.

Effectively improving soft skills will bring significant benefits to individuals, businesses and economies. Contact me if you want to discuss what options might be a good fit for your organisation.

“Do we fully understand the workforce skills necessary for success? Formal qualifications and technical skills are only part of the requirements for modern employees. Soft skills and personal attributes are just as important.” –Deloitte Assess Economics