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Top 3 most important soft skills employees need – and how to help develop them

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With a focus on learning and development (L&D), helping employees develop and grow professionally can help keep employees engaged and reduce turnover. Plus, it simply turns your people into stronger workers. 

As important as technical skills are, they aren’t the only piece of the puzzle. Soft skills are an invaluable part of L&D. In fact, a report by Miro found that almost all employees agreed that learning a new skill can help them “recession-proof” their jobs. 

But it can be hard to know which skills to focus on – or how to help workers cultivate them. Luckily, the report also uncovered the most important soft skills workers need for their current roles. Here’s what they are – and how to help employees improve them. 

1. Problem-solving

Miro’s report found that 36% of knowledge workers ranked problem-solving as the top soft skill needed for their role.

Why it matters: There are many other skills wrapped up in problem-solving, like critical thinking, decision-making and creativity. An employee with strong problem-solving skills can be more innovative, creative and proactive when issues arise. 

How to help employees: It’s imperative to let employees figure out their own problems – when it’s appropriate – to help hone problem-solving skills. A lot of problem-solving abilities come from hands-on experience, so you may want to encourage employees to tackle challenges or take risks – and then help employees work through problems with structured problem-solving methods.

2. Leadership

Thirty percent of respondents ranked leadership as the top soft skill. 

Why it matters: No matter what position you’re in – whether you’re in the C-suite or an intern – leadership skills can be invaluable for any employee or leader. It can make you more confident, more adaptable and a better communicator.  

How to help employees: Employees with the autonomy to make their own choices and work independently have a sense of ownership of their own work. Offering leadership training through continuing education or a mentorship program can also help employees develop their skills.

3. Communication 

The report found that 28% of knowledge workers considered communication to be the top soft skill they needed. Communication was also ranked as a top skill for managers and teams.

Why it matters: Good communication can make or break a team. It helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and keeps employees productive and accountable. Plus, when issues do arise, it can help them get solved more quickly. 
How to help employees: If an employee is struggling with communication – or you just want to give them a refresher – try one-on-one coaching to help practice communication essentials like word choice and body language. 

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