Lack of soft skills is costing you business
In this digital age both businesses and individuals are increasingly forgetful about the power of good old-fashioned people skills.
The fact of the matter is that all companies rely entirely on the people working within them, and that’s what determines their success. So, people skills really do matter, both internally and externally in business. Here are four key reasons why you need to think about people skills within your workforce.
Social skills help generate new business
Generating new business is crucial for any organisation, and it becomes much easier if those doing it have good people skills. Not only do people with strong interpersonal skills make a good first impression, but they’re more likely to be listened to and understood, whether they are dealing with colleagues within the business, or external clients.
We all know that good relationships are key in business, but few people realise exactly how much that ‘gut feeling’ matters when making decisions. The fact is, “98% of top salespeople identify relationships as the most important factor in generating new business.” (1) Social skills help to bring in the cash when it comes to sealing a deal.
Customer service matters more than ever
Businesses are increasingly moving online, however even companies which rely entirely on digital methods to communicate with their customers need great customer service representatives. Companies who focus on customer service via their social channels are enjoying great rewards, as “customers who feel engaged by businesses through social media spend on average 20–40% more with that business.” (2)
Empathy is a must-have skill
Another hugely important character trait which also stems from people skills is empathy. A person’s empathy allows them to see things from another’s perspective, a crucial skill in the success of any project which relies on teamwork.
This is one of those soft skills which isn’t widely talked about, but if a team is to work together effectively they can’t do so without empathy. Effective working relationships can mean success or failure in business. In fact, “the stress caused by having to work underneath a manager who lacks interpersonal skills is believed to cost American companies an estimated $360 billion every year”! (3)
People skills help us to understand one another
No two people are the same. We all have our unique quirks and different ways of expressing ourselves. Sometimes, particularly in business, people can come across in ways which they hadn’t intended. Having good people skills allows us to understand people better.
For example, a person who is particularly shy quite often comes across as rude. However, if your employees have good social skills, they’ll likely see past this and work to bring the person out of their shell, enabling a good working relationship where others might have faltered.
Pew Research Center published a study about the importance of people skills in business. They asked a national sample of adults to choose the single skill which is most important for children to learn, in order to succeed in the workplace. The study showed that “90% of respondents selected ‘communication’ as their answer.” (4)
Let’s talk about people skills
People skills might help in the workplace, in terms of teamwork, project management, empathy, relationship building and customer service. So it’s time to renew the focus on improving people skills in business.
Employees with good people skills are immensely valuable to businesses, and can really impact the success of any company. Companies which choose to invest in training soft skills are sure to reap the rewards in the short, medium and long term.
Thomas Buus Madsen is the COO and co-founder of Bookboon, the world’s largest e-book publisher for employee effectiveness and soft skills. By making its platform incredibly easy to use and only publishing industry-leading experts, Bookboon boasts some of the highest usage rates in the digital learning sector.