Will 2024 be the Year of Soft Skills?

Bloomberg, Gallup, Manpower and other organizations that study the hiring market have been highlighting the growing importance of soft skills in recent years.  They tell us that soft skills such as communications, empathy and resilience are both highly valued and increasingly difficult to find.  This is especially true among junior and mid-level employees.  Read related blog: Gen Z in the Workforce.   

In years past, the presence of soft skills was considered a bonus, with functional/technical skills still the priority in hiring efforts.  2024 might be the year that shifts to soft skills as the priority.  After all, these are skills that matter throughout an employee’s career, whereas functional skills often become outdated relatively quickly.   

The most recent World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report says that 44% of workers’ core skills are expected to change in the next five years.  Job sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed are encouraging job seekers to both develop and promote their soft skills to stand out in the job search.   

TRACOM has been developing soft skills, we call them Social Intelligence, for decades. Millions of people have learned communications, emotional intelligence, resilience and innovation skills from TRACOM’s training programs.  Let’s look at some scenarios where each can have an important impact.  

Communications and Culture 

SOCIAL STYLE has become the corporate development program of choice among mid-size and large organizations because it helps support and create a common culture. The ability to recognize the behavioral preferences of others and then use that skill to improve relationships improves performance at the individual, team and organizational level.  These skills are especially beneficial with individuals or teams located in different geographies.  SOCIAL STYLE and Versatility lead to common purpose.  Sales and business development professionals also benefit greatly from understanding Style.   

Empathy and Understanding 

These skills are particularly important for teams that regularly work closely such as customer support teams or other functional business units.  Behavioral EQ takes the sometimes abstract concepts of Emotional Intelligence and turns into practical strategies that people can readily understand and apply in the workplace.  It helps develop empathy for others, leading to a more trusting and higher-performing team. 

Managing Change Productively 

Resilience has risen to the forefront in organizational performance during the pandemic and the ensuing workplace restructuring.  TRACOM’s Adaptive Mindset programs teach people how to overcome their natural resistance to change and overcome their negativity bias.  The result is reduced personal stress and less time spent focusing on negative thinking.  Resilient people find opportunities in change.  Organizations and teams that operate in quickly changing industries especially benefit from resilience training. 

Generating Innovation 

The flipside of productively responding to change is the ability to proactively create change.  TRACOM’s Personal Agility training teaches people and organizations tactics to be more innovative.  They are able to shape their futures rather than simply responding to external forces.  Organizations in highly competitive markets or cutting edge producte/services find agility training an important differentiator.   

As someone who graduated from a highly ranked business school (Arizona State University’s WP Carey School) in recent years, I can attest that most of what we were taught were functionally focused such as financial analysis, economics and current marketing practices.  Communications skills were occasionally referenced, but not emphasized in my program or those of many of my peers.   

Fortunately, these skills can be readily developed through external training and these skills have a snowball effect.  The more you use them, the better you get.  Contact TRACOM to make 2024 your year of Social Intelligence.