Top Five Soft Skills You Need for the Workplace

Drake Editorial Team

Employee soft skills such as problem solving, self-motivation, and interpersonal skills are the bed rock of every aspect of your business operations. A joint study by three universities, including Harvard, uncovered that soft skills delivered a whopping 250 percent return on investment.

Although technical skills will always be important, with employees shifting significantly to working remotely and/or from the office in a hybrid working model, certain soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and work ethic have become even more essential.

Recently, Drake International conducted a survey with over 100 employers with flexible working models. The purpose was to obtain insight on which soft skills were viewed as most critical to productivity in a flexible working world. Here are the top 5:

  1. The Power of Communication

Staying on the same page with teammates and supervisors is complex and more so when everyone is dispersed. The cohesive link is the ability for everyone to communicate effectively.

Team members need to communicate ideas clearly to secure buy-in and prevent misunderstandings. They also need the ability to listen to build trust and strong relationships.

  1. The Advantage of Being Adaptable

When things don’t go as planned, you need to quickly pivot. Organisations need employees who embrace new challenges calmly and adapt rapidly.

In the interviewing process, look for flexible thinking and the ability to navigate uncertainty with confidence — an especially important trait in today’s fast paced world.

  1. The Ability to Work Smarter & Manage Time

Working smarter is about managing time.  When time is tight and pressures are high, more needs to get done in fewer hours. The focus must shift from activities to results, and prioritising. Flex working employees need to be self-motivated and manage their time exceptionally well. Drake International’s survey ranked time management as a top 3 soft skill for flexible working arrangements.

Without managing your time, workflows are inefficient, deadlines are missed, and there are higher stress levels for everyone. You need to hire employees who can efficiently prioritise tasks, take on new projects, and manage deadlines without constant supervision.

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  1. Strong work ethic and teamwork

Team members must trust and rely on each other to accomplish goals. With flexible working arrangements, it can be challenging to develop a cohesive team unit as you need everyone to be ‘rowing the same way’.

Individuals with a strong work ethic exhibit a particular set of values and behaviours. These characteristics make them stand out as highly coveted team members and make tremendous employees.  Cooperation, integrity, responsibility, trustworthy, reliable, dedication along with collaboration are some of the key characteristics to look out for with your next hire and are a welcomed addition by the wider team.

  1. The Crucial Skill of Problem Solving

Solving problems quickly and effectively is a vital soft skill. Leaders need employees who can think for themselves rather than asking for help every time something goes askew. Problem solving is a critical part of daily life for individuals and organisations. It requires a combination of analytical and creative thinking.  It is so important for employees to be able to identify and overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue and only seek help when they need it.

In the flexible working environment, you need to consider hiring individuals and build teams who possess the powerful and critical soft skills that will boost productivity, retention, and return on investment. With the upward trend of companies moving towards a hybrid working model, in makes good business sense when recruiting a new employee to not only focus on the technical skills but also the essential soft skills.

The good news is you can remove the guesswork and find out what highly valued soft skills a candidate has. By incorporating behavioural assessments and behavioural interviewing techniques into your hiring process, you will gain valuable insights into certain behaviours and attributes to guide your selection decisions.


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As an employer, you need to understand key soft skill such as decision-making, communication style, motivational needs, agility as well as a candidate’s ability to self-monitor and manage before you hire.

Soft skills are closely linked with a person’s character. Our Drake P3 online, scientifically based, behavioural and personality assessment reveals a person’s natural tendencies.


Looking for more information on developing your personal brand? Contact Drake today!



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