By Corporate English Solutions

11 March 2024 - 14:50

Why your organisation needs to develop soft skills

In the current dynamic workplace environment, navigating change, remaining sustainable, and preparing for future growth demand a keen focus on adaptability, innovation, and the cultivation of skills.  

There is growing evidence to show that soft skills are becoming equally, if not more important than technical skills in this context.  

Join us as we explore how soft skills can benefit you, your teams and your organisation, empowering success in today’s environment. 


Reading time: 6 minutes

The last few years have been transformative for organisations. Although the disruptive effects of the post-pandemic era have gradually diminished, there has been an acceleration in the evolution of technologies, strategies and ways of working.  

In this dynamic environment, navigating change, remaining sustainable, and preparing for future growth demand a keen focus on adaptability, innovation, and the cultivation of skills to not only meet the present challenges but also to anticipate and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. 

There is growing evidence to show that soft skills are becoming equally, if not more important than technical skills in this context. In a British Council survey, 35% of organisations reported prioritising soft skills over technical skills training, and 83% placed equal emphasis on both.  

How can soft skills benefit you, your teams and your organisation in today’s environment? 

Read on as we explore five crucial ways soft skills empower success.  

#1 Soft skill development enhances agility 

What roles will our organisations need in five, ten, twenty years’ time?  

It’s predicted that 85% of jobs available in 2030 don’t exist yet. Digital transformation, flexible working and a constantly evolving business landscape are changing skillsets needed for success. Our organisations need to be able to pivot, and pivot quickly, to remain viable.  

Which soft skills enhance organisational agility?  

Effective communication, adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and emotional intelligence empower teams to respond quickly to changes, navigate uncertainties, and innovate in the face of evolving challenges.  

By fostering a culture that values and cultivates these soft skills, organisations can adapt more readily to shifts in the business landscape, encourage continuous improvement, and maintain a nimble and responsive approach to their goals and objectives. 

#2 Soft skill development facilitates global working

Today’s marketplace is a global marketplace. And today’s workplace is increasingly diverse, with employees from a variety of cultural backgrounds, languages, work preferences and needs. These factors bring a richness to our organisations, with a blend of perspectives, experiences, and talents. 

Which soft skills facilitate global working?  

Intercultural competence, adaptability, communication, empathy, and open-mindedness are essential for building strong relationships with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds, navigating cross-cultural communication challenges, and fostering a harmonious and collaborative global work environment.  

Understanding why people interact, make decisions, distribute work and give feedback in certain ways is crucial to cultivating a culture of fairness, trust and feeling valued, boosting moral in multicultural contexts. And understanding others’ communication styles and conventions can help employees adapt to different situations, promoting effective collaboration and fostering an inclusive workplace where diverse voices are heard and respected. 

#3 Soft skill development supports flexible working 

Post-pandemic, flexible working is no longer seen as a perk, it’s a must-have for organisations wanting to attract and retain top talent.  This is redefining traditional notions of the workplace, transforming the way we work and emphasising the importance of adaptable structures that prioritise employee well-being and foster a dynamic and resilient work environment.  

Which soft skills support flexible working? 

Sustainable flexible working calls for in-depth flexible working skills that go beyond the basic skills in remote communication, digital literacy and self-management emphasised during the pandemic. Soft skills such as emotional intelligence (EQ), complex problem solving, strategic thinking, communication and intercultural skills are critical to employee wellbeing, self-leadership and collaboration in flexible working environments.  

These skills cultivate autonomy, self-motivation, and resilience, enabling employees to navigate complex challenges, bounce back from setbacks, adapt to changes, and maintain engagement. Developing soft skills builds relationships and trust, enhances collaboration and build cohesive teams in flexible work settings.  

#4 Soft skill development empowers organisations through digital transformation

Organisations are experiencing an unprecedented digital revolution, with the rapid pace of tech innovations and AI transforming our workplaces and daily tasks. Many of our organisations are redefining business strategies, adopting new technology and adapting processes to stay at the forefront of this dynamic technological landscape. And navigating the pace of change can be complex and challenging.  

Key to success is ensuring our teams have the skills needed to not only embrace and implement these advancements but also to continuously learn and adapt in this ever-evolving environment. While updating skills frameworks, a growing number of organisations recognise that it’s not only tech skills that matter. Soft skills lay the foundations for successful digital transformation.  

Which soft skills empower organisations through digital transformation? 

Navigating complexities calls for strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, creativity and innovation, and the ability to manage stress and build resilience. Emotional intelligence (EQ), communication and influencing skills and cultural intelligence (CQ) enable effective leadership and collaboration during transformation.  

These soft skills are crucial to maintaining a positive mindset during the challenges associated with digital transformation, gaining support and driving the transformative processes forward. And they also cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and adaptability, positioning teams to proactively navigate future changes in the ever-evolving technological landscape. 

#5 Soft skill development drives positive customer experiences

What is it you expect from the organisations you do business with?  

Like many customers with ever increasing choices, we tend to prefer working with organisations that provide personalised, empathic and responsive experiences. A positive customer experience not only grows loyalty but also creates advocates who are more likely to share their experiences, enhancing our organisations’ reputation and attracting new customers.  

Which soft skills drive positive customer experiences? 

Effective communication skills, such as active listening, questioning and empathy foster a sense of connection and ensure customers feel understood and valued. And skills such as emotional intelligence (EQ) problem-solving and conflict handling empower our teams to resolve customer complaints and issues in a proactive and positive way, enhancing overall customer satisfaction. 

By growing these soft skills, you can cultivate a customer-centric environment that strengthens relationships, builds trust, and promotes loyalty. This customer-focused approach not only addresses immediate concerns but also anticipates and meets evolving needs, creating a positive and lasting impact on the customer experience. 

Final thoughts

In today’s workplace context, the soft skillset is the driving force behind our organisations’ path to current and future success. Amidst the evolving landscape of skill requirements, talent acquisition, and retention challenges, it is crucial to reassess and enhance our teams' soft skills through continuous learning and upskilling initiatives

When planning these initiatives, ensure a strategic focus by aligning with your organisation’s mission, objectives and values and prioritising the fundamental soft skills that will result in the most significant impact. By doing so, you lay a robust foundation for employee growth, resilience, and long-term success.

British Council has over 80 years’ experience of partnering with organisations and individuals in over 200 countries. Our holistic, research-driven approach to learning and assessment and forward-thinking industry leading solutions empower growth and engage teams, positively impacting individuals and organisations.  

Partner with us to identify skills gaps and upskill your teams’ soft skills and unlock their learning power.   

Download our Professional Skills brochure  or book a free consultation .