The importance of soft skills training in the workplace

Soft skills, such as communication and creativity, are just as important as ‘hard’, job-specific skills. But employers sometimes shy away from providing training on these people-centred topics. So here we look at why soft skills are important, and why they can be improved through workplace training.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the ‘life skills’ that help us interact effectively with other people, solve problems and generally navigate through life effectively. Unlike ‘hard skills’, they’re not specific to a job or task, but can be applied to almost everything we do. Examples of soft skills include:

  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Effective communication
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy


Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Soft skills are vital to workplace success. Take creativity, for example. According to an IBM study, one of the major challenges facing organisations today is increasing complexity. In the same study, CEOs identified creativity as “the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.”

Workplace stress is on the rise, and according to the Health and Safety Executive, relationships are among the six leading causes. Communication skills, empathy and leadership qualities – all soft skills – can contribute to more effective workplace relationships. Conversely, where leaders find it difficult to connect with and understand colleagues, there’s an increased risk of stress. It could even lead to claims of bullying, absence and increased turnover.

A 2011 study by CareerBuilder found that 71% of hiring managers value emotional intelligence over IQ.

Can soft skills be learned through training in the workplace?

The short answer to whether soft skills can acquired through training in the workplace is yes. Sure, skills like communication may not come as naturally to some as it does to others. But techniques such as active listening and awareness of nonverbal cues can absolutely be taught.

Studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of creativity training. One study found that around 90% of programmes produce positive results.

The challenge is perhaps less in the actual teaching, but in engaging people with the idea of softer skills training. Participants must be genuinely willing to examine their own behaviours, and because this kind of training touches upon more personal topics, it has to be tackled sensitively.

It can help to use external specialists for this kind of training. Not only will you benefit from their expertise, you may also find that using someone extenal could help participants to be more open.

Examples of soft skills courses include:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Assertiveness skills
  • Effective communication
  • Coaching skills
  • Influencing skills


Find out more

If you’re interested in any of the above courses, get in touch. We offer expert training on a wide range of business skills subjects. We also offer courses on more specific vocational topics such as health and safety and first aid. Contact us via the form below or call 0207 112 8412.

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Four Seasons Healthcare Group

We had an urgent need to provide training in Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) across our business as a result of the challenges experienced during the first critical months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Knights Absorb worked with us to define a training solution that could be delivered in a ‘Covid-Safe’ manner that would enable us to reach our teams at our target sites within a tight time frame. They trained 277 of our team members across a 6 week period, providing the reassurance we needed to keep our teams and residents safe as well ensuring we were meeting regulatory requirements. The trainers were professional and sensitive to the needs of our homes at all times, and the feedback from everyone who attended the training has been fantastic.

United Response

Knights are now our preferred provider. The quality of training that Knights provides is exceptional. When it comes to Customer Service, Knights excel, in the many years of partnering with multiple companies, Knights are head and shoulders above the rest. Never phased by challenges that clients provide, Knights naturally deal with the issues, assess the need and make the correct decision for the customer. This is not to say they bend over or wilt when challenged, quite the opposite, they seem to scope issues and resolve them efficiently, a customer service ethic that is quite rare. Keep up the good work guys, it is noticed and appreciated.


Knights don’t use generic trainers but find the best trainer for the course and client. The trainers are specialists in their fields and have practitioner experience which I feel is always important when delivering to staff. Trainers discuss our needs before attending training and revise training to meet specific needs.


Knights have personalised courses to meet our learning and development needs. As predominately a learning disability/Autism provider we require trainers and courses that reflect these specific needs and Knights have delivered on this. All courses have met our requirements fully

Modus Care

Knights Training are an organisation that are easy to work with, reliable, operate a competitive straight forward pricing structure, offer an impressive range of courses and employ good quality trainers who have expert subject knowledge, certainly an organisation that I would recommend.