Workplace skills promote a high level of professionalism and increase productivity in the workplace. Employers value these skills and always look out for candidates who exhibit them. If you're looking for a job, it's useful to show employers that you possess these skills in your resume. Employees can also build and improve on these skills to improve work performance. In this article, we look at what workplace skills are, the top 10 workplace skills all employees can benefit from, and ways to improve them.
What are workplace skills?
Workplace skills are skills that support your daily activities in the workplace and ensure your productivity and success. They are useful skills for both securing a job and growing your career. Workplace skills can be grouped into two categories:
Soft skills are the attributes that help you relate to other colleagues and client while achieving an organization's goals and objectives. These skills are common and relevant in every role. Examples of soft skills include:
- communication skills
- critical thinking
- time management
- conflict management
- emotional intelligence
- work etiquette
Hard skills, or technical skills, are gained through formal education, experience, and training. You need to be proficient in such skills before you can successfully take on a job that requires them. Examples include:
- IT skills
- data analytics
- specialized medical skills
Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
10 must-have workplace skills
The following are workplace skills that every employee needs to have to thrive in an organization:
1. Communication skills
At every point in your career, you'll need to use your communication skills to sell your idea, strategy, or products to others. Communication skills are needed in many situations, like delivering team presentations, making profound contributions during conversations with others, or writing business proposals. You also need to have strong communication skills to supply accurate information to clients via any medium.
Every employer looks out for problem-solving skills in potential new employees. Showing you have these skills assures them that you can manage situations independently. You must be able to assess challenges and identify the underlying source of any problem to find suitable solutions. These skills also help you find long-lasting solutions within a short time frame, which is important in any workplace today.
Adaptability is necessary for you to thrive in any workplace. As an employee, you must have a passion for self development and growth to accommodate new ideas, techniques, and responsibilities. With adaptability as a skill, you can easily make adjustments to suit changes in the workplace. You should also be able to adapt to different workplace cultures and work effectively with various teams.
Negotiation skills are an effective tool any employee should have. You need negotiation skills for closing deals with clients, settling disagreements between colleagues, discussing terms of contracts, or trying to extend deadlines for projects.
For instance, if you think you deserve a raise or a promotion, you need strong negotiation skills to discuss this with your employer. Negotiation skills are also valuable when drafting contracts with clients or assigning roles to team members. A good negotiator also considers the other party to find mutually beneficial agreements.
Leadership isn't just about delegating tasks, managing projects, and giving deadlines to team members. It also involves taking on responsibilities and delivering results to meet company goals. However, you don't have to be promoted to a managerial position to exhibit leadership skills in the workplace.
You can show leadership skills in any role by leading by example. And by acting as a leader, your ability to influence, motivate, and encourage colleagues positively at all times is vital for the company's success.
Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples
Empathy is to imagine being in other people's condition. You can use it to relate to your colleagues' emotions and feelings. This is beneficial when working in a team environment and making people's thoughts and opinions feel valued. It helps you build trust and healthy working relationships with your peers. It's also effective in sales roles when relating to customers.
Empathy is a key factor for building strong social connections, which is very important for collaboration in the workplace. Empathy makes it easy for you to understand what people are feeling or going through and respond appropriately to those feelings.
Creativity means the ability to make use of ideas and solution-oriented imagination to approach a situation. Being creative involves trying out something with a fresh approach, developing new and clever ways to solve a problem, and improvising plans. Creative employees always question processes and look out for ways to improve. Employers value people who can come up with unique ideas and solutions to challenges.
8. Time management
Time management helps employees prioritize tasks in their order of urgency and importance. To ensure efficiency and organization in the workplace, you must be conscious of the time allocated for projects and tasks to meet deadlines. When you manage your time effectively, you deliver quality work on time, become more productive, and create even more time for your leisure and recreation.
9. Technical skills
Technical skills play a vital role in the daily operations of every workplace. These skills vary drastically between roles and industries, but can be transferrable in some cases. For example, understanding data analytics is a technical skill that can apply to several roles.
Technical skills are quantifiable abilities specific to a role or industry. For example, performing a surgical operation on a patient is a technical skill that only well-trained medical professionals can do successfully. Roles in the scientific, mechanical, medical, artistic, and IT sectors commonly require extensive technical skills.
Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples
Teamwork is a workplace skill that contributes to the overall success of an organization. Teamwork skill includes paying attention to the contributions of your team members, embracing other employees' suggestions, and sharing responsibilities. Working as a team leads to better execution of plans and goals.
Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples
How to improve workplace skills
Regardless of how experienced or successful you are in your career, there's always room to improve on new and existing skills. Here are some ways you can work on them:
1. Set goals
Having set objectives to pursue within a particular time frame helps ensure you improve. Your goals could be short- or long-term, but regardless of the time frame, they need to be realistic. You improve your workplace skills subconsciously when you maintain the drive to achieve these goals. This is because you track your progress at intervals, which keeps you accountable and on track.
2. Organize yourself
The way you organize yourself starts with planning your day. Planning your daily activities makes you prioritize urgent tasks and come up with strategies on how to balance other needs. Organizing yourself helps you be productive and meet deadlines.
3. Ask for feedback
You can discover how well you're doing currently by seeking others' opinions about your workplace skills. Constructive criticism gives you an outside opinion and points you toward skills you could improve. It helps you assess your current performance and think of new ways to improve.
4. Avoid distractions
Avoiding distractions ensures you don't lose sight of important factors that contribute to your development. You must be able to avoid distractions so you can achieve the goals you've set out for the day. For example, you can turn off your phone for set periods during the day when you need to focus.
5. Engage in healthy competition
Healthy competition in the workplace promotes productivity and motivates you to improve your workplace skills. You could speak to your colleagues or manager about finding ways to promote healthy competition in the workplace.
6. Engage in trainings regularly
Attending training and seminars in the workplace helps improve your skills. This gives you the chance to learn additional skills that can boost competencies. You can attend conferences, networking events, or take online or in-person courses on various topics to improve your workplace skills.