A few months ago, I went to a career fair and interviewed some of the employers there including companies like Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Maybank, Uniqlo, Expedia and many more which also included law firms and engineering companies.
One of the questions I asked them was “What are the three most important soft skills that you look for in an employee?”
Here are the answers I received, starting with the most mentioned.
90% of the employers I interviewed mentioned Communication as the most important soft skill to have. The rest either ranked it second or third most important.
There are several reasons why Communication is considered to be vital. Firstly, an employee’s ability to communicate directly affects his ability to receive, give and share information. Misinformation is a problem that can lead to bigger problems so employers need people who can communicate well.
Aside from that, employees who can listen to instructions and instruct others correctly and appropriately without the need of unnecessary supervision are very valuable. Having to unnecessarily guide someone on every step of a process is a time-wasting (thus money-wasting) action. Having to repeatedly explain something is also disadvantageous.
2. Leadership & Teamwork
Many people consider these two to be separate skills but I believe you can’t have one without the other. You can’t be a good leader if you don’t know how to be a good follower.
Working in a company or a firm or any organisation means working with people whether it’d be colleagues or clients. This is why teamwork is very important. Work is done more efficiently when it is carried out by teams who work well with each other.
Teams also need leaders, a person to ensure that everything is being done correctly and properly. Leadership skills will not only contribute to better productivity but also better workplace relationships and employee satisfaction. This is due to the fact that good leaders are able to understand their teammates and treat them fairly while allocating them work that plays into their strengths.
The challenges you face in the workplace will not always be the same. There will be times where you will have to change your approach towards certain problems. This is why Adaptability is important.
From technological advancements to adjustments of work procedures, you will have to adapt to different conditions without losing efficiency and productivity. It is very advantageous if you put yourself through different challenges to train yourself to become more adaptive.
Simply put, Adaptability plays a role in every aspect of your work and it influences other soft skills including the two mentioned above. You must learn to communicate differently with different kinds of people. You must also change your styles of working together with people when you are placed in different teams. Needless to say, leadership styles are also required to change for different teams.