Important Soft Skills for Working in Canada

Important Soft Skills for Working in Canada

 

The Story of Juan

Meet Juan. Juan worked hard while he was in college. He studied every day and built up the technical skills and know-how needed for the job market. As a result, he graduated with above-average grades, and the confidence to take on the world.

However, once Juan landed his first job and began working, he started to feel that he was missing something. Sure, he had the technical skills to do his job well, but his coworkers seemed to be more productive, better team workers, and clearer communicators.  

How was this possible? Juan had done everything that his professors and textbooks required of him to master his profession, but he still had more to learn.

Let’s be clear. Juan is a fictional character made up for this blog, but his struggle is real, a struggle that many people encounter when first entering the job market in Canada. So, what should Juan and people like him do?

The answer is simple: develop soft skills.

 

The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace

The importance of soft skills in the workplace cannot be understated. They are the foundation of effective employees in fields as varying as IT, finance, and construction.

Likewise, on a personal level, the benefits of soft skills are numerous. They can help improve relationships, free up extra time, and solve problems.

If you’re like Juan, and you want to learn more about soft skills and their importance in Canadian workplaces, keep reading for a detailed explanation. If you already understand soft skills and simply want to know which ones are important in Canada, skip down to the last heading in this post.

 

What are soft skills?

To understand soft skills, let’s distinguish them from hard skills first.

Hard skills are those skills that you learn in school through practice and deliberate study, skills such as logistics analysis, computer programming, or even how to play a musical instrument.

On the other hand, soft skills, sometimes called core skills, are transferable and applicable to most professions. Examples include time management, leadership, and critical thinking.

Surprisingly, it is often easier for managers to train employees in hard skills rather than soft skills. For example, it is easy to teach someone to create a spreadsheet (hard skill), but much more difficult to teach them to be an effective leader (soft skill).

For this reason, many employers seek to hire individuals with well-developed soft skills.

In addition, many hard skills have soft skills as prerequisites. For example, computer programming is considered a hard skill. However, to be a good computer programmer, you need to have problem-solving skills, which are considered soft skills.

Why do organizations value soft skills?

The importance of soft skills in the workplace cannot be overstated. They are highly valued by organizations for several reasons:

  1. Adaptability and Flexibility: In today's rapidly changing business landscape, organizations need employees who can adapt to new technologies, evolving roles, and shifting priorities. Soft skills such as adaptability, flexibility, and resilience enable individuals to embrace change, learn new skills quickly, and thrive in dynamic environments.
  2. Customer Satisfaction: Soft skills directly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. Employees who possess strong interpersonal skills can provide exceptional customer service, address customer concerns empathetically, and build positive relationships with clients. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the organization to others.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but individuals with strong soft skills can effectively manage and resolve conflicts. Skills such as negotiation, diplomacy, and empathy help in diffusing tense situations, finding common ground, and fostering a harmonious work environment.
  4. Overall Employee Well-being: Soft skills contribute to employee well-being and job satisfaction. When individuals possess strong interpersonal skills, they can establish positive relationships with colleagues, experience effective communication, and feel supported in the workplace. This leads to increased engagement, reduced stress levels, and improved overall job satisfaction.

 

Why are soft skills important?

Having well-developed soft skills in the workplace is important for the following reasons:

  • Soft skills are transferable. That means that you can use them at any company, in any position, and in any situation. For example, time management is a skill applicable to every single job on the market.
  • Many soft skills make you a better team worker. Soft skills such as emotional intelligence help you work with others through increased understanding.
  • Soft skills increase your efficiency and productivity. For example, the ability to prioritize allows you to make quick choices about where you or your company should focus efforts and resources.
  • Soft skills make you a better decision-maker. Making decisions is about identifying goals, analyzing available information, and considering consequences. All of these involve soft skills.
  • Soft skills are harder to teach and therefore valuable to employers. Consider the job of a teacher. A teacher must have many soft skills, including people skills, communication skills, and organization skills. Even if they know their teachable subject at a very high level, they will have a hard time being an effective educator if they do not have soft skills.

What are some important soft skills for working in Canada?

It is difficult to say what the most important soft skills are in Canadian workplaces. However, the seven soft skills listed below are certainly required to be effective at many jobs. Browse the list to learn more.

  1. Critical Thinking is the ability to observe, analyze, combine, and evaluate information. Critical thinking is the foundation of decision-making and problem-solving. Formally, you can develop critical thinking by analyzing arguments, reflecting on your own decisions, and taking part in debates.
  2. Leadership is as difficult to attain as it is to describe. However, one thing that makes leadership unique in Canadian workplaces is that not only managers are leaders. No matter how new you are to a company, from time to time, you might have to lead your coworkers on projects and initiatives.
  3. Communication is all about the exchange of information, which is extremely important for any job. For a detailed breakdown of this soft skill, read our blog post: Talking in Canada: 10 Communication Tips for the Classroom & Workplace.
  4. Emotional Intelligence is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the ability to “be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions.” Emotional intelligence is essential for both healthy professional and personal relationships.
  5. Time Management involves the ability to use your time effectively. This involves prioritizing tasks, staying focused, scheduling activities, and setting goals. Time management can not only help with career advancement but can also reduce stress.
  6. Interpersonal Skills are closely linked to emotional intelligence and communication. They involve social interaction and knowing how to behave in a given social setting.
  7. Problem-Solving Skills are made of the ability to analyze a problem in order to understand it. Once you understand the problem, you will be able to create an effective solution.

To learn more about how Fleming College Toronto can help you prepare for the workplace, email info@flemingcollegetoronto.ca.

FAQ

Yes, there are various resources that can be found in Canada, such as workshops, career counselling services, and more. Check your school’s Career Services department.

Soft skills refer to personal attributes and interpersonal abilities, such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability, while hard skills are specific technical or specialized knowledge and abilities required for a particular job.

You can showcase your soft skills during the job application process by highlighting relevant experience, providing examples of how you’ve demonstrated those soft skills in previous roles, and incorporating them into your resume, cover letter and interviews.

The skills most needed vary across industries and positions.

Soft skills are important in the workplace as they can increase efficiency and productivity

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