Why Every Business Needs It

The demand for soft skills training is growing rapidly. So fast that Deloitte predicts that “soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.”

This is partly due to the fact that technology is increasingly improving at the level of technical skills, also known as hard skills. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report predicts that technology will eliminate around 85 million jobs by 2025.

But this same report also estimates that “97 million new roles could emerge, more suited to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms”. Essentially, technology humanizes work. We rely on computers to calculate our numbers and on machines to run our assembly lines, but the code and circuits have yet to replicate these unique human abilities such as empathy, critical thinking and non-verbal communication.

This increase in demand has created a skills gap, and this is where training and development comes in. As a learning leader, your role is to equip your staff with the skills to stay competitive in the face of to an unpredictable future. One way to do this is to provide soft skills training.

Why soft skills training is a necessity

Data from our digital learning platform, Big Think+, provides an inside perspective on the skills that are of urgent importance to large organizations today. Namely, those that are human-centered.

Big Think+ offers lessons on over 20 skills, from sales and marketing to communication and creativity. Leadership is by far the most in-demand ability on the platform, with Innovation, Self-Awareness, and Conflict Resolution also leading the pack.

Technology humanizes work.

The data points to a need that higher education and professional development programs do not sufficiently address—a need for accurate, expert-led education in the kind of thinking and collaboration that humans do best. Soft skills training aims to fill this gap.

The following challenges and disruptions reinforce the need for this type of training every minute.


The Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting social norms have helped create today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world of work. Organizations have responded differently to these challenges, with some being left behind. Often the fear of VUCA manifests in a culture that seeks safety in established practices and standards, rather than teaching workers how to prepare for the unexpected.

But a culture of lifelong learning keeps employees at the forefront of their field, where they are most likely to see inflection points coming. It encourages employees to have the self-motivation to focus on growth and to be receptive during the learning process.

When all levels of an organization invest in these capabilities, it’s ultimately a win-win situation. Employees appreciate their leaders providing soft skills training as an investment in their personal development, and leaders are beginning to trust employees more to pivot when unforeseen circumstances arise.

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Engaging content on the skills that matter, taught by world-class experts.

The digital paradigm

Over the past two decades, digital offerings have gone from niche freebies to business essentials. Faster internet speeds allow organizations to share data, services and products at unprecedented rates. Social media platforms have created a whole new marketing landscape and new digital marketplaces have expanded the customer base worldwide.

Focusing on developing employee digital literacy is the first step to navigating this new paradigm. For example, while digital tools allow us to communicate over great distances to create remote offices, they also lack the nuances of face-to-face communication. Digital fluency helps employees bring face-to-face communication best practices online. It also helps them assess sources and maintain cybersecurity at a time when disruptive technology poses unique challenges to everyone.

Technological disruption

The previously mentioned Future of Jobs Report estimates that by 2025 “the time spent on common work tasks by humans and machines will be equal”. But technology integration is never a one-to-one exchange, where a human worker is replaced by a compatible machine. The roles will gradually shift until the work of humans and machines is complementary.

By 2025, the time spent on common work tasks by humans and machines will be equal.

Soft skills training can help employees develop their creativity and innovation, which in turn helps reveal new ways to integrate technology for a more competitive advantage. Additionally, employees who strengthen their critical thinking skills will become essential in challenging assumptions that may prevent a new technology from reaching its potential.

Changing organizational architectures

Organizational architectures become less rigid and more lateral. This trend is partly due to generational differences – millennials value autonomy, and when they entered the workforce in droves, many organizations adapted. The digital paradigm has also played its part. For example, the exodus to remote work in 2020 has caused many leaders to reevaluate how their teams can operate cohesively.

Such architectural challenges require pioneering leadership with skills such as executive presence to help team members stay accountable and motivated no matter where they are on the org chart.


Although the subject of much political debate and conflict, globalization represents unprecedented opportunities for organizations to cross increasingly porous national and cultural barriers. However, extensions are not without pitfalls. Many organizations have ventured into other countries only to find that their local strategies were ineffective or misguided. Such lessons are costly – draining resources as well as regional goodwill – but avoidable.

Through soft skills training that builds emotional intelligence, L&D can develop teams that understand how to respectfully navigate other cultures. Sales, marketing and customer experience strategies can be modified to better adapt to new markets. And if needed, employees can use design thinking to create entirely unique experiences for new markets.

Final remark

We discussed the importance soft skills in the workplace. Now the question becomes: How to improve soft skills? Boston Consulting Group’s Rich Lesser – Glassdoor’s Top CEO of 2021 – Responds Learning Programs Should Focus on Employee Advancement insight.

“A discerning worker is someone who is not only responsible for accumulating knowledge and synthesizing it, but also for solving real problems,” Lesser describes in a Big Think+ lesson. He goes on to say that these workers possess the ability to “work laterally across borders. [and] adapt very quickly to new information.

These abilities are quickly becoming essential business skills, and there are a wealth of resources available to develop them. Soft skills training comes in many different formats, such as online video courses, in-person coaching sessions, and instructor-led workshops.

The most impactful interventions will be continuous and regularly accessible, so that learners can reinforce the skills and habits they acquire over time. Micro-learning resources, such as expert-led video lessons in the Big Think+ catalog, are an effective solution.

Whichever modality you choose, soft skills training is a solid investment in developing transformation-ready employees and equipping the entire organization to adapt to a changing business world before our eyes. .

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