social skills

7 social skills at work: Why are they essential? 

Social skills, in general, and, therefore, social skills at work, are a set of skills that we practice when interacting with other people and that enable us to communicate effectively. Like all skills, they are not something we are born with, but we all train these abilities to interact properly right from our childhood. 

This way, we generate our particular repertoire of social skills through what is instilled in us, what we imitate, or what we see rewarded or punished in others. This will later give rise to our social skills in the workplace

Why are social skills critical in the workplace?

Social skills at work are related to the group of so-called soft skills. These skills are not associated with employees’ technical competence or specific knowledge of the tasks they have to perform. 

social skills

On the contrary, they are related to their way of being and performing in the interpersonal sphere, their particular charisma, and their way of facing different scenarios and social situations, both positive and negative. 

1. Contribute to a good working environment

When employees have good social skills at work, they contribute together, spontaneously and usually with little effort, to create a pleasant work environment in which it is easier to work, and the team’s performance is generally more robust. 

2. They foster good leadership

A boss with good leadership skills will implement social skills at work that will allow them to communicate effectively with their colleagues, transmit key messages, give positive feedback and increase their employees’ work motivation.  

3. Improve teamwork

Unfortunately, working with people with whom we have a very good relationship or even those we consider friends is not always possible. However, thanks to our interpersonal skills, it is possible to maintain a positive, cooperative, and constructive atmosphere with our co-workers, even if there are not many personal affinities. It is, therefore, essential that all employees, within their means, have appropriate social skills in the workplace

4. Facilitate onboarding processes

When we have been working together for a long time, everything seems straightforward or spontaneous in our interactions. However, we all join a team for the first time at some point, and we have all had to welcome a new member when they have had to fit in as a newcomer. Employing our social skills at work eases these processes and prevents changes in team structure from being a problem. 

“It is now time to reshape teambuilding activities, remote onboardings, productivity assessment with a focus on objectives rather than working hours and optimise communication so that the company and the employees feel they are still in the same place.”
– Beatriz Julián Almarcegui, Head of People at ifeel

7 examples of social skills at work

When discussing social skills in the workplace, we must refer to significant concepts such as empathy or interpersonal intelligence. Studies show that nearly 44% of workers’ core skills will change by 2027 due to technological advancements and evolving job requirements. This highlights the increasing importance of adaptability, interpersonal communication, and collaboration in the workplace.

However, getting closer to the specifics is essential to be more aware of the routine “gestures” that characterise this set of skills. 

 1. Express gratitude

If there is something that contributes to generating well-being in interpersonal relationships, it is the expression of gratitude. We usually include it as a mere courtesy, as if it were an automatic formula that sometimes loses its value and disappears, for example, because we are confident. We should always be authentic and thankful for what others do for us at work and welcome others’ gratitude in the right way. 

2. Express apologies

If saying thank you is one of the most important social skills at work, imagine how important it is to know how and when to apologise when we invade someone’s space, interrupt them during a meeting or when they take up some of their time to help us with a task.

3. Ask properly

One of the most important social skills at work for managers and other employees is to ask for things properly. This ranges from an innocent ” find me this piece of information” to something more important, such as asking for a salary increase. Ask, don’t demand.  

4. Ability to express recognition

Expressing recognition verbally and nonverbally is essential for relationships outside and inside the workplace. We all need to be acknowledged for what we do well and complimented to perceive that we are valuable to the team. This can be done in any manner or in a skillful way. 

5. Avoid manipulative or passive-aggressive styles

At work, we may express our anger or disagreement with something, but we should do so openly and constructively. Sometimes we show our frustration, our need to exert some kind of power or authority, or our hostility toward someone openly. Other times, however, we do so in a veiled or ambiguous manner, which can be just as uncomfortable, if not more so, for the person receiving our messages. 

6. Assertiveness

Assertiveness always appears in all classifications of social skills and could not be missing in this list of social skills at work. It consists of the ability to express our points of view and make our personal space respected without being hurtful to the other person. Therefore, taking care of interpersonal relationships, in this case, with our co-workers.

7. Kindness

Based on authenticity, one of the most basic social skills at work and in life, in general, is the ability of people to be pleasant, cordial, and friendly. Sometimes, we fail in other aspects, but if we are kind and communicate pleasantly and non-aggressively, it is much easier for interactions to flow properly. 

“Communication is an ongoing day-to-day task, but it is undoubtedly a key element for all of us to work towards a common goal.”
Pilar Collado Puerta, Head of Talent Management and Laura Risquete Trigo, HR – Talent Development at González Byass

social skills

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We hope you found this article on Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 interesting. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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