Soft skills include abilities such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, empathy, problem solving and creativity among others.  In the past few years a virtual mountain of research has risen up to assess the importance of soft skills in the workplace.  All of this research, whether done by academics, associations or industry insiders confirms a clear and consistent trend.  The soft skills are crucial to overall business success and specific team performance.

This is why we established the Soft Skills Institute.  We want to bring the power of this research into the world of dentistry where trust and confidence are so important for patient outcomes.  All of the specific techniques and skills that we teach through our in-person or virtual, on-demand training are based on the scientific findings and research around soft skill importance and development.

Although the research is vast, consider these key findings[1]:

  1. It is especially important for supervisors to have excellent soft skill abilities.
    • Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement based on the research that came from Gallup
    • Stress caused from working with a manager with ineffective interpersonal skills costs American companies $360 billion a year.
    • Research has shown that 60-80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from strained employee relationships.
    • Businesses with leaders who communicate effectively are 50% more likely to have less turnover.
    • The average manager spends around 25-40% of his or her day dealing with workplace conflict. This means a waste of that percentage of the salaries of all parties involved.
    • Around 85% of employee dismissals are due to a personality conflict.
  1. Innovation does not come from technical expertise alone. Google[2] analyzed all of its hiring data and found that the traits of the most successful employees are
    • Being a good coach
    • Communicating and listening well
    • Possessing insights into others (including others with different values and points of view)
    • Empathy
    • Being a supportive colleague
    • Critical thinking
    • Problem solving
    • Making connections between different ideas

Additionally, they found that their top performing teams were not their A-teams made up of experts, but their B-teams who, while still plenty smart, focus on teamwork, check their egos and make sure there is no bullying.

  1. Soft skills are especially important for employees where the primary responsibility is customer service or working in a team. As the world grows increasingly more diverse, soft skills are the key to being competitive in any field.  Research concludes that a strong understanding of emotional intelligence, cultural competency, communication styles and interpersonal skills are crucial for the modern workplace.[3][4][5]

[1] (
[3] Deming, David J. 2017. “The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 132(4):1593–1640.
[4] Rainie, Lee and Janna Anderson. 2017. “The Future of Jobs and Job Training.” Pew Research Center, May 3.
[5] Rowe, Anita, Lee Gardenswartz, and Jorge Cherbosque. 2008. Emotional Intelligence for Managing Results in a Diverse World: The Hard Truth About Soft Skills in the Workplace. Davies-Black Publishing.