5 Important Soft Skills to Thrive in the Workplace for 2020

Posted by John Liberatore on Jan 15, 2020 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, Candidate, icsFtL

As the digital world expands, the need for a more competitive workforce rises, too. To meet the continually changing demands of businesses, employees must have the skills that keep them relevant and competent in the workplace. 

The employee skills that businesses need now might not be what they’ll need in the next five to 10 years. Hence, it’s important to bank on skill sets that can be transferable or those highly valued regardless of role or function — the soft skills for the workplace.

What could be the soft skills that will make employees future-ready?


Being able to adapt to a frequently changing workplace is one of the important soft skills for 2020. 

Nowadays, organizations are turning to gig workers who can flexibly adapt to each contract. However, there is a notion that older employees, from Baby Boomers to Generation X, struggle with task flexibility because many have stayed in the same job for most of their adult lives. Younger employees are more comfortable with changing job roles.

The good news is it’s never too late to learn and adapt. Every employee can improve their adaptability skills by developing a growth mindset and starting with small changes to upskill their competencies.

Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is another of the in-demand soft skills for the workplace. Teaching tech skills can be a manageable task for employers, but teaching creativity isn’t easy. 

Critical thinkers, wide-readers, and excellent communicators will be the most in-demand in the 2020’s workforce. In the future, these highly skilled creatives and innovators are also expected to work side-by-side with robots (or cobots) who’ll manage the tedious jobs. 

How do employees develop creativity and innovativeness? At a minimum, people who want to become more innovative need to devote personal time to reading, thinking, and talking with other creative people.

Emotional Intelligence

Soft skills for 2020 also involve collaboration and active listening — skills that tackle the nuances of interpersonal communication, body language, and emotions.

People with emotional intelligence are deliberate in showing what they think and feel as they consider what others think and feel, too. They have high empathy and are good with interactions, making them in-demand for workplace transformations. These skills are also needed for coaching and mentoring, which are crucial roles for effective team management.

Employees who have high emotional quotient can also move into different roles and blend with teams easily. Usually, people need three to five years to be top performers. But, with high emotional intelligence, they can be top performers in under one year, therefore raising their value in the organization.

Personal Branding

Employees must be particular in presenting themselves online as it is one best way to showcase their professional branding. They need to be attentive in curating their digital profiles and should always update their skills and capabilities.

The best professional brands can be built through networks of mentors and coaches. These people are personal influencers who help employees grow their skills, maximize their potential, and be a sought-after talent in the workplace. Employees must think of these people as their personal board of directors that help them make decisions to improve their brand. 

Creative types will have more opportunities for brand development. They can show how their creative ventures are more than just hobbies. They can use their branding to make money from being themselves. Their branding can also cover why their creative ideas are worth customers’ taking notice. 


Being tech-savvy is often seen more as a hard skill. It is, but the ability to navigate the technology-laden waters without sinking is seen as a soft skill. 

Yes, employers can train their employees on how to use new tech and apps. However, employers want to see their employees think about tech and use pre-existing tech in new ways. They also expect their employees to recognize how virtual reality and augmented intelligence are affecting the workplace. 

Tech-savvy employees look to the future; they don’t wait for their employers to direct them. The soft skill that tech-savvy employees need is the ability to think about what doesn’t yet exist. Tech is here to stay, and the soft skills for 2020 involve planning for using tech in 2025, 2030, 2035, and beyond. Tech-savvy employees do more than learn to use apps. They adapt to the apps and use them in unexpected ways. 

Recognizing the Best at ICS

At Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), our focus is on the present and future of the workplace. We strive to place candidates with organizations that will offer both opportunities and growth. If you feel strongly about your ability to communicate, build a brand, and adapt to an ever-changing organization that depends on technology, we are connected with organizations that will be interested in you. Ready to get started?

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