The workplace needs soft and hard skills to enable employees and the organisation as a whole to perform well.

There’s quite a buzz at the moment about encouraging and recognising the value of softer skills in the workplace.

McDonald’s recently launched an initiative with a number of partners to raise awareness of the importance of softer skills in the workplace. Another aim is to encourage young people to develop these skills as they move-in to the workplace.

McDonald’s says there’s a hard headed reason to encourage soft skills, their research has estimated soft skills to be worth £88 billion to the UK economy and rising.

 The campaign identifies soft skills as:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time and self-management
  • Decision-making and initiative-taking
  • Taking responsibility

The initiative is being led by businessman and entrepreneur James Caan,” When I started working I soon realised that the so-called softer skills of being on time, working well with people, working in teams, are of great value in the workplace. Most businesses underestimate these skills and we need to find ways to value them better.”  (The Independent)

Pret A Manger definitely espouse and encourage softer skills, in a recent interview with HR Magazine, Group People Director Andrea Wareham talked about their ‘soft’ approach.

For example, job candidates are assessed against three behaviours: passion, clear talking and team working. The team in every shop recruits its own members, each candidate has ‘experience days’ in a store and team members vote on whether they are hired. “The team own their new starters, which is very powerful.”

Time and attendance systems are sometimes seen as a ‘hard’ tool to track time and reinforce punctuality, but increasingly employees are being given the responsibility of managing their working time through web and phone clocking in for example. Employees can also have access to personalised reports which show them their timesheets/hours worked and they can book holidays, dental appointments, etc. online too.

If you’d like to find out more about how employees can be more involved in managing their time at work, get in touch.


The Independent – interview with James Caan

HR Magazine – interview with Andrea Wareham, Group People Director at Pret A Manger

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