Workplace skills: What are they and how to develop them

The skills you have can make a big difference to your career prospects, and workplace skills are a significant part of your full skillset.

But what are workplace skills? Why are they important? And how can you develop them?

Workplace skills are transferable across many functions and industries and, unlike your attitude and aptitude, they are far more easily developed and strengthened. The skills can be split into two areas: people skills and functional business skills.

People skills include:

  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Leadership and management
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills

Functional business skills include:

  • IT skills
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Planning and organisation
  • Self-management
  • Creativity and innovation

Why are they important?

You will have heard many of these words in different contexts and it is important because they are relevant to so many roles, but have you ever taken the time to consider what they are and how you use them?

People skills are about your communication and whether you can work with someone, your ability to lead a team, or communicate well with others. These are all skills that are critical to your success. If you can understand people, adapt your style and communicate in a way that people will respond to, you will get more out of each day.

Functional business skills help you to be more efficient in your role. From organising and prioritising your time, to using different software programmes such as excel, and being confident when you’re faced with challenges and change. Many of these skills are fundamental to most jobs.

Way to develop your workplace skills

Qualify: The great thing about workplace skills is that there are plenty of courses that can support you to grow your knowledge. You can look at online courses which can be done in your own time or you can consider a classroom course.

Reflect: Take some time to reflect on your experiences to tick off workplace skills. Consider when you took on a leadership role. Have you presented something to somebody? How did you react when faced with a difficult situation? Remember to consider how you use these skills in your social life too, and be aware of the skills you are using daily outside of work.

Pay attention: Now you are aware of the skills, think about when you use them on a daily basis. For example if you navigate change well, you are likely to be adaptable. If you create lists for tasks, you are likely an organised person. Pay attention to things you do daily and you still start to see more and more skills you use.

Practice: Seek out opportunities to try new skills, develop your knowledge, and take on challenges.

All these skills are relevant to many roles across different industries and are highly sought after by employers. Take some time now to think about your skills and the ways you can develop further skills.

For more information:

If you would like to discuss anything in more detail, please contact our CEIAG Coordinator.


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