What are Social Skills? 5 Examples in the Workplace

A group of employees with advanced social skills discussing a business issue.

Your business will be more successful if your team members have strong social skills, often referred to as interpersonal or “people” skills. People with these key attributes are better at collaborating with coworkers, customers, and clients, which typically leads to higher quality work and increased sales for your business.

As you’re making hiring and promotion decisions, look for people with these key interpersonal skills:

  1. Communication
  2. Cooperation
  3. Leadership
  4. Relationship-building
  5. Empathy

Here are some social skills examples, tips to help you identify people with these skills, and why they’re an asset to your organization.

What are Social Skills?

They are socially focused soft skills that people use to build relationships with coworkers, clients, and customers. There are dozens of “people” skills that people use every day, but the most impactful ones include:

1. Communication

If your team members have strong written, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills, your team will be more efficient and effective. Whether they are writing an email or speaking up in a team meeting, people with strong communication skills can explain their ideas and give instructions clearly and concisely.

People with strong communication skills are also active listeners. They may ask follow-up questions, give actionable feedback, remember what people say, and expand on the ideas of others.

You will be able to assess a candidate’s written communication skills from their resume, cover letter, and any writing samples. If you move forward with the interview process, you’ll be able to quickly evaluate their verbal communication skills (for instance, whether they are engaging and speak clearly and confidently). You’ll also witness their non-verbal communication in action through body language, eye contact, and facial expressions.

2. Cooperation

When your employees cooperate with one another, they share ideas, provide advice, and pitch in when a coworker needs help. While competition is integral to some jobs, like being a trial lawyer or politician, your company will be more productive if your coworkers work together as a team.

Look for employees who praise their coworkers, congratulate them, and offer to help with projects or any problems that arise. When you interview candidates, ask them to provide an example of a time they worked closely with a small team and what makes them a good “team player.”

3. Leadership

There are several social skills that signal someone’s leadership capability, including decision-making skills, the ability to delegate, an eye toward team-building, and confidence. It’s important to understand that being an effective leader doesn’t mean talking the loudest or otherwise being an “alpha” presence in the office (in fact, that behavior often drives away good employees).

Look for employees who lead new projects, mentor team members, and identify problems and solutions. Ask candidates to tell you about a time they led a team at work or school and what traits make them a good leader.

4. Relationship-Building

Your company will perform better if your employees are adept at developing relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers. It will improve employee recruitment and retention, increase employee morale and engagement, and help you gain repeat customers and clients.

Employees with strong relationship-building skills are collaborative, friendly, and engaging. Ask candidates to share what they think past coworkers would say about working with them—and then check with their references.

5. Empathy

Empathetic employees have an easier time connecting with colleagues, customers, and clients. If your employees are empathetic, they understand other people’s emotions and can build stronger and more productive relationships.

Look for employees who are respectful and accepting of other people’s perspectives. Ask candidates to tell you about a time they worked with a difficult coworker, customer, or client and were able to navigate or even diffuse the tension.

The Main Benefits of Social Skills in the Workplace

There are numerous ways your company will benefit from having coworkers with strong social skills. Here are the advantages you’re likely to see if your employees have all the key skills:

  • Heightened Employee Morale. When your employees work well together, employee morale and engagement is sure to surge. Your employees will be more productive, collaborative, and motivated, making your team and business more successful.
  • Increased Productivity and Performance. If your employees have all these socially focused soft skills, they will be able to work together more effectively. It’s likely they will produce higher quality work, making it more likely you’ll have repeat customers and clients.
  • Improved Employee Recruitment and Retention. When a critical mass of employees possesses these important skills, they become tenants of your company culture, helping you recruit and retain top talent.

Continue to Build a Successful Team

You need the right team in place for your business to be successful. Now you know the key social skills to look for when you’re evaluating candidates and employees and how they will help your bottom line. Attract and retain employees with the right blend of hard and soft skills by implementing additional hiring and management advice from Monster.