16 important soft skills for the future of work Creativity Complex problem solving Critical thinking Persuasion Collaboration Self-directed, engaged learning Social intelligence Emotional intelligence Teaching Empathy Communication Personal service Strategic decision-making Negotiation Cognitive flexibility People management *Sources: The Globe and Mail, World Economic Forum, x.ai 80% of learning and development professionals agree that developing employees is top-of-mind for their executive team. 44% of executives said a lack of soft skills was the biggest proficiency gap they saw in the U.S. workforce. 67% of HR managers said they'd hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if his or her technical abilities were lacking, while just 9% percent would hire someone with strong technical credentials but weak soft skills. 30% Managers who incorporate a range of soft talents into their leadership approach can increase their team's performance by as much as 30%. Progress is the single biggest employee motivator.