One-third of British SMEs lost clients due to poor people skills, research reveals

Tempo, an end-to-end hiring platform trusted by Monzo, Bulb and Starling Bank, has today released survey findings, part of their new ‘Master of More’ campaign. This reveals the negative impact that shoddy interpersonal skills can have on a fast-growing business. 

The research found the knock-on effects of bad people skills in the workplace — such as communication, creativity and problem-solving — include losing a client / customer (32.0%), as well as receiving complaints from co-workers (33.0%) and a decrease in productivity (31.4%). 

This paints a worrying picture following the Ombudsman Services report which estimated British businesses lost around £37 billion every year due to bad customer service.

In addition, although the majority (69.6%) of business owners believe interpersonal skills are harder to master than technical skills, only 10% spent more money on training on interpersonal skills over technical skills. And, rather than investing money into training employees, 61.8% said they would all together reject a candidate based on their interpersonal skills.

Ben Chatfield, CEO and co-founder at Tempo stated, “our results show that despite their name, soft skills aren’t all that ‘soft’ to master. There’s a skills shortage plaguing British scale-ups — and it’s not the tech one which gets a lot of airtime. We’ve found not only do poor people skills cause tension within the workplace and impede productivity — it’s hampering business growth. Fast-growing business owners must prioritise people skills — and fast.” 

Other key findings from the report found:

  • The top five most desired soft skills: 
    • 1st: Communication skills (41.2%)
    • 2nd: Creativity (40%) 
    • 3rd: Time management (38.8%)
    • 4th: Problem-solving (37%) 
    • 5th: Multitasking (34.4%) 
  • Recruitment struggles: Over half (54.8%) of respondents struggled to find candidates with the necessary soft skills, which 51% said is hindering business growth. What’s more, 53% said their current team lacked these, with over half (54.8%) of business owners agreeing they struggle to find candidates with the necessary people skills
  • Jack of all trades demand: Over half (61.2%) said they would prefer all-rounders to specialists 
  • People skills will be increasingly important for future generations: 74% of business owners say hiring people with good soft skills will be more important in the future than it is now

SelenaNg, People Business Partner at Starling Bank commented on the report: “Customer support is such an integral part of the business. We need people who work hard and who care about turning every single customer experience into a positive one.  A client-facing role can definitely be challenging at times and we’ve found it extremely difficult to get the right quality of candidates through the door.”

Author: Editorial Team

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