By Ian Gourley, Academy Manager

It’s no longer just about having the most talented, qualified employees. It’s about them being able to work together as a team, for the benefit of their own, and the organization’s, success.

In the return to the ‘new normal’ world of 2023, employers are grappling with the challenge of skills shortages, which impacts on development prospects and overall business growth. The misalignment between the skills employers require and the skills possessed by their employees has created a gap that requires addressing. Employee training has emerged as a crucial solution to bridge this gap and ensure that employees possess the requisite competencies to meet the demands of their roles and contribute effectively to organisational success.

The concept of training has changed drastically over the past years, and nowadays employers are attaching more importance to the candidate’s soft skills than in the past, in addition to the technical skills required to do the job.

One note here, I personally am not a fan of the term “soft skills” and in line with other writers prefer “essential skills”. Why? With the changing nature of work, employers have realised the importance of interpersonal attributes which each individual employee has to develop, and this can be successfully achieved through focused and tailored training.

According to the recent MISCO report on Training in Organisations (2023) based on responses from Malta and Gozo, the top skills which employees consider most important for their job roles and which they would like to be trained in are:

  • Self organisation/time management
  • Leadership skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Persuasion skills

Not surprisingly these themes all fall under essential skills and training in these areas are crucial for employee growth and development for several reasons:

Enhanced interpersonal relationships

Essential skills training helps employees build better relationships with colleagues, supervisors, clients, and customers. Effective communication and empathy foster understanding, trust, and cooperation, leading to a more harmonious and productive work environment.

Improved collaboration

Essential skills training encourages teamwork and collaboration. Employees with strong communication skills can share ideas and information more effectively, contributing to better problem-solving and innovation within teams.

Effective leadership

Leadership skills are essential for both formal and informal leadership roles. Essential skills training equips individuals with the ability to motivate, inspire, and guide others. Effective leaders foster a positive work culture and help team members achieve their full potential.

Effective decision-making

Decision-making skills help employees analyze situations, consider various perspectives, and make informed choices. Strong decision-makers contribute to effective problem-solving and strategic planning. Such training enables employees to “think outside the box” both creatively and critically. Using these skills, they will be able to weigh up their options, make informed decisions, making them more likely to achieve the desired results

The Benefits of Training in Essential Skills

It is clear that employees actively desire training within their organisation and welcome the opportunity to develop their personal competencies and interpersonal attributes. Effective employee training needs to be aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and tailored to the specific needs of the employees and the business. This ensures that the skills being developed are directly relevant to the challenges at hand.

For the organisation, focusing on training in essential skills brings a number of benefits, which include:

Employee retention and morale

Offering training opportunities signals to employees that the company values their growth and development. This can boost morale, engagement, and loyalty, reducing turnover and associated recruitment costs.

Stronger interpersonal and professional relationships

Employees with high emotional intelligence can recognize and manage their own emotions and those of others. They can empathize, build rapport with others, motivate themselves and others positively, and more. These skills can help employees improve relationships with colleagues, customers, supervisors, and other stakeholders.

More innovative solutions

Developing essential skills such as creativity and problem-solving can lead to individual innovativeness. This, in turn, can enable employees to generate new ideas, products, and services that add value, solve problems, and ultimately help the organization stay ahead of the competition while meeting customer expectations.

Organisational growth

Investing in the development of employees’ soft skills can lead to a more engaged workforce, resulting in higher profitability and growth. Research indicates that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings per share and have a 90% better growth trend.


In summary, training in essential skills is essential for employee growth as it equips individuals with the interpersonal and behavioural competencies needed to excel in their roles, enhance relationships, and contribute positively to the overall success of the organization.

Essential skills empower employees to collaborate and work together in order to collectively meet company goals and objectives. In turn, this leads to improved efficiency and heightened productivity.

Our purpose at Up Your Level is to provide individuals with the toolkit to be the best versions of themselves and we focus on changing mindsets within the organisational setting, aligning individuals and teams to the organisation’s vision and strategy. Our training programmes cover the gambit of essential skills required of the contemporary employee.

Utilising our expertise and experience we have developed a range of programmes to assist individuals and organisations bridge the essential skills gap. A key take-away from the MISCO survey indicated that employees show a preference for accredited courses which add essential credits to employees’ portfolio. UP Your Level Academy is licensed by the Malta Further & Higher Education Authority as a Higher Education Institution (Licence No. 2023-004) offering a range of leadership development programmes aligned to the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF.

Check out our practical range of short online courses covering essential skills here:

And our MQF accredited leadership development courses: