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<xTITLE>Are You Seeing the Benefit of Soft Skills?</xTITLE>

Are You Seeing the Benefit of Soft Skills?

by Katherine Graham
August 2015

CMP Resolution Blog by Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

Katherine Graham

McDonald’s UK and James Caan lead a coalition calling for re-evaluation of soft skills, worth £88bn to UK PLC!

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“Soft skills like communication and teamwork are incredibly important to our business because of the impact they can have on our customers’ experience. As integral as they are to the performance and progression of our employees, I know that we can do more to recognise their importance which is why we are launching this campaign. In conjunction with James Caan, and a wide range of businesses and organisations I want to find ways in which we can better recognise soft skills and I’m calling on others to join us in re-evaluating and improving these skills.”

Jez Langhorn, Chief People Officer of McDonald’s UK and Northern Europe

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Coalition members: · Confederation of British Industry (CBI) · Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) · Federation of Small Business (FSB) · National Youth Agency (NYA) · Plotr · Gelder · Association of Colleges · LearnDirect · City & Guilds · NIACE · Work Foundation · Barclays · Ginsters · People 1st · Impetus Trust · EdComs · Prospect

The Development Economics research group, commissioned by the campaign, say soft skills are worth £88bn per year, particularly in businesses that rely on “face-to-face human interaction”. The economic impact is based on factors such as increased workplace productivity and looking at what would be lost with a lack of soft skills, These negative factors include:

  • increased operating costs
  • losing business to competitors
  • problems meeting quality standards
  • delays in introducing new products or services

“A manager intent on creating a team which goes the extra mile and is engaged and stable, needs to use dialogue rather than hierarchical grade, to motivate and manage the team. Because dialogue, done well, results in solid mutual understanding and commitment, rather than compliance.”

To read more about how Soft skills can improve your team and business performance, please download our guide here.


Katherine Graham has worked in the field of dispute resolution for over 15 years’ as a mediator and trainer. She has mediated on the BBC Learning Zone and has given keynote speeches on conflict management and mediation for The MOD’s Equal Opportunities Conference, Women in Business Annual conference and “Getting Beyond Conflict”, a national conference on workplace dispute resolution. Katherine joined CMP Resolutions (formerly Conflict Management Plus) in 1992. She was made a director of the company in 1998 and became Managing Director in May 2009. Prior to this she managed teams in publishing and communications departments for major national charities including The Work Foundation, the RNID and the King’s Fund. She was the inaugural Chair of the Institute of Conflict Management.


Author of The Directory of Mediation Services for Social Landlords (National Housing Federation)

Editor, “Equilibrium” – a quarterly journal of dispute resolution

Co-author Mediation for Managers (NB Books 2002)

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Additional articles by Katherine Graham