Don’t let the word “soft” fool you – soft skills are more important than you think.. If employees struggle with soft skills, such as teamwork, organization, or communication, your business will suffer (your workplace chemistry will, too). It is worth the time and cost to invest in soft skills training – specifically 256% ROI worthy.
As the modern workplace has changed, it is increasingly evident that the hard skills managers sought in the past, such as technical abilities, are no longer as important as soft skills. As more work tasks are machine automated, there is a greater need for soft skills across industries. No matter if you manage a restaurant or run an app start-up, you need your employees to possess emotional intelligence.
Rather than thinking of soft skills as nice attributes that you hope employees have, consider them essential skills. Once you see soft skills as essential skills, start looking for opportunities to encourage your employees to grow in these ways, such as offering soft skills training. Also, don't forget to measure employee engagement and growth with an employee management app.
Unfortunately, soft skills are not taught in colleges or trade schools, which leaves a significant gap between the hard skills taught and workplace demands. Soft skills are essentially people skills. If your team members can’t get along with one another or they have a difficult time talking with clients, you’ve got a problem. Moreover, employees with weak soft skills aren’t easy to coach. Think about it - when people are fired, it can almost always be linked to soft skills.
As a manager, be proactive. Insist on soft skills training to teach or reinforce the type of emotional intelligence necessary for success in the workplace. The more your team expands these capabilities, the more your business will flourish.
When it comes to soft skills training, you want to aim for the skills that are the most valuable for your business in the long run. LinkedIn explains, “And while the half-life of many hard skills is shrinking, soft skills stay relevant: a particular programming language may go out of fashion, but creativity, adaptability, and collaboration skills will always be valuable.” These are the most in-demand soft skills for the workplace:
Communication: Verbal and written communication is key. In the workplace, employees need to know how to express ideas confidently and politely, as well as how to listen to others.
Collaboration: Healthy teamwork is essential for success, but many people do not know how to work collaboratively. Employees need to know how to listen, coordinate, and exchange ideas with others.
Organization: Under the umbrella of “organizational skills” is time management. In the workplace, it is critical for employees to know how to manage their time to meet expectations.
Leadership: Ideally, you want to upskill leadership so that members of your team understand how to motivate others towards reaching shared goals.
The good news is that there are multiple types of soft skills training available, so you can choose the type that best meets your organization’s culture and needs.
Online Learning Courses: There is an endless amount of eLearning platforms with courses designed to teach soft skills, such as the Speaking with Confidence Course on LinkedIn Learning. Unlike the human resources VHS tapes of the past, these courses are modern, relevant, and compelling.
Workplace Mentoring: If you have a mentorship program at work, use this program for soft skills training. Ask mentors to model soft skills in action, such as collaborating with co-workers.
On-site Training Workshops: Host an in-person soft skills training led by a professional. If you can’t host it on-site, look for virtual training with industry experts.
Social Learning: Many times, soft skills training comes from real-life experiences, such as interactions with co-workers. This is where team building activities are especially helpful.
Before you hire a professional soft skills educator, you need to perform a needs assessment. For instance, don’t waste money on organizational skills training if you run a home organization business. Instead, consider your soft skill needs. Is your team struggling to communicate or work together? Are you disappointed by the lack of leaders on your team? Look for soft skills training that meets your needs.
Next, provide opportunities to practice soft skills in the workplace. For example, why offer leadership courses if you aren’t going to allow employees to take the lead? Give those employees who are expanding their leadership skills a chance to lead. Encourage those employees to strengthen their collaborative skills to work with others.
Finally, create a learning culture. If your workplace chemistry is one where growth is accepted and encouraged, your team will embrace learning (or relearning) soft skills. Make it normal for employees to share books on leadership, send out links to professional podcasts, and post examples of time management tools.
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