With technological advancement slowly gaining momentum after corona, companies are scrambling to hire employees with skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Science, Digital Marketing, etc. While technical skills are important, researches show soft skill consistently rank among the traits that companies need most. In general, soft skills rarely get the attention they deserve, but that does not mean they are not valuable to the company.
For instance, for a Java Developer position, only a person with knowledge and experience in Java is preferred. The same is the case with Marketing, Accounts, Manufacturing, Healthcare, etc. But if these employees are trained with soft skills as well, it will do a world of good to the company in terms of productivity and profitability. More and more companies have begun to recognize how soft skills at the workplace differentiate a good business from an average one. Since soft skills rely on interpreting social skills, it is quite difficult to train an employee through training sessions, unlike technical skills, but it is more than possible to help employees improve in these areas. As author Peggy said, “soft skill gets little respect, but they will make or break your career.” Ultimately, every organization lives or dies by the quality of its leadership.
Soft Skills are nothing but competencies or rather a combination of abilities related to people and social situations rather than their technical abilities. In other words, Soft Skills are personal attributes typically linked with how you work and interact with others. Soft Skills tend to be more personality-focused than your qualification, technical knowledge, experience, etc., and are not job-specific. For instance, relationship-building, collaboration, teamwork, communication skills, critical thinking (ie, fosters employees’ ability to think out of the box by weighing the pros and cons of various options to make informed decisions to achieve desired results ), active listening, ability to understand others point of view, time management (empower employees to achieve working goal more efficiently within the given time frame), etc., Soft Skills are considered to be one of the most essential skills one must have in order to have a successful and a lucrative professional career.
Effective communication forms the cornerstone of soft skills. The importance of Soft Skills varies from role to role, and the domain in which employees work. For instance, if you are working in Sales and Marketing, HR and Recruitment, BPO, Advertising, Media, etc., Soft Skills are an essential and important component of the daily routine. But, if you are working in Accounts, Research & Development, Software, Manufacturing, Education, Healthcare, etc., along with the technical skills, you must develop soft skills as well to have a balance at work, and also please note, one skill should not be skewed in favor of the other, because it can paralyze your work environment. While passion is definitely important, people also require the right kind of knowledge, expertise, tools, and skills in order to work effectively.
A few important Soft Skills that can improve your profile are as follows:
- Leadership Skills and Interpersonal Skills
- Team Management and Motivational Skills
- Emotional Intelligence
- Managing Conflicts
- Body Language
- Time and Stress Management
- Business Etiquettes
- Communication Skills (both written and oral) and Presentation Skills
- Professional Ethics and Development
- Team Work
- Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
- Decision Making
- Creativity and Innovation
- Public Speaking
Specific soft skills you need to train your employees with:
– Time Management
– Collaboration and Team Work
– Positive Attitude
– Problem Solving and critical thinking
Best Strategy adopted by companies to upskill employees on Soft Skills :
Soft skill Training can be provided in a number of ways to your workforce. They are as follows:
Mentoring / Coaching is an effective way to impart soft skills training for improving communication and Leadership skills. If employees are found lacking in specific soft skills such as leadership or communication skills, consider bringing in a mentor or a coach, and tailor a learning approach that is specific and targeted, hence, providing a pathway for the employee to overcome that problem.
Workshops: If you want to train an entire group of employees on soft skills, then go in for a Workshop. Create a course structure with a concrete and action-oriented purpose aimed at solving the current problems faced by employees. For instance, conflict resolution with clients, communication and interpersonal skill for sales, time management for project deadlines, etc.,
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR can be effective ways to develop soft skills in employees These tools allows the employer to effectively simulate real-time scenarios that employees might face on a day-to-day basis, and provide a solution to react to those situations. For instance, you can use an Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled virtual human with social and emotional intelligence to teach interpersonal skills to employees using a Virtual Reality (VR) training method.
Identify areas of improvement: Identifying existing weaknesses in your employees/team, can provide a solid starting point for companies looking to improve in these areas. For instance, if a team consistently misses project deadlines, they may require additional support in terms of building time management. Similarly, identifying gaps in employees’ communication and customer relation skills can be overcome by providing training on communication skills and interpersonal skills.
Consider external soft skill training: When internal training isn’t sufficient, many organizations consider sending their employees for external training to places such as eduJournal, where professional and industrial leaders provide quality training on leadership, interpersonal skills, communication skills, strategic or critical thinking, time management, etc., which will enable you to improve your career path.
Benefits of Soft Skill Training Program:
- Improved Sales
- Better Customer Service
- Improved Negotiation Skills
- Improved employee retention
- Improved Employee productivity and performance
- Improved Decision Making
- Adaptability with the job, work culture, etc
- Effective Time Management
- Add new customers and profitability
- Building a strong and dynamic workforce
Designing a soft skill training program :
For designing an employee’s soft skill training program, the following steps need to be followed:
1) Decide what soft skills are necessary for your employee’s training program: You have to align your training program with your business goals. So select the soft skill required for this purpose. For instance, if you want to increase sales for your company, you can focus on improving soft skills aligned to that viz., communication and interpersonal skills, customer service, negotiation skills, etc.,
2) Identify the gaps and evaluate your current training program: Analyze the feedback and make changes accordingly.
3) Decide the format of your training program: The format can be through any of the following:
- a) Coaching / Mentoring
- b) On-site Classroom Training
- c) Online / eLearning Training
- d) On-the-job learning
- e) Blended Learning (ie., a combination of classroom and online learning)
4) Rolling out the training: Share the details with the employees and roll out the training program.
The problem with many people is that they still believe that soft skills are innate qualities, rather than something that can be trained and developed. Fortunately, in-demand soft skills like leadership, communication, interpersonal skills, etc., can be trained and developed. Competencies like communication, leadership, problem-solving, Critical Thinking, etc., underpin almost all facets of your training business operation. Hence, soft skills are crucial in attracting new clients for your business, improving customer support, and building a strong and dynamic workforce. Good soft skill training will give your organization a competitive advantage over your rivals and will result in greater productivity and profitability. Hence, developing soft skill training for employees is as important as developing technical skill training in any organization