Developing Employee’s Soft Skills

Companies today are facing hiring challenges as a result of a tight labor market and large skills gap. Not only do employers want to find talent quickly, but they want to find candidates that have future-proof, flexible soft-skills. As LinkedIn reported in January of 2019, the soft skills that are in-demand most right now are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and time management. These are skills that often enable people to thrive in a variety of industries and roles, which is very important in today’s constantly changing world.

In an effort bridge the gap it is vital that employers take initiative to encourage development of their employees soft skills. According to research done by a group of individuals from The University of Michigan Ross, Harvard University, and Boston College, employees that receive skills training are 12% more productive than those without any training. Though that may not seem like a significant number, the studies found that the 12% increased productivity translated into a 256% ROI.

How to Develop Employee’s Soft Skills

There are many ways in which companies can provide and encourage soft skill development. Before choosing what method is most suitable it’s important to understand the organizations needs. Below are three important questions for companies to ask before determining a development method.

  1. What soft skills are the most important for the job?
  2. What soft skills do employees in the organization most commonly lack?
  3. What skills do the employees want to develop that they feel could help improve their work?

Once the organization has a solid understanding of what’s most important it can determine how it will provide development opportunities. Below are some ideas:

  1. Host a skills development workshop that allows employees to lean as a group and get a more hands-on, personal learning experience.
  2. Choose an online learning program that best fits the employee’s needs and that allows them to take courses on their own time.
  3. Give employees projects and assignments that put their soft skill development training into practice and then give them feedback.

Teaching Soft Skills Pays Off

In order to bridge the soft skills gap, it’s time for companies to stop talking about it and start taking initiative. Employers need to determine where the skills gap lies with their employees and come up with a strategy, whether it be online learning, in person workshops, or both, that will develop and improve their soft skills.

By taking initiative to teach these skills, companies will benefit from increased productivity, increased ROI, and a future-ready staff that will be better at overcoming challenges and change; which is vital for success.

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