Soft skills are of great importance when it comes to training your employees. Increasingly, business leaders understand that soft skills play crucial roles in the workplace. Communication, leadership, problem-solving – these are just some of the soft skills required to create a thriving business. However, building those skills can be problematic.
The good news here is that soft skills can indeed be built. While some people might have strong skills due to natural aptitudes or traits, anyone can learn these skills. The trick is to create training opportunities and to drive the importance of building soft skills. In this article, we will cover some of the most important tips to help create successful soft skills training initiatives in any business. Click here for a free resource.
Important Tips for a Successful Soft Skill Training
By following these tips you can make your soft skill training more successful.
Get Your Teams On Board
The first tip has nothing to do with training delivery but everything to do with the success of your initiative. If your team members are not on board with the idea that soft skills matter, nothing you do will have the desired result. So, the first step is to ensure that you can spread the message that soft skills training is not just important, but valued by leadership.
How do you do that? It’s really all about spreading the message and practicing what you preach. The attitudes of your employees reflect the attitudes they see displayed by leadership in many cases. So, start with the C suite and other higher-ups in the business. Get them on board with the idea that soft skills are vital to the business’s success, and things will begin to change.
This shouldn’t be difficult to achieve. After all, selling the idea that strong communication skills are critical for success should not be hard to do. Find ways to help your leaders and managers develop a learning mindset and that will have a profound, immediate effect on your culture, trickling down to employees at all levels.
Define Your Needs
It’s impossible to up-skill if you do not know what skills are needed. What soft skills do you need to develop within your business? Which ones are most critical to overall success, and which ones play a more supplemental role? Take time to delve deep into the various soft skills and the roles they can play within your organization. Some of today’s most important soft skills include the following:
- Growth-focused (growth mindset/abundance mindset)
- Problem-solving/critical thinking
- Emotional intelligence
Once you have defined your needs, it is important to begin mapping those skills to individual employees. Ideally, you’ll take a waterfall approach by training the C suite first, then upper management, then middle management, then team leaders. Once your leadership has been trained in the most critical skills, they can begin training those under them (or you can begin rolling out a soft skills training program through your LMS).
Find Opportunities for Self-Reflection
It is also important to empower your employees to pursue soft skills development on their own. You can encourage them to identify those skills they most need or want to build by providing them with opportunities for self-reflection. Encourage your team members to:
- Note their strengths and weaknesses
- Observe their traits
- Acknowledge what soft skills they are already good at
- Identify soft skills they are lacking
Once they have done this, it becomes easier to create customized training plans pertinent to each individual. And, make no mistake, personalized training is a critical consideration today. You cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach in this area or you risk alienating your employees. Not only that, but you risk creating unnecessary redundancies by training employees in areas where they are already strong. That’s a waste of time and money.
Encourage Teamwork and Collaboration
Considering that teamwork and collaboration are two critical soft skills, you must encourage those in your employees. Find ways to foster more opportunities for teamwork and collaborative activities, whether that’s in joint projects between departments, or through opportunities for volunteering in the surrounding community.
While formalized training through your LMS can provide the foundation for learning new soft skills, it’s the hands-on application of that knowledge that really cements learning. So, find ways to encourage your team members to put their soft skills-related knowledge to work and you might be surprised at just how fast that transforms into actionable skills that drive improved business outcomes.
Be Open to Communication
This is another example of encouraging learning through leadership. Good communication skills are critical in today’s world, particularly for remote teams, but even for those that might be working in the office. You can help build these soft skills by being open to communication yourself. What does that mean, though?
First, consider taking a communications course yourself. Second, make sure that you are willing to engage in dialog with other leaders, managers, and employees in various formats, whether that’s face-to-face, via email, instant messenger, or something else. By being open to and willing to engage in communication, you send the message that this is a valued skill, and your employees will get on board with the idea faster. Not to mention the fact that it will also reduce misunderstandings and help forge stronger ties with your team members, both of which are important.
Provide Multiple Training Options
Your learning management system is a crucial asset. However, it can only do so much. Find ways to provide additional training opportunities for soft skills development.
That might be webinars, surveys, social learning, mentorship programs, or any number of other initiatives. The point is that the more soft skills training opportunities you offer, the more reinforcement there will be of the message that these skills are just as important as “hard” skills and that the business values them and supports employees striving to build those skills.
Here’s to Your Success
With an understanding that soft skills are critical and a willingness to help your team build those skills, it becomes possible to strengthen your business and become more competitive. You’ll find that soft skills development even plays into brand recognition and value, driving better profitability and performance. Back your efforts with a modern, cloud-based LMS and always focus on the value of these critical skills. To learn more, contact eLeaP.