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01.03.2022 Company Culture

Why you need to provide employee soft skill training (and how to do it!)

Why you need to provide employee soft skill training (and how to do it!)

Soft skills are an essential part of a functioning and productive team. They ensure your team can communicate with each other, overcome problems and boost productivity.

We’ve discussed at length why soft skills are important and how to assess the skill level your employees currently hold. But, what if you want to increase their soft skill level? Is it possible? And how do you do it?

The good news is that soft skills are indeed trainable! Providing training for soft skills is something an employer can and should do. We’ll walk you through this.

Why should employers provide soft skills training?

Soft skills aren’t measurable, which may put you off of training your team in these areas. After all, if you can’t measure the return on your investment, what is the point in making the investment in the first place?

While you’d be forgiven for making this initial assumption, just because the benefits can’t be directly measured doesn’t mean they won’t be felt. The following areas will see a marked improvement if soft skill training is provided:

Employee experience

Employees who can communicate effectively, give and receive feedback, and manage their time in an organised way are more likely to have a positive employee experience.

The ability to inform their team members of what is and isn’t working in the current processes will mean things aren’t bottled up and left to explode. Additionally, the ability to prioritise the workload better will mean a better work-life balance and further improved experience.

Employee Retention

Another undeniable benefit of training your employees in soft skills is the rise you will see in your employee retention rates.

A huge 94% of employees have cited investment in their learning and development as a reason to stay at a company. And, a study from Boston College, Harvard, and the University of Michigan indicated that training specifically in soft skills can increase productivity and retention by 12%. This may not be surprising when you consider that with better communication and problem-solving skills, your employees will be equipped to let you know what is bothering them and will know how to fix this.

Filling management positions

Cost-per-hire is one of the most important statistics for companies to consider when recruiting for a role. With the cost of hiring being higher depending on the seniority of the role and a mid-level manager requiring about 6 months on the job to return the company’s investment, alternative ways to fill these positions are ideal.

One fantastic way to achieve this is by helping existing employees move into these management roles. Management training, leadership courses, and other soft skills development sessions can do this. The best part? This will help with employee retention, too!

How to train soft skills

So, you’ve seen the light. Training your employees in soft skill areas is well worth the effort. You’re ready to reap the benefits. But, how do you do this? Well, the following are a few of the most common soft skills that a team may need training on and how to teach them:

Leadership

Soft skills training courses are a great way for employees to learn, and thanks to e-learning platforms such as Udemy, they’re easy to access now. There are plenty of courses in this area available online to choose from.

Alongside this, events are regularly held that can help to train your staff in different areas of leadership. Whether this is empathetic leadership, lateral leadership, or something more niche, you’ll be sure to find an event in your area to help learn more! Platforms like Eventbrite are a great way to get started.

Time management

One of the best ways to encourage strong time management skills in your employees is to provide them with mentorship. This is an interactive way of implementing soft skills training.

Mentors are a great way for employees to talk about their goals, whether personal or professional, and help to prioritise and work towards these. A mentor helps to sort through what is important and what can be put on hold, to ensure an employee is properly managing their time. Their mentor could either be a manager, an external consultant or a full-time workplace coach.

Find more about how mentorship and workplace coaching works in our article what is work coaching and why should you implement it?

Communication

One of the best ways to improve communication throughout your team is with well-thought-out team events.

This doesn’t simply mean going to the bar with your team, although this is for sure one way to bond. More challenging team events, with actionable activities or a clear goal in mind, are a great way to get your team communicating towards a common goal.

Offering some communication advice, tips, or techniques during the session is a great way to ensure they’re working on these soft skills during a low-stake situation.

Presentation skills

As much as many of us hate to admit it, presentation skills are an extremely useful soft skill.

Whether your employees will be working with clients and presenting pitches, or speaking at industry events, ensuring their presentation skills are up to scratch is essential.

One way we have found works great for doing this is by organising lunch and learn sessions for our team.

A lunch and learn usually consists of one team member with a certain skill or niche area of interest presenting some information on this to the wider team. This can be done either with a presentation, a small product demo or a workshop.

This is a low-pressure soft skills training technique that allows different team members to practice presenting in front of some friendly faces. The best part? Our other employees can learn something too!

Not everyone will be suitable for every skill

Upskilling is one of the best investments you can make for your team.

However, expecting every employee to be a master of everything is not a healthy outlook to hold. In some cases, it will be a better investment to bring a new team member on board than to try to teach an existing employee something they aren’t interested in or able to learn.

Luckily, bringing an employee on board is easier with JOIN. Our fast and free talent attraction software allows you to seamlessly build, promote, and manage your job postings all from one place. Therefore, we help you find and select candidates faster and more efficiently.

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Find out how JOIN can simplify your hiring process!

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Now you know how to train your employees in soft skills, why not read into how to teach them hard skills, too?

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