What are the top soft skills and training your employees need?

It’s well known that soft skills—an employees ability to interact effectively and productively with other people given any situation in the workplace—are a crucial, “must have” element of any organization’s training and development program. As important as tangible skills, soft skills are deemed essential by hiring managers. So the question is: which of them should you prioritize in your training?

Read on as we list some of the top soft skills and training your employees need to thrive in the workplace.

But first…

Are There Benefits in Training Soft Skills?

Yes! A study from MIT concluded that soft skills training yielded a 250% return on investment (ROI) increase in just eight months. It may be harder to train and measure than hard skill sets, but bottom line, organizations that invest in soft skills of their employees reap higher monetary benefits. Furthermore, soft skills development translates to improved work results, decreased employee attrition, and better employee commitment and loyalty.

The Society for Human Resource Management concluded that soft skills are more recognized than technical skills since soft skills are about human interactions, usually considered the blood of any organization. Technical skills alone will not show your edge; your soft skills will. The Stanford Research Institute International even stated that 75% of long-term job success depends on soft skills mastery and only 25% on hard skills.

Top soft skills to build in the workplace

So what are the top soft skills and training your team needs in order to become your organization’s rockstar employees? See the list below:

Communication Skills

Being “clear, concise, and honest” in verbal and written communication is one of the most important skills in the workplace, as seen in data compiled by LinkedIn. Indeed, poor communicators in the workplace will often find it hard to drive home a point or relay an instruction in a precise manner. This lowers efficiency, especially in operations.

For current and budding leaders, excellent communication skills are vital. Therefore, training on effective speaking and listening are critical parts of any management training. Even Google includes this skill on their list of what defines a good manager. Many companies with poor communicators among their leadership ranks realize low morale and burnout among their employees.

Training needed:

  • Public speaking workshops
  • Being able to practice public speaking and debate to mitigate the soft skill gaps in presenting, speaking, and listening.

Flexibility/Adaptability

Technology advances, and market demands change. Therefore, employees must learn to be on their toes and ready to change direction as needed. Being able to cope with rapid developments (that may outdate their current processes) or with a change in the organizational structure (that may transfer them to a new designation) is essential.

A more specific skill that can be related to flexibility and adaptability is change management—the ability to effectively organize and navigate a structured plan that anticipates a possibly disruptive change. As proven by the COVID-19 pandemic, major unexpected business disruptions do happen, and only a well-prepared change management plan can save them.

Training needed:

  • Internal training about other team’s processes. This could help in developing employee mindset that career exploration is good.
  • Employee training related to the functions of other teams can help with the familiarity of a company’s overall structure/business model, the discovery of best practices, and the realization that one’s skillsets can also be utilized in fields outside of their current one.

Leadership Skills

Leadership ability is a soft skill that managers need to possess to ensure that a company is moving towards its visions and goals. Remarkable people skills from good leadership retain good talent and inspire them to do better. On the other hand, poor leadership almost always translates to attrition.

There are a lot of other soft skills that are important to the development of great leadership, including strong presentation skills, communication skills, time management, coaching for success, and problem solving.

Training needed:

  • Opportunities for employees to become an interim/second-in-command supervisor.
  • Reading books and attending leadership training programs.
  • Providing more responsibility and putting employees out in the field for practical experience.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

It is good to hire people with the technical skills for the job. However, the natural skill of a person to interpret any information or data, see patterns, create projections, or come up with a feasible solution to an anticipated problem is of greater value to hiring managers now. Due to fast, constant changes in technology alongside tight competition, companies need critical thinkers and problem solvers who will bring in new perspectives and provide clever solutions against unforeseen challenges.

Training needed:

  • Participating in issues discussions on a team.
  • Observing the information itself, trying to formulate an analysis, and discussing it with teammates, if possible.
  • How to have a solution ready before presenting a challenge to one’s boss.

Teamwork/Collaboration Skills

Companies are built from groups of people working to achieve a single goal. Hence, being able to effectively work with others is a valuable skill in any work environment. Team players who share their talent and skills and value collaborating with others increase the quality of their outputs. Team players help in cultivating a friendly office culture, which often results in an increase in job satisfaction and a decline in employee attrition.

Training needed:

  • Active participation in team meetings and team building events.
  • Becoming proactive in building rapport within a team, like lending a hand in projects or covering for work during colleague’s leaves.

Time Management

Work from home setups due to the pandemic have further blurred the line between work and life. Since the home is also the workplace now, distractions are significantly increased for employees. This may lead to piling up of work, which can overwhelm the employee. Worse, it may result in procrastination.

In addition to how hectic the work pace can get and how people work in today’s workplace, a strong sense of time management has proven to be a vital skill. Productivity and finding ways to work amidst disturbances drive the organization forward.

Training needed:

  • Classroom training related to proper scheduling, using productivity tools, time-blocking, habits and hacks to increase productivity.

Conflict Management

Conflicts are part and parcel of the business. Putting different people of different backgrounds, ideas, and beliefs together in a high-pressured environment such as the workplace may – at some point – lead to a clash. This is why individuals with strong conflict resolution skills—employees that are mature and with high emotional intelligence—are valuable at work. Being able to strive for teamwork and constructive work amidst disagreements with colleagues or their bosses is crucial since it eliminates serious repercussions, such as people leaving the company or even lawsuits.

Training needed:

  • Training on how to be a good mediator - someone who can resolve conflicts in a direct but delicate manner.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, soft skills training for employees is a must. Organizations must be ready to provide opportunities and a supportive environment for these training. If possible, companies should integrate these into their learning management systems (LMS) as online mandatory trainings that are fast and convenient to take. No LMS yet? Learn more about our award-winning LMS or book a demo today.