The Importance of Soft Skills In The Workplace: 11 Skills You Must Teach Your Employees7 min readReading Time: 6 minutes
Soft skills are essential for a business, and although they may be called soft, they are actually hard to develop. But since research has found that 75% of long-term job success comes down to people skills and not technical knowledge, you can’t afford to lose such productivity out of your employees.
Moreover, researchers found that workers with soft skills training are 12% more productive than those without them, and they help generate 256% ROI.
Why a gap in soft skills can kill your business
If jobs were still mostly routine and reliant on specific skills to accomplish as they used to be, sure, lack of soft skills would not matter much. But in recent times, soft skills have become vital and a lack of them limits the company’s productivity. A survey showed that 58% of hiring managers believe the lack of soft skills among candidates is “limiting their company’s productivity.”
Service industries are where soft skills are most needed
In service industries i.e. in a restaurant, interpersonal interactions are more frequent, which means more importance is given to soft skills as opposed to technical jobs. An analysis based on LinkedIn data found out that soft skills are most common among workers in the restaurant, retail, and human resources industries.
Consider making Soft Skills Training Program mandatory
The goal of a Soft Skills training program is for participants to learn and put the acquired skills into practice. But for this to happen, you’ll need high participation, which you’re almost sure you won’t get. It’s optional after all, who will show up out of sheer curiosity? But if you make it a mandatory training program, you don’t leave space for ‘No’s. It’s actually even been proven that such programs boast a higher participant satisfaction rate than their non-mandatory counterparts.
You can’t rely on intrinsic motivation
Sure, some employees will participate out of sheer intrinsic motivation, but the skills of this training need to be acquired by all workers. There will always be other priorities they will have, but in this case, extrinsic motivation is the one that will work. If you make the program mandatory, it will become a priority for all.
Therefore, it might just be the time for you to have a Soft Skills Training. Such skills can be innate, but they are also highly trainable. Here are 11 Soft Skills training topic areas you can teach your employees:
It takes a lot to be a great leader, but it’s not impossible to achieve. You as a leader can be an example to your employees for that. But you have to be more than just a manager. The impact you leave on them has a lot to do with their growth. The soft skills such as motivation and empathy towards them are necessary to cultivate leadership in your organization.
And you intice involvement only by providing opportunities for leaders-in-the-making to step up. Encourage your employees to give ideas so that you unlock hidden potential in them. And make sure to hear their ideas out!
No one likes to admit their mistakes to themselves, let alone in front of colleagues. Accepting the blame is tough, but it’s impossible to learn from mistakes without taking responsibility for them.
That’s why one of the necessary soft skills to train your employees on is to take ownership of their decisions, especially if they hurt the team anyhow. Transparency about mistakes means they can be fixed faster and more effectively.
This is an obvious one, but it’s essential for your employees to be skilled team players. But what does it really mean to be a good team player?
Well, teamwork is a combination of other skills. A team-player is perceptive, intuitive, alert, and helpful in regards to their teammates. They’re also able to negotiate and compromise with their peers when in a discussion about opposing ideas.
4. Open communication
Communication is closely linked to other people skills like effective teamwork and leadership. They can’t do without each other.
A company can survive without open communication, but very few thrive without it. It is a vital skill for success in any business. Poor communicators think that talking is more important than listening when, in reality, it’s the other way around. When good communicators talk, they adjust their tone and style to the audience in a way that makes their colleagues feel understood and respected.
Being confident problem solvers is very important for your employees’ success. Having a good process to use when approaching a problem with which they can solve problems quickly and effectively is necessary. This way they don’t get stuck and waste time and effort.
6. Time management
In any organization, every minute costs; in the restaurant business, every second counts. Time management is considered one of the most essential skills to include in your training for employees and it’s especially important for time-sensitive professions such as restaurant serving.
When employees learn to prioritize well, they’re less likely to be overwhelmed by pressure and deadlines. Employees should be given sufficient information to decide which tasks are most urgent, versus which are most important. Urgent tasks obviously need to get done quickly.
Developing adaptability can add value to a team member. Adaptability means being okay with doing something slightly out of your job description when asked by your team leader. It shows that you really want to help the company succeed when you’re flexible on taking extra responsibilities you’re being trusted on.
8. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is another important skill that your staff should have. Expect for finishing their tasks, they should be able to make decisions critically when faced with challenges. Without critical thinking skills, employees can’t improve processes, innovate in their field, or spot pain points in their team.
9. Emotional Intelligence
High emotional intelligence (EI) is not a given gift, but it is another strong predictor of success. In fact, high EI strengthens the hard skills and helps us think more creatively. EI accounts for nearly 90 percent of what makes the difference between two employees with roughly similar IQ and technical skills. Moreover, research has also found that emotional intelligence has a strong impact on organizational performance.
10. Business Etiquette
Ethical gestures like speaking kindly of others, avoiding gossiping or eavesdropping show the manners of a person, and the same applies to an employee. When an employee arrives on time and dresses appropriately for work, it shows they have respect toward the organization. It goes without saying that business etiquette is important as a skill too.
11. Presentation Skills
Presentation skills are closely related to Communication. And in a workplace we communicate all the time, whether it’s vocally, in writing, visually or by use of gestures or even posture. But it takes a little bit more confidence to be able to present in front of a larger audience.
By developing and practicing Presentation Skills, employees can move past the anxiety of speaking to an audience. When they are taught how to properly present, they build the confidence and ability to share their ideas and opinions.
The ability to think out of the box is another important factor in great leaders. Creative thinkers know that the traditional way of doing things might not work every time, so they have the courage to try a path no one has tried before and solve the issue.
Commitment is another skill that hardworking employees have. When they commit to do something, then they will do it at any cost even if it means working extra hours.They live up to expectation and perform the best they can.
How to do it
For starters, you have to have all these skills yourself as a leader. Only then, you can teach them to your employees. A great leader sets an example to their employees by working harder because he knows if he wants his employees to put in extra effort and to better themselves, then he himself needs to be a live example.
Soft Skill training is important and all, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle for everyone to present or attend. Your team can do it at their desks during the workday, or at home while resting. With eLearning, you can simply create a training course on Soft Skills and make it available to your staff. It has, genuinely, never been easier.