Compared with hard skills that show off a person’s understanding and experience in measurable traits, soft skills focus on building relationships with others and adapting to new situations. Already deemed to be essential to any growing company, such skills are viewed to be the key to make work better and easier.
As a matter of fact, these traits are now being displayed at the forefront of any job application. Soft skills are considered crucial as they measure teamwork, indicate job longevity, facilitate growth, show organization, prove initiative, and develop leadership. If you’re a business owner looking to help your employees improve their soft skills, follow the simple methods listed below.
Begin with a training needs assessment
Before you can do anything else, you’ll need to conduct a training needs assessment to determine the current level of knowledge, skill, or competency of your employees in different areas. This can basically help you identify gaps that you need to fill in. In conducting the assessment, you’ll first need to perform a gap analysis using tools, such as individual interviews, focus groups, HR records, observations, and questionnaires or surveys.
Then, create a list of training options. In choosing the best personal development training for employees, you have to consider certain factors, including the cost, problem, legal compliance, time, and even return on investment. You can then report your training plans to your team.
Foster a growth mindset
According to industry experts, among the most essential soft skills in any workforce are agility, emotional intelligence, and resilience. However, before you can even encourage your people to change and develop such personal skills, they need to have a growth mindset.
You can’t force your employees to engage in training or be self-aware. So, instead, find a way to help them understand that soft skills can be learned and that they can potentially boost their professional career.
Before you start with the development training or course, it’s best to encourage your employees to perform self-reflection. This simple method is an effective way to help employees figure out what particular soft skills they need to improve the most. At the same time, your people also get to recognize the soft skills they are already great at.
You can perform 360-degree feedback or self-assessment for this. Teach practices for self-reflection, such as meditation, writing, running, and walking. You can further encourage these practices by scheduling a time of at least 10 minutes for self-reflection.
Give opportunities to practice
You can’t possibly develop soft skills without practice. That said, provide your employees with the opportunity to improve their soft skills in creative, interactive ways. For instance, make sure not to isolate the work tasks if you’re looking to enhance your people’s collaboration skills. For practicing critical thinking and problem solving, assignments that require brainstorming will do. However, if you’re looking to enhance communication and teamwork better, organizing a fun outdoor retreat is a great idea.
Another smart way to execute this is to give them a chance to work with a coach or mentor who specializes in soft skills development. These professionals can offer personalized training or mentoring to your employees, as well as provide concrete advice and guidance to determine which situations soft skills are most useful for.
Stay open for feedback
Feedback is an essential element in nurturing a learning work environment in your company. As their leader, you need to set a good example for your team. Develop and showcase your own soft skills, and ask your team for feedback. For instance, whenever you are giving instructions for a project, make it a habit to ask them about how you clearly communicated the plan with them. Doing so is also a good way to let your employees know that you value their opinions.
In turn, you should also give your regular feedback regarding the soft skills they have developed. Are they able to communicate well with one another? Are your department heads fostering productive skills, such as time management, critical thinking, and stress management, among their members? You can always come up with additional tactics for improvement based on the regular feedback you receive and acquire. Talk to your managers or department supervisors on how you can enhance everyone’s workplace roles.
As an increasing number of organizations have now been prioritizing soft skills in their work environments, it’s not surprising to see employees also getting interested in developing their professional attributes. Start fostering soft skills development in your workplace by taking these tips into consideration.