Importance of soft skills in learning and development
The nature of jobs and businesses is changing at an unprecedented pace. This has resulted in a large number of unemployable educated youth. Even for existing employees, L&D managers find it a challenge to design and deliver development programmes which can re-skill them at such a pace. An L&D study conducted in 2019, reveals that organisations with highly engaged employees are over twice as likely to prioritize soft skills training. It is no surprise that the only common denominator in several L&D studies conducted since the 90s has been the importance of soft skills.
Jobs of the future
As industry gets more and more automated, the human jobs of the future are going to be those which rely on soft skills and the human touch. There is a growing emphasis on customer service, and impactful and professional communication skills will be in even greater demand in the new age of AI. Increasingly, jobs require greater creativity, collaboration and relationship building. This is also reflected in what we hear from our clients: more than academic qualifications, it is the ability to be creative in high pressure situations that businesses need.
A recent Bersin study found only 6% organisations feel their leadership pipeline is ready and 86% companies across the world cite “gaps in their leadership pipeline” as one of their top 3 issues. Our work with corporate organisations reveals that many employees get stuck at middle management, not for lack of their technical abilities, but due to lack of soft skills which impedes their ability to be in leadership and strategic roles. Soft skills, or what are called 21st century skills, improve the ability to interpret data quickly, assess a situation and then come to a decision. Future leaders need these skills. Not just be knowledgeable, they need to work with others -- communicate, cooperate, collaborate, and more challenging, inspire!
A good learner doesn’t look very different from a star employee
The hallmark of a good soft skills training programme is not just imparting knowledge and building skills, but also developing the ability to self-reflect and self-learn. Sounds familiar? Those are exactly the skills that businesses need to foster in their employees across the board and is what makes our training method so effective.
Managing the 10%
Does L&D in your organisation follow the golden 70:20:10 ratio? While planning the 10%, remember to include an adequate focus on soft skills. The following soft skills are essential to any L&D plan:
- Diversity and inclusion: Skills such as working effectively in a diverse environment and avoiding unconscious bias can add intercultural fluency to your organisation’s value proposition. Training your employees in this area sends a strong message about organisational values, promotes a good work culture and can help avoid HR and PR disasters in the era of movements such as #metoo.
- Interpersonal communication: Communication effectiveness enables organisational effectiveness. Many studies on customer facing teams have shown that top performers have better English skills compared to the rest of the team. In our experience as well, English training has a direct impact on CSAT scores.
- Productivity and performance: Equip your employees with the skills and awareness they need to be part of high performance teams. You can train them to be able to build meaningful relationships for your business, to run productive meetings and manage their own time effectively.
- Customer service: Make sure your employees are able toempathise with and delight your customers, and that your customer service to truly adds to your brand value proposition.
- Leadership communication: Your ability to deliver in a challenging and changing environment depends on your current and future leaders’ ability to inspire their teams and customers. Train them on the art of strategic business storytelling, creating their executive presence, and coaching and mentoring.
Soft skills and communication skills training solutions are the need of the hour and must be modern, effective, scalable and digitally-enabledfor maximal outreach. This training is needed by all organisations - government organisations, leading private sector companies and educational institutions across the world.