5 Steps to take to develop employee soft skills

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Soft skills are equally as important as hard skills in the workplace. Hard skills are measurable and generally seen as your technical skills. Soft skills on the other are harder to measure, and include people skills, or interpersonal skills and relate to the way in which you can relate to or interact with others. Soft skills in the workplace typically include skills in leadership, communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, time and stress management, conflict and anger management, critical thinking, change and diversity management, presentations and negotiation skills, listening skills, self-motivational skills, etc.

The Mindspa Institute is a soft skills training partner and confidant for so many successful businesses and HR managers who believe that soft skills are at the core of their growth. “Unfortunately, some people believe that soft skills aren’t that important. However, almost every employer I’ve ever talked to about this disagrees. In a world where job roles are changing rapidly, soft skills will be one of the few constants […]” – Chris Jones, Chief Executive at City & Guilds via backingsoftskills.co.uk explains.

Soft skills should be taught in the right way and continuously developed. Here are a few steps to begin with:

1. Assessment

Assess the training needs of your staff. During this assessment it helps to remember that there are a few levels of employees as well as different departments within your organisation. An entry level employee like an intern will have different training and skills development needs than say, for example, an older management level employee. Don’t concentrate on customer relationship building skills for the call centre staff exclusively but also consider expanding it over departments up skilling for example the front desk staff and secretaries in these types of skills.

Assessments can be conducted in a few ways:

· interviews with your employees,

· questionnaires,

· observations,

· analysing what your competitors are doing in terms of skills development

· as well as assessing the work done by employees through performance appraisals.

2. Ear-mark Employees and their development

You, as an HR Manager, will be able to spot potential in an employee. Some employees will stand out and with leadership development or proper time management skills, that certain employee will become a manager. Technical staff members, who have a lot to offer in terms of guidance and experience, don’t necessarily have the right soft skills in place when they are promoted to managerial level. Here an initial investment into their skills development will ensure that the company picks the fruit in the long run.

3. Teach soft skills smart

Make sure to partner with a well-known and recommended soft skills training provider. The Mindspa Institute can tailor any course on offer to fit the desired needs of your employees. Employees who know that their companies invest in their skills development feel like they are not just a number, but that the company cares. The Mindspa also offers an “On-the-job-training” type of method where the company doesn’t need to send the employees off to training, but they get mentored and trained whilst completing their daily tasks at their offices. This helps employees to apply the skills they learn to actual situations happening right there right now. And the plus is that companies don’t lose productivity.

4. Hire people who want to learn

Hire candidates from the start who want to learn. Potential employees who not only seem eager to further their knowledge but are also willing to go through a mentoring process will become a great asset to your company. In the words of Author Peggy Klaus: “Soft skills get little respect but they will make or break your career.”

5. Teach in a way employees will understand

As you know from school, various individuals learn in different ways. Training programmes should be relevant and attract the employees’ attention. Partner with a training company who knows how to communicate and present to various generations, cultures and genders across a wide spread of different industries and fields.

Long term job satisfaction and success are determined by soft skills development. Soft skills can easily be developed through training. Human Resources managers should become proactive with the development of these skills amongst their employees. The Mindspa Institute has a national footprint and makes this task less challenging for HR Managers. Visit www.themindspa.co.za to view all the soft skills training courses on offer.

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