Benefits of soft skills training in the workplace
Consider the following scenario.
For marketing purposes, an organisation decides to hand out flyers. The organisation approaches four employees who are well presented to distribute 100 flyers each.
The task is simple, hand out flyers. It requires minimum hard skills and knowledge and should not take the employee more than an hour to complete.
Employee one lacks interpersonal skills, her manner is abrupt and rude. Because of her manner, few people are willing or interested in taking a flyer.
Employee two has poor work ethic. Instead of taking the time to hand out flyers, she dumps them in a bin and takes the time to complete personal tasks.
Employee three struggles to communicate but shyly hands out the flyers received.
Employee four has excellent interpersonal skills and communicates well. Her warm and friendly manner is inviting and with her ability to network she generates small talk regarding the flyers as she hands them out.
The fourth employee is not only more effective but also more productive through optimisation. Though it might have still taken one hour to hand out the required flyers, the employee was at the same time able to network and build rapport, potentially generating more promising leads.
57% of employers look for soft skills that match the job, the team, their company culture, and brand. However, 100% of them look for hard skills that match the job description. (Khlystov, 2022)
It’s true that hard skills are essential to the success of a position, but what is often overlooked is the important contribution of soft skills.
As described in the scenario above, soft skills improve efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and even contribute toward the promotion of a brand.
In a recent report by Upskillist, we explored the importance of soft skills in the workplace. We looked at how soft skills enhance hard skills as well as how cultivating soft skills can drive business success. Download the report here for more information.
Why is it important to hone soft skills in the workplace
An employee’s satisfaction, and thereby performance, is largely influenced by company culture, the leaders and the team dynamic of an organisation.
Being able to communicate and mentor well are soft skills that will help leaders increase employee satisfaction. Adaptability, creativity, work ethics, interpersonal skills and teamwork, help employees adapt to working environments, build healthy habits and take responsibility for their own job satisfaction through integration, self-motivation and resilience.
Even though, as per the previous statistic, only 57% of employers look for job-specific soft skills, over 90% of recruiters think that soft skills are as important, or more important than hard skills. (Khlystov, 2022)
Whether the soft skills are relevant to the job or not, employers have come to realise the value and transferability of soft skills. This means that even though leadership may not be listed as an essential soft skill for a web developer team member, for example, the skill is still useful and will translate into several benefits for the position.
Following the great resignation and considering the volatile employment and economic climate we find ourselves in, employers seek new and innovative ways to boost both employee retention and productivity. So let’s see how soft skills training for employees can help in this regard.
Improve employee retention
Research indicates that it can take one to two years for an employee to become productive.
(Recruit Shop, 2012)
Whilst they spend time adapting to a new team environment, asking questions and building confidence, precious production is lost.
Though this initial investment in employee knowledge and confidence is essential, it’s costly if the employee is not retained.
Employee retention is however not only about saving costs. Retaining employees can benefit the organisation in many areas including:
- Reduction in recruitment, onboarding, and training costs
- Improved morale
- Increased experience amongst employees
- Increased potential to upskill and reskill employees
- Enhanced customer experience
- Improved corporate culture
- Increased productivity
- Improved employee experience
- Increased revenue
- Improved employee engagement and satisfaction
In the 2022 Upskillist Soft Skills Training And Its Impact On Productivity Report, we explore employee retention in much more detail and provide tips on how soft skills training can increase and improve employee retention rates. Download the report here.
Improve productivity at work
Production and performance are greatly enhanced through soft skills training. Competent time managers and communicators are able to manage their daily tasks, time and projects effectively whilst at the same time communicating effortlessly to ensure the seamless completion of tasks, with minimum frustration and miscommunication.
Teamwork facilitates collaboration, and interpersonal skills along with leadership allow individuals to work together to achieve a common goal.
Read more about the impact soft skills have on team productivity in the Upskillist Soft Skills Report here.
The top, most sought-after soft skills for 2022 include time management, communication, adaptability, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, creativity, interpersonal skills, work ethic and attention to detail. These skills are transferable to all industries and able to increase the performance level of every employee.
Now, more than ever, investment in soft skills is crucial for any organisation hoping to build strong, durable and resilient teams.