The workplace is changing.
Even before the Covid-19 Pandemic, employers were seeing skill gaps and shortages, increased requirements for improving workplace diversity, and the need to create more inclusive organisations.
With the impact of the pandemic being felt in the labour market, the Office of National Statistics established that by November 2021, more than half of businesses who reported a worker shortage stated they were unable to meet demands.
More organisations than ever are now finding themselves needing to focus on their existing workforce and looking at the ways they can retain, upskill, and support their staff.
Employers have realised that the traditional ‘soft skills’ – teamwork, communication, leadership skills, productivity, emotional intelligence, problem solving and time management (along with wellbeing) – have become essential factors in employee performance.
What are hard skills and soft skills?
Soft skills are more often described as relating to an individual’s personality traits, attitude, and behaviours. Although these are often innate, they can also be developed and honed through the correct type of training. They’re abstract and more difficult to measure than hard skills as they include communication and people skills. But calling them ‘soft skills’ doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, many organisations argue that they’re more important than some of the more technical ‘hard skills’. Soft skills are the skills help workers to build connections, collaborate with one another, manage conflict and solve problems.
Hard skills are skill sets that are easier to quantify. They’re learned abilities, acquired over time, and improved by repeating and learning. These can include computer skills, having a degree or academic qualification,or the ability to operate certain machinery.
With the changing landscape of the workplace, soft skills are becoming more important than ever across all organisations.
Recruiter Monster reports that ‘you can be the best at what you do, but if your soft skills aren’t cutting it, you’re limiting your chances of career success’ – further demonstrating why more and more employers are focusing on improving the soft skills of their workforce as part of their staff retention planning.
Why are soft skills important?
According to Forbes, ‘Soft skills are essential to the future of work’, and all organisations can benefit from employees who are resilient, good team players and great communicators.
In the changing workplace landscape, organisations need people with soft skills to build relationships and connect with people as this benefits customers and colleagues and in turn, profit margin.
Developing a team of staff with excellent soft skills is essential, because this provides employers with employees who are flexible and adaptable at work, and who cope well during times of change. Most workplaces today are fluid and dynamic, so having a team of staff with an interpersonal skillset that enables them to problem solve, team build, and manage change is essential for employers.
Being a competent communicator and able to work well in a team also makes those with soft skills the best ambassadors for your organisation – more able to build excellent relationships with customers, and more likely to progress in the workplace, ensuring you increase your staff retention.
How do soft skills help wellbeing?
Professional services firm Deloitte found that wellbeing is becoming a number one priority for workers. With home and work life more closely interwoven than ever before, the Covid pandemic has brought the importance of wellness to the forefront. Employees expect a better work life balance, with a focus on health and wellbeing, and many reports indicate that ‘soft skills have the power to help improve mental health’.
Connecting with colleagues, showing empathy, and having emotional intelligence can all help individuals to cope with the stressors they encounter in the workplace and in every day life. Being able to talk about depression and anxiety openly, and in a caring and supportive way, can stop people with mental health issues from feeling isolated, and have a positive effect on their thoughts and feelings.
IOSH states that ‘In this modern age the ability to connect on a human level is critical. We can all make a difference to our workplaces and colleagues, by taking time to develop our soft skills and thinking about how we can use them to support one another’.
Soft skills Training
Employers regularly report that retaining good employees in their organisation is their number one priority, and through upskilling and providing continuous learning, you’ll have more satisfied, engaged staff and higher levels of retention.
But can you really train someone in soft skills? Many employers assume that soft skills are innate and can’t be developed or changed. In fact, assuming your team will always know how to act in any situation can lead to numerous problems. A great deal of evidence suggests that soft skills can be boosted via focused training interventions, and all individuals can benefit from on-going training – to help them to boost their productivity, enhance the way they build relationships with others, and improve the way they communicate.
Soft skills training can get employees to change their own development mindset. Even when an individual isn’t a natural at certain soft skills, it’s possible to train them and improve their skill set. Post-pandemic, teams are communicating in different ways – often via Zoom or other online platforms – and with hybrid workforces. Now is the time to ensure all your employees have the communication skills and flexibility to succeed in a changing world of work.
You’re guaranteed to boost employee confidence too, by investing in their soft skills training you’re showing that you believe in them and want them to continue to grow and develop within your organisation. You’ll help build their confidence and resilience, and give them the opportunity to explore outside their comfort zone.
We work with a number of organisations who ask us to develop bespoke training for them, tailoring it exactly to their team’s learning needs, and helping them to upskill and retain their workforce. We also provide ‘off the shelf’ soft skills training solutions, quick and easy to implement, and ready and waiting for you to try out today.
Some of our most important Soft Skills training courses are explained below:
This course is aimed at managers and supervisors who want to develop more effective relationships with their team members and explores at leadership theory, team development and the importance of communication. The course encourages leaders to look at team goals and demonstrates the importance of teamwork.
Our Emotional Intelligence training course is for those in supervisory roles seeking to develop more effective relationships with members of their teams. This course is a great starting point for people new to their leadership role as well as more established managers that want to enhance their skills and understand themselves. The course acts as a great introduction to the subject and covers the key concepts and theories relating to emotional intelligence.
Our Mental Health Awareness course helps to promote a healthy and supportive working environment and is packed with hints, tips and strategies for supporting employee mental health. The course focuses on workplace wellbeing and is a beneficial tool for all employees as part of their health and wellbeing.
Here, you’ll explore the basics of teamwork and get information about how to successfully put a team of people together who will work well together. The course covers team conflict and conflict management strategies and explores how to build resilience into your team.
Here, you’ll get a shown how to better manage your time, both professionally and personally. Once techniques have been learned and implemented, employers will be left with a happy, healthy and more productive workforce.
This course was designed and developed to make sure that your homeworking employees remain safe and free from ill-health (mentally and physically) when working from home, and also to help them to remain connected and involved within your team This content-rich course is bursting with hints and tips to make working from home as effective and efficient as possible.
RealSense are here to help support and transform all your digital learning, so for more information, advice or support about the importance of soft skills training, or any other training issue, don’t hesitate to
Get in touch.