Training Employees for Soft Skills
Some skills never go out of style and are easily transferable from one role to the next. At the same time, ManpowerGroup's report — Robots Need Not Apply: Human Solutions in the Skills Revolution — found that soft skills that are of greatest value are hardest to find. In fact, most leaders report that they are harder to train for than hard skills, according to data from the recently released report, Humans Wanted: Robots Need You.
The good news is that there are ways to train soft skills – and companies need to take ownership for this development.
“Companies have a responsibility to create a culture of learning and to build talent, encouraging continuous learning for all employees, not just those who would develop their skills anyway,” said Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO, ManpowerGroup.
Today, CEOs needs to own the issue. For commitment to be authentic and aligned with business strategy, change must flow from the top and be demonstrated by the leadership team. Here’s how:
New problems will arise as the digital landscape continues to change how we work. In order to meet these new challenges, learnability is necessary. Learnability is the desire and ability to continually learn and grow throughout careers. Cultivating a culture where employees feel like they are constantly learning will not only help motivation, it will also build the soft skills that requires constant development.
Make it measurable
The expected average timeframe required to upskill workers varies across countries, and ranges from 83 days for companies located in Switzerland, to 105 days for companies located in France. So, measuring progress is key. Measuring a goal can take the form of both inputs and outputs. If the goal is to improve leadership throughout the organization, for example, a manager may set a goal of employees joining volunteer committees as an input metric. Then how do you know if you’re making progress through that action? That takes the next step: Output metrics.
Output metrics are often associated with performance reviews, which play a part in developing soft skills. But companies can also create output metrics to set accountability. For example, a manager can rate leadership ability before and after a training activity such as joining committees at work.
Today, more than half (56%) of employers say communication skills, written and verbal, are their most valued human strengths followed by collaboration and problem-solving, according to the global Talent Shortage Survey. In the long term, training soft skills will benefit both employees and businesses.