Remote work, virtual collaboration and other ways to continue the “new normal” of business while social distancing will continue for the foreseeable future. Some organizations will be transformed entirely as they see how Work from Home and Work from Anywhere policies will become the norm for not just safety, but also providing the flexibility and productivity that employees want from a career.
In this new environment, businesses will need to help their workforce learn and grow with the soft skills needed to excel. This benefits both employers and employees, with 79% of employees who are offered free training like their jobs versus only 61% who are not offered training. Many of the methods that develop employees in the physical workplace can be adapted to remote work. Here are ways to help employees build soft skills in our new normal.
In unpredictable times, we can at least be certain that workers will need to continue to learn new skills and abilities while on the job. In order to meet these new challenges, learnability--the desire and ability to continually learn and grow throughout one's career--is necessary. Cultivating a culture where employees feel like they are constantly learning will not only help motivation, it will also build the soft skills that require 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 posting in a new company chat system as an input metric.
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 a committee at work.
Another logical question for companies is where training for soft skills will come from, especially with a limited or overextended workforce. On-demand coaching is one way to provide effective soft skills training in today's environment. For example, RightCoach helps organizations build leadership skills, increase employee engagement and improve retention through on-demand, situational coaching. RightCoach's proven technology platform simplifies participant experience with easy–to-use, on-demand, self-service scheduling.
COVID-19 has created a dramatic landscape where workplaces need to nurture and support employees, and developing their skills is more important than ever.