Why Soft Skills Training Matters (And How to Give It to Your Employees)
When managers think of training, they often think of hard skills. Technical skills.
The skills that “get the job done.”
And those skills are very important.
But there’s a range of skills that matter just as much, or as we’ll show you later, matter more than hard skills.
And those are soft skills.
The kind of skills that have to do with the way you think, the way you behave, and how you interact with other people.
Which leads to the natural question:
Why Do Soft Skills Matter?
West Monroe set out to answer that same question by surveying 1,250 individuals across two surveys made up of 600 HR and recruiting professionals and 650 full-time employees who regularly work with their company’s technology teams.
Here’s what they found:
- 98% of HR leaders say soft skills are important in landing a technology position. In fact, they think they’re so important that 67% say they didn’t hire technically qualified candidates because they lacked soft skills.
- Verbal communication and collaboration were ranked as the most important soft skills.
- Once hired, most companies don’t invest in developing their technology professionals’ soft skills. Nearly one-quarter of companies provide soft skills training to line-of-business employees, but not to IT.
- HR leaders consider leadership to be the least important soft skill for prospective technology hires.
- Technology employees often don’t ascend the career ladder, with 39% of companies lacking a technology background in the c-suite.
- 43% of full-time employees say soft-skills-related challenges with IT have negatively impacted their work.
- Collaboration-based issues have delayed or prolonged a project for 71% of respondents. One-third of employees have missed a deadline altogether because of communication issues.
It should be clear now why soft skills are important. But before you can start training your employees in these skills, you need to know what skills to train them in.
What are Some of the Top Soft Skills?
LinkedIn recently surveyed 291 hiring managers in the U.S. and the majority of them (59%) believed that soft skills were difficult to find.
So they “analyzed the soft skills listed on the profiles of members who job-hopped (defined as a member changing their employer on their LinkedIn profile) between June 2014 and June 2015 to identify the most sought-after soft skills among employers.”
According to the results of their findings, the most in-demand soft skills are:
- Critical thinking
- Interpersonal communication
- Friendly personality
And these were the least in-demand soft skills:
- Business planning
- Cross-functional team leadership
- Emotional intelligence
- Team building
- Team management
- Resume writing
A study coming from Google confirms some of these skills.
In 2013, Google wanted to understand what qualities their top employees all possessed.
Shockingly, STEM expertise came in last.
The other seven characteristics were:
- Being a good coach
- Communicating and listening well
- Possessing insights into others (including their different values and points of view)
- Having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues
- Being a good critical thinker
- Being a problem solver
- And being able to make connections across complex ideas.
So there is without a doubt a very high need for soft skills and not enough employees have them.
The question is…
How Do You Conduct Soft Skills Training?
By giving them the ability to learn soft skills at their own pace at work, home, their commute or anywhere else.
Soft skills take time to learn and practice.
It’s not the same as hard skills where you can memorize a fact or process and put it into action.
Soft skills need to be refined. You need feedback from your peers as you try new communication methods, new ways to think about problems, different ways to engage and lead people.
You need a training platform that’s flexible and can be used on-demand.
Like Enterprise Training.
And if you try out Enterprise Training for 14 days free, you can gain immediate access to our top soft skills training course:
Smart Leadership, parts 1-6.
Along with hundreds of other leadership and professional development courses.
If improving soft skills is a goal for your organization, start your free trial of Enterprise Training today.
Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!