3 Ways to Strengthen Soft Skills in Your Organization
Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - Prophit Co.
Soft skills, soft skills, soft skills. Creativity, problem solving ability, critical thinking, adaptability, and so on. You hear about these all the time, and how important they are not only for building a career, but for bringing value to an organization.
Job seekers are encouraged to emphasize soft skills on their resume. In 2019, LinkedIn reported that 92% of organizations want more soft skills (LinkedIn). They are undoubtedly in high demand in the modern workplace, and it’s no wonder why.
There’s a reason why they’re now being dubbed “power skills” (link to 9.13.23 WOW). For example, skills like empathy and communication make it not only more likely for a company to understand and retain their clients, but also more likely for employees to get along better and produce more win/win outcomes. Or, as another example, adaptability ensures that a company’s employees are prepared to deal with change on a whim, which again yields both internal and external competitive advantages.
Despite this, it’s nowhere near a guarantee that employees will come into a job with all of the soft skills that an employer is looking for. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report found that 89% of job recruiters say that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it usually stems from a lack of soft skills.
The opportunity here might stick out to you right away. Instead of letting employees go because of their lack of soft skills, why not make an effort to improve their soft skills in-house, and increase your chances of retaining them for the future? Why not implement training and development initiatives for soft skills in the same way you would a hard skill?
Forbes shed light on a number of ways that organizations can develop their employees’ soft skills. Here are a few of them:
- Make soft skills tangible. Leeno Karumanchery, PhD, recommends that companies create or adopt a system that allows employees to gain tangible, actionable insights as to their implementation of soft skills and the impact it creates. Doing so will emphasize the value that these skills bring and avoid perceptions that time spent on building soft skills is time wasted.
- Implement continual training and feedback loops. Do so in the same way that you would gradually train employees in hard, technical skills. Debi Bliazis states that it could be as simple as discussing and learning about soft skills in meetings. Or it could be a more widespread initiative offered to larger groups.
- Make the impact of soft skills clear. Keri Higgens recommends that companies define which soft skills they are looking for and how exactly those soft skills support the company’s strategy and overall success. When employees know the “why” behind that they are doing, they are much more likely to buy-in to any initiative, including soft skills development.
The impact of soft skills can’t be understated, but they are not easy for everyone to develop and implement without help. There’s little benefit to letting so many talented employees slip through the cracks for a lack of soft skills. Instead, provide avenues for employees to train and develop them just as you likely already do for their technical skills.
Forbes Human Resources Council. “10 Proven Methods To Support The Development Of Soft Skills In Your Employees” [Article]. 14 February, 2020. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2020/02/14/10-proven-methods-to-support-the-development-of-soft-skills-in-your-employees/ [Accessed August 17, 2023]
LinkedIn Corporate Communications. “LinkedIn Releases 2019 Global Talent Trends Report” [Article]. 28 January, 2019. LinkedIn Pressroom. https://news.linkedin.com/2019/January/linkedin-releases-2019-global-talent-trends-report [Accessed August 17, 2023]