Soft skills are the traits and talents people have that don’t depend on acquired knowledge and are often connected to emotional reactions to situations as well as social interactions. The soft skills that your employees have, such as being hard-working, teamwork, and confidence are crucial for both hiring decisions and long-term company performance.
Some companies hire talent with soft skills, such as attentiveness, critical thinking and organization, because they align with company values. That makes them a key checkbox to your recruitment process, but you may not realize the long-term impact that such employee skills have on the growth and performance of your company.
If you soon realize that your latest hire isn’t the problem-solver extraordinaire that their resume alluded to, there’s no need to panic.
As a leader, you can nurture your staff and help them to develop their own soft skills, which will become beneficial for both parties in the future.
How to Develop Employee’s Soft Skills
Developing your employee’s soft skills is a great way to help staff to become happier in their role, and perform better. They’ll feel challenged, and because the adaptable skills will serve them well in any future roles outside of your organization, they’ll appreciate the extra push.
A focus on employee soft skill development will also be in your company’s best interests, too. Because the traits allow them to overcome many difficult working practices and be a good overall worker, having a workforce armed with an abundance of soft skills can help to prevent critical workplace dilemmas.
Here are some ways to help develop the soft skills of your employees:
1. Vary People’s Working Patterns
The chances are, your staff have fallen into roles that follow a similar daily routine. This can soon become tedious, but a lack of variety may cause them to become weaker in soft skill areas they are not regularly exercising.
To develop skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and independent research, give your employees a range of tasks to complete. Think of tasks that relate to their role, and discover new ways for that to be done.
For example, if you’re focusing on the development of a key soft skill such as self-confidence, give your staff a role that allows them to exercise this. That could be throwing them into a public speaking role, or asking them to complete a task where they must present their work to their fellow co-workers. In either circumstance, their soft skill of confidence is developed as they have more of an opportunity to practice it.
2. Throw People into the Deep End
Micro-managers are always on their employee’s back. Not only does that cause soft skills (such as independent work) to be weakened, but they haven’t got the full confidence to try new things and develop under-used skills.
This can be avoided by giving responsibility to your staff. Instead of being on their back, give staff the chance to ‘own’ something. Whether that be a new client or one process, they’ll be given more of an opportunity to develop key soft skills – such as independent work, research and problem-solving -given the opportunity.
You could also provide staff with purposeful uncertainty, and challenges that foster the development of their own soft skills. For example, if you want to encourage staff to develop their analytical skills, you could place them on a project that requires them to sort unanalysed data.
3. Recognize and Reward
Now that your staff are equipped with a role that allows them to use and develop soft skills in the workplace, you should soon begin to see a rise in their usage.
An increasing number of companies reward people for closing deals, increasing web traffic, and meeting other project-based goals. While this is a great way to motivate staff, it’s also beneficial to reward people who are exercising their soft skills in the correct manor.
Great mentors, problem-solvers or those who are putting in an extra effort that isn’t noticed should be rewarded, too. Once staff realize that their skill development is allowing the business to make headway, it acts as another form of motivation for them to continue the development in their own time, without constant mentoring.
Now that you’re well-armed with the practices you can implement to develop your employee’s soft skills, it’s time to get to work!
Vary your employee’s schedule to allow them chance to exercise several soft skills on a daily basis, and explore ways that you can set a fitting example.
Through soft skill development and great managing, expect to see a surge in staff productivity – and a notable boost in the quality of your working relationships, too.