Soft Skills Training for Employees (and Other Non-Job-Specific Training)
According to a study by Harvard University, soft skills training for employees can increase productivity by 12%. This same study found that this non-job-specific training can increase your ROI by 256%.
Combining soft skills training for employees into your onboarding, ongoing, and corrective action training program will help you get the most out of your employees while showing them you value their time and effort.
It can be difficult to decide which skills to focus on as you try to develop your training program. While this will be different for every company, there are some areas that can benefit any industry.
15 Skills Focus Areas
One study found that careers that rely on soft skills training for employees will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. This is because, despite increased automation in the workplace, soft skills are difficult to automate.
Soft skills are the non-technical skills that help you in the workplace. These deal with your abilities to work with others, manage your work, and solve problems.
Skills training outside of focused job training will help your workforce be better and more well-rounded, meaning increased productivity and communication across departments. While there are many areas you can focus training on, there are 15 areas that are profitable for almost every employee.
1. Time Management
Some people seem to have natural time management abilities, while others struggle in this area. Even people who have natural abilities can learn new tips to help better manage their time. Time management is one of the most important areas for soft skills training for employees.
Time management isn’t just about being on time. It’s also about learning to prioritize projects to increase their overall productivity. Providing training on understanding the difference between busy work, important work, and crucial work can benefit all employees.
2. Communication Skills
Communication skills is another key area that all people can work on. This can involve training employees to understand the different communication styles across generations, to improving communication skills within and outside your company, to teaching active listening skills.
Make sure employees are comfortable communicating in all situations, including email, online, or in person. These skills will help open communication across departments and help employees better represent your company outside of the office.
3. Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is closely tied to communication skills, but this skill takes it a step further. With different types of people working together, you will have conflict in the workplace at some point. If employees learn how to manage conflict, you can keep these issues from disrupting productivity.
Help employees learn the best methods to deal with and even avoid conflict whenever possible. If your employees understand how to handle conflict and how to get down to the real issues, you can keep business running smoothly, and you can help employees relate to each other better for a more peaceful workplace atmosphere.
4. Giving and Receiving Feedback
Every employee will have to receive feedback at some point during their career, and most will have to give feedback at some point. Being able to give and receive feedback is considered soft skills training for employees because it goes back to how people communicate with each other.
It’s important for employees to learn how to accept feedback without getting defensive. They need to distinguish when people are trying to help them improve, so they can take in beneficial notes. Likewise, those giving feedback need to learn how to give feedback in a way that adds value for the other person.
5. Critical and Creative Thinking
Critical and creative thinking skills aren’t the same, but they go hand-in-hand when it comes to developing solutions in the workplace. Critical thinking is about analyzing the data in front of you. Creative thinking is about getting outside of the traditional ideas to develop new ideas.
Learning how to implement and combine these skills will help employees get out of their comfort zone, so new solutions can be presented. Stepping away from traditional methods can help move your business forward, if done correctly.
6. Goal Setting and Deadlines
Every employee should have goals for their jobs. To put these goals in place, they first need to understand the importance of goals and how to develop realistic goals that will help them grow.
Part of goal setting is learning how to break those goals up into manageable parts and attaching deadlines to these smaller goals. Employees need to know how to implement these goal setting strategies into their individual roles, as well as developing goals that help move company goals forward.
7. Stress Management
Stress is a part of life, especially when dealing with deadlines and increased demands on your time. It’s important for employees to learn how to manage this stress so it doesn’t cause burnout or affect their overall productivity.
Making stress management a part of your soft skills training for employees will help them learn how to manage daily and work stress. This will also show employees that you value their mental health. Both of these goals will help you have happier, more productive employees.
8. Good Stewardship
Some people shy away from environmentalism, but we can all be better stewards of the resources we have. This is an area of soft skills training for employees that is often overlooked.
Train employees on the best methods to conserve resources and take care of their workplace surroundings. A company policy of good stewardship will help you save money while boosting your reputation in the community.
Adaptability is a good skill for life as well as for the workplace. Everyone needs to learn how to adapt their approach to meet changing needs and demands. They also need to know how to adapt to working with different people and in different circumstances.
From leadership down, this is an important area to focus on. Help everyone learn the skills they need to recognize when changes are needed and to recognize ideas that could work better than previous methods.
10. Business Writing
Business writing is another skill that is often overlooked. While not necessarily a soft skill, it is a skill that every employee will have to use at some point. Training employees with good business writing skills is important for the reputation of your company.
Whether it’s an email, a proposal, a report, or a claim, employees need to have the skills necessary to present clear information in a professional situation. Even those employees who have a good grasp of business writing can use refresher courses at times to keep them at their best.
11. Ethics/Legal Issues
In heavily regulated industries, it’s essential to incorporate training on legal issues. The area of ethics and legal issues can also be beneficial in other industries and with all employees.
Issues such as bribery, honesty, respect for each other, discrimination, etc. are all important topics for everyone in your company. Make sure everyone from leadership down understands how important it is to maintain an ethical company.
12. Customer Service
Customer service isn’t just for the obvious employees. Good customer service skills are useful to everyone in your company, including those with limited customer interaction.
Developing customer service skills will help employees improve their social skills, which improves interactions in all situations. Train on basic customer service areas in all departments, and you can work towards even better communication skills across the board.
13. Safety and Health
Safety training shouldn’t just be about specific areas or roles in the company. Every employee needs to understand basic safety and health protocols to help reduce claims and other workplace incident issues.
Train employees about protecting against common work-related injuries or health issues. Train on proper procedures when employees are sick. Teach basics like good posture or tips to avoid chronic issues from repetitive motions.
14. Product or Service Training
Product and service training is common in certain departments, but most employees will benefit from training about specific products or services. This will help them understand what it is you’re selling, what the value is to customers, and what they are part of.
Any employee that will be part of selling or interacting with your product or services should be trained to understand the features and commonly asked questions about them. This will help them understand how their job effects the overall company needs.
15. Leadership Training
Leadership training is an obvious training area for managers, but it can also be a useful area for employees who show potential as leaders in the company. Developing a leadership training program with employees will help you prepare people for moving up and reduce costs in the future.
Teach them foundational leadership skills and build on these. These are skills such as communication, project management, strategy, etc. This training early on will help them prepare for a transition to leadership with less stress. Developing leadership training will also help employees feel more valued.
Putting Together a Training Program
For employee development training to be effective, you need an ongoing program that teaches new skills and refreshes employees on skills already learned. Traditional training methods can take up valuable time and money, but Infinit-I Workforce Solutions provides an online microlearning method that makes training simple.
Employees can access training anytime, and the short lessons mean less time to complete and better comprehension of the subject matter. You can track all employee participation in one place, so you have documentation whenever you need it.
From soft skills training for employees to job-specific training, Infinit-I Workforce Solutions provides the tools you need to develop good employee behaviors for a productive workplace. To see how the training system can help you streamline your training program, request a demo today.