29
Apr

The Bridge Between Soft Skills And Employee Retention

Organisations around the world are trying to engage and retain their workforces as they face increasingly fierce competition for talent.

How can companies adapt to better meet the needs of their employees and combat turnover?

The answer is multi-dimensional, today we are highlighting a part of personal development: soft skills learning. This area is often overlooked but to combat retention and futureproof your workforce for a changing industry, soft skills are important to focus on. 

In a nutshell, soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize relationships with other people and complement hard skills in the workplace. We wrote about the key soft skills needed in today’s workplace in one of our latest articles.

Personalised training is just a starting point

Through personalised training, companies can help their employees realise the potential of their skills. However, these personalised training courses are not the only ways companies can promote the development of soft skills. From creating a mentoring culture to providing numerous practice opportunities, to organising special workshops, there are several methods a company can employ.

Today, we share 8 strategies businesses can implement to help employees develop their soft skills.

1. Align Soft Skills Development With Company’s Culture

It is important to take a step back to understand which soft skills are valued in the organisation and how they should be approached culturally. First, define which soft skills are valued and make it clear how they support the company’s strategy. Then address the skills gap so that both employees and managers understand the ‘why’ of their development.

2. Take An Immersive Approach

Performance management, including weekly one-to-one coaching sessions, can provide personalised suggestions for soft skills development. Content training can incorporate soft skills development. Leadership and mentoring programmes can strengthen employee reports and build a team of cultural influencers. All in all, putting soft skills at the heart of your workplace can help your employees continuously improve in a holistic way.

3. Offer Continuous Feedback

Training and development programmes are great, but what new skill development needs is practice and feedback. To build the muscles of new skills, people need time to practice. Continuous feedback during practice allows an employee to correct the course.

4. Create A Culture Of Mentorship

Create a culture of mentoring. This does not mean that you need to develop formal one-to-one mentoring programmes. It is all about embedding this in your culture so that everyone has a mentoring mindset to help each other grow. Create an environment and provide tools that allow employees to share their expertise with others.

5. Set The Example

When leaders show that they are always students at heart and encourage their teams to focus on soft skills development, it becomes part of the company culture rather than a mere programme. Even better, if the company encourages leaders to host their own seminars or brown bag sessions on a topic they are truly passionate about, this helps to drive home the message and emphasise the significance of soft skills.

6. Hold Interactive Workshops

Interactive, instructor-led workshops are a compelling and impactful method to teach skills like emotional intelligence. A good idea is to hold workshops that simulate real-world scenarios and give employees a chance to hear actionable feedback based on their responses. 

7. Incorporate Microlearning In The Workflow

Learning hard and soft skills is definitely important, but only part of the learning equation. Employees need to be able to apply these skills in the context of their work. The process of constant reinforcement through quick reference, and microlearning in the workflow, transforms hard and soft skills into real skills that help employees perform at their best.

8. Measure Impact

Great leaders take time to understand what their team members excel at and what gives them purpose. By finding this out, they are able to align soft skills to support personal development and professional goals. Ways to measure the impact of training include engagement scores, business goals, employee retention and 360-degree assessments.

Building Soft Skills Development Plan

As reports of “Great Resignation” continue, any activities that enhance employee experience and career development are worth prioritising, with soft skills development an essential ingredient in the overall learning mix. With a strategically built soft skills development plan that takes into account a company’s core values and the needs of its employees, companies create a solid foundation for employee growth, productivity and satisfaction that contributes to lasting success.