Businesses have realized that team members need more than technical skill to become a truly valuable part of the company — they also need soft skills. Through personalized training, organizations can help employees unlock the potential of their abilities.
However, these personalized training courses aren’t the only way that companies can encourage customized training of soft skills. From creating a culture of mentorship to providing multiple opportunities for practicing and organizing dedicated workshops, there are several methods an organization could employ.
Below, 10 members of Forbes Human Resources Council examine the strategies businesses can implement to help employees develop their soft skills, and explain why these methods are so good at getting results.
1. Take An Immersive Approach
Performance management, including weekly one-on-one coaching sessions, can offer personalized suggestions for soft skills development. Content training can incorporate soft skills development. Aspiring leadership and mentoring programs can improve bench strength and nurture a team of culture influencers. Centering soft skills in your workplace invites employees to continually improve in a holistic way. – Courtney Pace, FedEx Employees Credit Assoc.
2. Create A Culture Of Mentorship
Create a culture of mentorship. This does not mean developing formal one-on-one mentorship programs, however. It’s about instilling it into your culture, so that everyone has a mentorship mindset in helping each other grow. Create an environment and allow tools to help people share their expertise with others. – Lotus Buckner, NCH
3. Make Soft Skills Tangible
Even though studies prove that soft skills are what really differentiate high performers from the rest of the pack, these “talents” have been historically devalued as intangible. Today, we can put numbers on everything, from inclusion to compassion, so investing in the right 360 assessment arms your people with the insights and metrics they need to self-benchmark what real development looks like. – Leeno Karumanchery, PhD, MESH/Diversity
4. Offer Continuous Feedback And Practice
Training and development programs are great, but what new skill development needs is practice and feedback. In order to build muscle of new skills, people need practice time to build that muscle. Continuous feedback, while practicing, allows an employee to course-correct. – Diane Strohfus, Betterworks.com
5. Set The Example And Share
When leaders show they are always students at heart and encourage their teams to focus on soft skill development, it becomes more of the fabric of company culture rather than a mere program. Even better is when the company encourages leaders to hold their own seminars or brown bag sessions on a soft skill topic close to their hearts to truly drive home the message and underline its importance. – Angela Nguyen, Good Gummy
6. Apply Microlearning In The Flow Of Work
Learning hard and soft skills is definitely important, but only part of the learning equation. Employees must be able to apply those skills within the context of their job. The process of constant reinforcement through quick reference, microlearning in the flow of work turns hard and soft skills into real capabilities that help employees perform at their highest level. – Jeff Carr, Inkling
7. Culturally Align Soft Skill Development
Taking a step back to understand which soft skills are valued at the organization and how they should be approached culturally is key. Starting by defining which soft skills are appreciated and making it clear how they support the organization’s strategy and address skills gaps aligns both employees and managers alike in the “why” of their development. – Keri Higgins Bigelow, LivingHR, Inc.
8. Enable Ongoing Soft Skills Training
Soft skills are very important in the workplace, as they are key in the development of team members. Training on soft skills can be ongoing throughout the year. Managers can incorporate short training sessions during group meetings. They can start a meeting by discussing a specific soft skill with the group, so employees can learn something new and develop these skills. – Debi Bliazis, Champions School of Real Estate
9. Hold Live, Interactive Workshops
The answer can be as simple as offering online development courses that help foster soft skills — for example, training that helps managers increase their EQ. But live, interactive workshops are the most compelling and impactful method. Simulate real-world leadership scenarios, observe employee reactions and give a postmortem with actionable feedback. – Kristina Johnson, Okta
10. Measure Impact
Great leaders take time to understand what their team members are uniquely good at and what gives them purpose. By uncovering this, they are able to align which soft skills will create further impact to their personal development and professional goals. Ways to measure the impact of training include engagement scores, business objectives, retention and 360-degree assessments. – Shelli Nelson, Madison Industries