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What is soft skills training and why you need it at work (with examples)

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October 20, 2023

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What is soft skills training

To thrive in the modern workplace, you’ll need more than technical skills. Soft skills are essential behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets that improve overall performance through relationships, organization, and growth.

So, every team needs to be able to build soft skills to ensure holistic employee development. This leads to company growth and higher productivity across the board. In this article, we’ll discuss what goes into soft skills training, how to implement it, and why it’s so important at work. 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are attitudes, abilities, behaviors, and mindsets that define how you act at work. These skills often complement and highlight technical skills and improve work relationships. Most soft skills are related to interpersonal skills because work is all about collaboration. These skills can’t be measured by quantitative means, that's why they’re categorized as soft skills.

What are soft skills?

But, that doesn’t mean they’re not as important. Being competent in crucial soft skills makes or breaks employee performance. For example, just because a worker is technically skilled that doesn’t mean they’ll be easy to work with.

Why are soft skills important at work?

A Forbes survey notes that soft skills are actually in demand because these are the skills that make an employee “career durable” as Alexandra Levit says. This just means that abilities like communication, critical thinking, time management, and team-playing make employees last longer and be more productive in the long run. These positive qualities also make them easier to work with which is so much more significant in the grand scheme of things.

Importance of soft skills training

Especially now in the modern workplace, employees are asked to be agile because the markets and competition are getting more and more fast-paced. When employees show resilient qualities that thrive despite the changing environments, they’ll continue to hit their marks and smash company goals.

Soft skills vs. hard skills

This question is often asked because people often wonder what’s more important. The soft skills vs. hard skills debate has no simple answer but at the end of the day, there has to be a balance between the two.

Soft vs. Hard skills

To keep it simple, the only major difference between the two is measurability. Hard skills can be quantified. You can reach a level of competency with hard skills. This can be measured through certification, educational degrees, medals, etc. Soft skills, on the other hand, can’t be quantified. These are skills that are experienced rather than measured. 

Soft skills examples

To paint a clearer picture of what soft skills are, let’s dive into some concrete examples. Take note that soft skills are important across all industries, meaning that every employee should strive to develop soft skills at all levels.

1. Communication skills

Communication involves speaking, writing, listening, and body language. Effective communicators are clear, concise, and confident. Developing these skills makes employees much easier to work with and can help avoid misunderstandings which can lead to conflict. Great communication also streamlines work processes and saves time for everyone involved.

Soft Skills - Communication

Important communication skills at work are active listening, writing great emails, public speaking, and conflict management.

2. Creativity

Creative thinking is highly sought after by many companies because innovation will set you apart from the competition. Creativity at work means that you’re constantly thinking outside the box. Creative employees find effective solutions to problems which is a great asset to have for any organization.

Soft skills - Creativity

Ways to encourage creativity at work is to keep challenging your employees. Give teams the space and time to experiment with their ideas and make sure they have space to fail. Failure is part of creativity, so make sure you develop a culture of safety to foster creativity.

3. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is all about keeping a healthy skeptical mind regarding norms at work. It’s about always asking the question, why? It’s about curiosity. With this curiosity comes analysis and then effective execution. Critical thinking is very close to creativity because it’s always about thinking beyond what’s possible.

Soft Skills - Critical Thinking

When your team members are critical thinkers, you’ll be able to develop strategies that will work for the long-term success of your company or business.

4. Time management

Managing one’s time is an underrated skill that most employees take for granted. In a world filled with constant distractions, it’s easy to let time pass and procrastinate. Employees with great time management can achieve more and be an asset to the organization. People who value their time also value other people’s time, which speaks volumes about their work ethic and empathy.

Soft Skills - Time Management

Build better time management habits with tools like time trackers and organizational tools like calendars.

5. Problem-solving

The ability to solve problems is a result of creativity and critical thinking. Solution-oriented employees can get work done much faster and more efficiently. People who are problem solvers often think “How can I help?” or “How can we get this done?” This shows that they’re team players and they value the work and time of their coworkers.

Soft Skills - Problem Solving

Developing a solution-oriented culture means you’re developing a collaborative work environment. Work with your team, develop their research skills, and create feedback loops to help everyone improve their processes. Employees who are continuously looking for solutions to problems make working much easier.

Best ways to improve soft skills

Now that we’ve covered the whats and whys of soft skills, let’s take a look at the hows. What are the best ways to develop soft skills? How to improve soft skills when there’s so much work to be done? Or when teams don’t have enough time to dedicate to skill development? Here are some of our suggestions for soft skills training:

1. Collaborate

Put theory into practice. The best and safest way to develop soft skills is within your team. Allow your employees to practice their communication skills, critical thinking, negotiation, and other skills in a safe environment. Give them room to fail but continue to encourage them to pursue skill development.

Collaboration

2. Construct useful criticism

Honest and helpful feedback is all your teams need to improve. Communicate with them what they’re lacking, but also their strengths. Because soft skills can’t be measured, only people can tell your employees how to improve. Create open communication lines, use survey tools, or get on a meeting to discuss ideas. At the end of the day, soft skills are all about people.

Workers providing constructive feedback in front of a laptop

3. Create effective training programs

Provide your employees with interactive soft skills training through elearning to help them practice. For example, SC Training (formerly EdApp) has a wide variety of ready-to-deliver courses on soft skills from active listening to critical thinking

Creating effective training programs through SC Training (formerly EdApp)

SC Training (formerly EdApp) courses are built with a microlearning design, which means they’re quick bite-sized lessons that are engaging yet impactful. They can be delivered right to your team’s mobile devices so they’re highly accessible and time-efficient.

Develop your team’s soft skills with ease. Try SC Training (formerly EdApp) for free soft skills training!

Author

Alec Bailon

Alec is an eLearning expert for SC Training (formerly EdApp), a pioneer LMS that designs creative mobile workplace training solutions. On the off days, they enjoy cooking, reading, or finding a live show or play to watch.

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