7 Ways You Can Teach Your Employees Soft Skills

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Emily WilsonBusiness Psychologist

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Employers are constantly looking for team members that are experts in their respective fields. It’s perfectly reasonable that you’ll want the best possible employees working at your company. However, skills and knowledge aren’t the only things that influence success in a modern work environment.

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Employees who have to communicate and cooperate with others, also need some soft skills to accompany their expertise. Working on these soft skills is a bit difficult, but it’s something employers can help with.

1. Assign projects

Many professions don’t facilitate the inherent learning of soft skills. If a job belongs to a specific niche and allows the employee to create elements of a project, they might not be able to see the full picture and result in action. Plus, by only working on their part of the job, they’re not actively participating with other employees working on the same project.

This can be solved by creating unique projects for the employee to handle on their own. Find something that fits their line of work and allows them to hone their skills. This is especially important for the skill of time management. Working on a project, they’ll have to organize their time while still doing their regular everyday work. It’s a valuable asset that will not only help the company, but also allow the employee to learn some crucial skills.

2. Encourage learning with peers

In today’s businesses, cooperation and synergy are the keys to success. One person can’t be nearly as creative and innovative as a team full of experts, no matter how brilliant they might be. Your job is to foster an environment that allows for teamwork and maximum cooperation.

However, this is something that employees need to work on as well. Teamwork is a two-way street and getting people to communicate and work together is absolutely crucial for improving this.

Taking courses is a great way for employees to learn some concrete skills that relate to their work. If you send employees to professional courses together, you can bet it’ll produce positive results and increase their cohesiveness. Plus, the knowledge they gain in the course will help them further their professional careers; you get to hit two birds with one stone.

3. Make use of coaching techniques

Sometimes, employees need a little push to learn new skills. Hiring a coach would be a great way to introduce them to a more direct approach to learning. Someone with the necessary skills and knowledge to inspire your employees would be a great addition to your team.

Switch things up a little by adding internal coaches as well. An employee that does have soft skills can be a positive influence on others. It might seem like a big responsibility, but all they have to do is give advice and motivate their coworkers. Ultimately, this is also a learning experience for those senior employees with experience; as they teach individuals, they’re also learning how to be a better teacher. It’s a two-way learning experience that can come in handy.

4. Teach proper conflict resolution

Workplaces tend to be dynamic environments with people from all kinds of backgrounds. When there are so many ideas being thrown around and shared among individuals, you’re going to inevitably see conflicts. It’s a normal part of workplace relations, and it’s something that has to happen from time to time.

Regardless, you’ll sometimes find that employees will clash over the slightest non work-related dispute. These conflicts will often last longer than they need to and cause unnecessary strife in the office because most people aren’t well-versed in conflict resolution. It’s a skill that needs to be educated and improved on.

Openly discuss conflicts and how to solve them with employees. Make a point of emphasizing the importance of team cohesiveness and compromise as it can go a long way towards improving relations.

5. Organize professional learning opportunities

There are many professions that benefit from a boost in soft skills. This is especially true for professions that have the employee communicating with clients and business partners on a daily basis. Sales are a great example. The employee needs to be charming and persuasive to get their message across and convince clients to buy a product or service. It’s a tough job that requires focus and a penchant for communication. Even experienced salespeople tend to mess up every once in a while.

The best way to learn how to interact with clients is to actually interact with them. However, you can’t train by calling clients and speaking to them, as it could cost you precious business. Simulating the process would be a lot more effective.

Employers in very successful sales firms often incorporate role play sales training in their offices. You don’t need real clients to simulate how it is to work in sales. A more experienced salesperson can pretend to be a client while on the phone with the employee trying to learn. It’s a great opportunity for both learning and bonding.

6. Use the internet to help employees learn

There’s only so much one employer can teach. There’s no guarantee that you have the greatest experts when it comes to soft skills. To better help coach your employees, you’re going to need to use some outside sources that complement your efforts. Luckily, the internet always has solutions.

There are countless online courses that focus on soft skills and how to improve them. Universities and online business platforms often offer all of this information for free. Anyone that wishes to learn a little bit more about how to improve on their soft skills can simply visit any of these websites and enjoy courses in the form of videos or presentations. Make a point of emphasizing the importance of these online courses and encourage constant learning to promote professional growth. The more your employees learn, the more they and your company will benefit from it.

Conclusion

Soft skills are much like other skills in the sense that they need to be worked on to show improvement. As long as you’re motivating your employees to learn and hone their soft skills, you’re going to see positive results.

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Emily Wilson

Business Psychologist

Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing. Researching, exploring and writing are her favorite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals, music and traveling.

 

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