Skills & Growth | Article

7 Action Steps for Developing Soft Skills Training

Soft skills are really core skills…but no matter what you call them, they can make a major difference in the value employees bring to your organization.

Soft Skills –> Core Skills

In the workplace, we use the term soft skills to differentiate from the more technical, hard skills. But this term falls short in describing how foundational and necessary soft skills are. Perhaps a more accurate name for them would be core skills. They refer to abilities that are often crucial for success in working with others toward a common goal.

Some examples of these core skills are:

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Emotional intelligence

No matter what you call them, soft skills training can foster significant growth for your employees and, in turn, your organization.

Action Steps for Developing Soft Skills Training

1. Complete a skills assessment

Before you develop training, you must first identify any skills gaps. One way to do so is by sending out a skills assessment to all your employees. Ask them to reflect on their current skill set and what tasks they find most challenging. Inquire about their goals and what growth they want to see for themselves. Knowing these answers can help you pinpoint employee needs and mold the training around them. 

2. Ask managers for input

Employees completing self-assessments may not be enough to uncover all the gaps in skills. Speak with managers about the team members they lead. They may be able to point to areas of improvement that the individuals are unaware of. Not only will they have deeper insights into employees’ skills, they may also help narrow down the type of training that will be most beneficial.

3. Determine a budget

Figure out your budget for soft skills training. Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can determine what resources you’ll have at your disposal. For example, you may have funds to hire external training professionals. They can hold structured development sessions and workshops for employees. If that is out of budget, opt for creating an internal training program.

4. Explore using a LMS

One resource you may consider implementing is a learning management system (LMS). These systems facilitate and track employee learning initiatives, which simplifies processes for HR teams. They can also help employees set goals and monitor their progress. LMS systems are especially useful for small organizations that don’t have the bandwidth to run and oversee multiple training programs.

5. Create a schedule

After planning your approach and resources, the next order of business is creating a schedule. Mapping out when you’d like the training completed will maintain accountability. Schedule out deadlines for different segments and follow up assessments. This will help you measure participation, progress, and improvements along the way.

6. Provide space for reflection

Give employees opportunities to practice the skills they’ve learned through training. Encourage your team members to reflect on their growth in one-on-ones and reviews. Have they observed an improvement in those core skills? If not, why is that and how can they discover new ways to build on existing skills? Self-assessments and verbal check-ins are a couple of ways you can discuss development.

7. Seek and give regular feedback

In addition to checking in with employees about their improvements, you should also be seeking ways to create a continuous feedback loop. Send out anonymous surveys so you can illicit honest feedback about training. Plus, managers should speak with their team members about the progress they are observing as well. Employees want to hear from their peers and supervisors to ensure they are on the right path to growth.

By investing in soft skills training, you are investing in growth. Employees want more than ever to learn and grow. Every new skill they develop will contribute to both their own career success and the success of your organization. So, invest in your people!