Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the present-day, fast-paced lives is mastering the art of being diplomatic, despite the all-pervasive paucity of time. Each of us tend to get so caught up with getting our ‘agenda’ accomplished in the shortest duration of time, that there’s a huge tendency to be too curt, sans any attempt to be courteous and mindful of the other person’s sensibilities.
It would not be wrong to say: Soft Skills = Foundation Skills. Simply think of how susceptible a structure is, if not for a strong foundation!
While it’s easy to blame the lack of communications skills on the ‘digital era’ and being ‘busy’, those who do recognize and emphasize on the need for soft skills training for employees, the results are for all to see: a much sharper upward trend on the growth curve and contented team members being notable outcomes.
What are Soft Skills?
Unlike technical or ‘hard’ skills, which can be measured, soft skills are generally considered intangible and difficult to quantify. Examples of soft skills include effective communication, analytical thinking, team work, problem-solving, time management, conflict resolution, leadership, etc.
Most soft skills are acquired with steadfast focus and customized interventions including simulations, bite-sized videos, role-playing games, etc., aimed at discernibly achieving positive outcomes. The good news is, several virtual platforms are now available for this purpose, if an in-person intervention is not feasible owing to logistical, financial, or any other reasons.
What is ROI?
One term that is uttered in the same breath as business soft skills training is ROI (Return on Investment). This refers to the various control and measurement systems are employed so as to track the impact of the amount spent on each corporate soft skills training intervention. As organizations grow and evolve, keeping a close watch on the ROI is the new norm, down to the department level. The ever-growing shortage of skills and talent, soft skills training tends to account for a major portion of the training budget and hence, the need to measure the ROI of soft skills is now more necessary than ever.
So, why is there such a lot of focus on the ROI of soft skills training? The answer is an entire array of benefits!
• Improved teamwork and customer service
• Improved productivity
• Lower absenteeism
• Improved retention rates
• Better workplace communication and a higher level of employee engagement
In a nut shell, there are clear correlations that have been drawn between investment in soft skill training programs having a positive impact on the bottom line. Taking time to analyse how different training methods impact a business’ bottom line can give trainers better insight into their own effectiveness as well as provide useful signposts to develop learning techniques and to work more efficiently. As for ways to measure ROI, measuring Customer Satisfaction scores at regular intervals of time as well as before and after an intervention is a fail-safe method.
It’s always a great idea to invest in improving soft skills of the workforce – start now if you haven’t already!