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Why Soft Skills Training Are Essential

Why Soft Skills Training Are Essential

So, what are soft skills? Wikipedia states: “Soft skills is a term often associated with a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people. Soft skills contrast to hard skills, which are generally easily quantifiable and measurable (e.g. software knowledge, basic plumbing skills).For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to standard qualifications.”

Our starting point is going to look at some statistics. In a recent market research survey given to local employers Workopolis revealed that 68% had a problem finding the right candidate and 29% said candidates lack of soft skills kept them from being hired.

In another study by Millennial Branding and American Express showed that 61% of managers surveyed felt that soft skills were more important in new hires than hard skills or even technical skills.

And finally, the Georgia State Labor Commission determined that 69% of first-time hires are likely to lose their jobs due to a lack of soft skills. In addition when they were asked: “If they you were hiring a new person that did or not did not have soft skills, which one would you prefer?” By 81%, employers overwhelmingly picked the candidate that had soft skills rather than just technical skills alone.

So from these statistics we can see that employees want to only hire and keep employees that are experienced in the use of soft skills. So what is the best way to learn soft skills? For years there has been a war going on between academia and business as to who should be training employees. The bottom line is neither group is winning but it is a fact that the employees are losing. It appears that academia does not understand how or what to teach in being job ready and business does not feel that is their responsibility to train employees. They feel that soft skills are the “basics” and should be part of all college classes.

The common factor among successful workers is having a good sense of soft skills. Businesses now realize that in order to be more profitable and productive they must take “the bull by the horns” and train their staff, especially new employees. They are doing this by using online course material that also provides homework and tests. The employee can go online after work or during lunch and not affect their productivity level while learning business soft skills.

Soft Skills for Management

Most people think that only new grads and transitioning military people need to have soft skills. But management also needs to take stock of their soft skills. In this article we are going to explore four key soft skills that management should always embrace.

The first soft skill is listening. Every manager should give full attention when their staff is talking. When you are listening to someone you must concentrate on what they are saying. Do not be distracted by such things as letting your mind wander or thinking about what you are going to say, just focus on what is being said at the time. If they say something that you don’t understand, halt the conversation until you comprehend what was spoken. If you don’t, you will be trying to figure out what was said and miss other parts of the conversation. Other than interrupting the other person to get something defined, you should let them speak until they are finished. When they have finished, acknowledge that you heard AND understood them. You can now respond to the speaker.

The second soft skill is positive body language. It is important that you develop a habit of using either neutral or positive forms of body language. Here are a few of the best gestures; •Relaxed Posture – Try not to be “stiff” but just be comfortable do not make any abrupt movements. •Arms Relaxed – In order to show openness keep your arms uncrossed arms and hands visible. •Good Eye Contact - This will show that you are interested. •Nodding Agreement – This will show agreement and understanding, just don’t do it too much or the speaker may not think they are communicating properly. •Smiling – This always conveys a warm personal connection.

Having a sense of humor is the third soft skill necessary for managers. Humor allows all levels of management to come together and provides a common ground for everybody. When you come together using humor you will build trust. It is difficult to put on your “business face” when you are laughing. You also appear to be more approachable when you have a sense of humor. Approachable people are typically more successful and always well thought of.

The fourth and final soft skill is communication. Always maintain Clear and Concise Communications – You must always clearly explain to your staff what needs to be done. Everyone should know their priorities, when projects are due and why they have to do certain things. Keep an open-door policy so people can bring questions when needed.