Corporate Training Soft Skills – 10 Steps To Corporate Success
“Of all the life skills available to us, communication is perhaps the most empowering”-Bret Johns. You are intelligent and full of ideas that could revolutionize the world, but if you do not have the sharpness, clarity, style, and emotions to affect people and rise to the occasion, it is all in vain. In today’s cut-throat competitive world, soft skills can give the required head start to youngsters and promotional jumps to the experienced. To improve systems and processes, communication skills have to be clear and empathetic. In this article, we will discuss the Corporate Training Soft Skills key points.
Introduction to Corporate Training Soft Skills
Definition and Importance:
Soft skills are interpersonal skills and the characteristic traits an individual possesses. They are intangible, subjective qualities in a person, that can be measured by observing the interpersonal relationships the individual has with others. They can be perceived by observing the social attributes, personal attributes, and behaviour of the individual in total. As hard skills can be quantified with the help of the Intelligence Quotient(IQ), soft skills are measured subjectively with the help of the Emotional Quotient (EQ). The higher the EQ, the better the individual’s adaptive intelligence, and ability to encompass any task. Soft Skills help to survive and thrive in this challenging, highly competitive world. In Corporate Training Soft Skills carry major points, thus, they are being now rebranded as “Power Skills”.
Role in Employee Development:
Communication and team synergy are the keys to the positive development of an employee. In Corporate Training, Soft Skills plays a major role in training an employee to be more adaptive to change without being intimidated. Skilled communication is an important step for creating healthy team dynamics. Clear speech and thought process results in healthy team dynamics, effective instructions, and efficient delegation of tasks. As a leader, an employee will be more empathetic toward his/her subordinates. Overall these qualities enhance the chances of growth for an employee.
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Connection to Organizational Success:
Investing in soft skills training for employees has a direct connection to the organization’s success. Good leadership requires assertive yet empathetic and effective soft skills to be able to not only lead but also motivate the team. A motivated team is more energetic and creative in problem-solving and other situations. Good team and workplace synergy lowers the attrition rate of employees, saving the company major costs of hiring and training new employees. Good interpersonal and interdepartmental collaboration results in better productivity, lesser risk of miscommunication, and wrong decision-making. Effective listening which is also a major part of soft skills training is essential for better customer care services. Positive customer service strengthens the brand position and makes way for good word-of-mouth publicity and increased customer attention.
Identifying Key Corporate Training Soft Skills
In the present day scenario, there are either dedicated Corporate Training Soft Skills departments or companies outsource soft skills training for their employees. This emphasizes the importance of soft skills. Although there are a plethora of sub-points under the soft skills training domain, we are going to discuss only the most essential ones here:
The ability to express, convey, and share ideas, messages, and feelings in a crystal unambiguous manner is the building block of effective communication skills. Communication skills can be further divided into the following sub-points:
Communication that involves expressions through spoken words and language is known as verbal communication. This involves presentations, interviews, sales pitches, training, and normal conversation. To master effective communication skills one has to be clear in their thought process and words. One has to be concise and coherent while speaking. While giving presentations or sales pitches one has to be correct in the information quoted, have concrete ideas and thoughts to express, and should be highly coherent. In the same manner while sales pitches one has to be respectful and courteous while addressing clients and team members.
When communication skills do not involve any spoken words but other bodily gestures, these are classified under nonverbal communication skills. In nonverbal communication, thoughts, feelings, and moods are conveyed through visuals like facial expressions, eye contact, body language, tone of voice, body posture, subtle and nonsubtle gestures, and space. In Corporate Training Soft Skills that are nonverbal are given equal emphasis as verbal communication.
Active listening differs from normal listening in intent and goal. Active listening involves trying to understand the intent of the speaker, showing interest, being mentally aware and alert, noticing nonverbal gestures, asking open-ended questions to dig out more information, and maintaining good eye contact with the speaker. The listener should not be hasty in forming opinions and judgments before retreating and reflecting on the conversation later.
An efficacious leader has to be adept at contextual communication. Contextual communication skill is the understanding and sharp wittedness of how to communicate aptly while addressing people from different communities, and professions, and during a crisis. In Corporate Training Soft Skills that involve contextual communication are conducted especially for employees handling global branches.
Emails, faxes, drafts, proposals, memos, bulletins, and reports are the most widely used forms of verbal communication in the industry. Excellent written communication is comprehensive, cites accurate information, is composed properly, and has no grammatical errors. Good written communication has the underlying message stated clearly and the writing carries the right tone and level of formality.
Interpersonal skills are communication and interactive skills an individual exercises while trying to build and sustain good relations with other people. In Corporate Training, Soft Skills are also known as people skills. These can be further classified under the following heads:
Establishing strong personal and professional bonds with other individuals is known as relationship building. These skills are not only in my professional life but also in my personal life. To be good at relationship building, an individual has to be empathetic towards his/her colleagues. He/she should be flexible, approachable, honest, and understanding. He/she should not bow under the pressure of inappropriate social pressure and should be more understanding towards his/her colleagues.
Teamwork & Collaboration:
Teamwork and collaboration follow different structures. In teamwork, a leader is assigned to the group who uses clear, concise, compelling, and authoritative communication skills to delegate workload to each employee as per their matching skillsets. The subordinate team members are suitably engaged and motivated to complete the group tasks. In a collaboration, team members of equal stature come together to work as one team. There is no authoritative leader, but each member has equal clout. In both groups transparency, active listening, the ability to receive feedback positively, and give feedback unbiasedly are the prominent soft skills required.
With the increasing importance of instilling appropriate soft skills in employees, employers do not focus on solutions to eradicate conflict, instead they focus more on conflict resolution skills. Effective conflict resolution can be attained through clear communication, active listening, being more accommodating, compromising in the best interest of both parties, not blaming others, remaining calm, and collaborating. In Corporate Training Soft Skills training dealing with conflict resolution is not only for internal issues but even for conducting deals and negotiations and customer service.
Good leadership skills are a prerequisite for an employee looking to employ an individual in an influential role. A good leader has the skills to lead, guide, mentor, and encourage a team or individuals efficiently toward the company goal and the growth and development of the team members. A person is not born with leadership skills but acquires them with experience and facing different circumstances. In soft skills training, the trainers hail from a background rich with learnings and experiences. These are the following qualities that are emphasized for aiming to be a good leader:
Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient(EQ) for a leader should belong to the higher brackets. Leaders should be skilled in interpreting and perceiving situations accurately. They must demonstrate calm and controlled behaviour in all situations. And most importantly be empathetic towards all the members. They should not only be aware of their strengths and limitations but also of their teams.
Decision-making for any leader is no easy feat. A leader has to ensure a balanced decision that will not only impact the employees positively but also the company. A data-backed decision will always be more accurate and relevant, as a good leader has to collect all crucial and relevant data and information before making a decision. Critical thinking is another key skill to be able to face any circumstance with creative and apt solutions.
Adaptability and Resilience:
An exemplary leader has to be quick to adapt to any situation. He/she should be open to accepting and embracing changes and act accordingly. A good leader will take responsibility for not only good performances but also for mistakes. He/she can cope with stress efficiently not letting it affect his/her personal or professional life. A leader should be able to bounce back from setbacks and failures swiftly.
Time Management Skills:
In the present-day scenario, time management is an essential skill for all individuals in all roles and levels. The ability to efficiently divide time between different activities and prioritize them according to their level of importance is known as time management skills. Here are a few steps to be mastered to learn effective time management skills:
Setting Priority Goals:
Prioritizing work benefits an individual by allocating time according to the importance of the task for the day, or according to the goal set.
Setting Realistic Goals:
An efficient time management skill is setting goals for the tasks at hand. This ensures no loss of focus especially on tasks not contributing to the objective.
Whether it is the workplace or an individual’s front, in the present-day scenario, stress has become an inescapable part of everyone’s lives. An individual skilled in setting a goal, prioritizing work, adaptable to change, resilient, focused, and flexible is stressed less. Less stress impacts not only the productivity of the person but indirectly the progress of a company.
Benefits of Corporate Training Soft Skills
In the past, most companies would focus on technical proficiencies and hard skills development. But slowly the companies, especially IT domain, started realizing the positive impact of investing in soft skills training of the employees. In Corporate Training Soft Skills training has become a valuable addition due to the following reasons:
- Improved Employee Performance: An organization that has skilled and empathetic leaders will always have a motivated team performing well. Effective communication skills among employers and employees ensure clear instructions and no misunderstanding that can pose future risks. Soft skills training contributes towards the overall development of employees and this in turn has a positive effect on their productivity levels.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Active listening which is an important component of soft skills training, trains the employees to listen to the customers with the intent to find solutions and understand the root cause of their problems. Soft Skills training instils the art of negotiation, conflict resolution, and clear communication, which are key to amplified customer satisfaction experience. Time management skills train employees to prioritize. All these factors result in better customer satisfaction, which in turn results in good word-of-mouth promotion, better customer relationships, and brand promotion.
- Employee Retention: When a company invests in its employee growth and development, the employees feel valued, and loyalty and commitment towards the company are enhanced. Gratified employees increase the rate of retention. Retaining employees for longer periods saves the company the cost of hiring new employees, training new employees, and the period lost in the absence of suitable employees for the role.
- Positive Impact on Organizational Culture: Soft Skill training inculcates creative thinking, problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, leadership qualities, resilience, time management, and stress management. The employees therefore need comparatively lesser supervision. The workforce is motivated to work towards the goal of the company. Good leadership ensures better workforce management and harmony amongst peers.
Effective Corporate Training Soft Skills Techniques
In Corporate Training, Soft Skill techniques play a major role. There are many tried and tested techniques for effective employee engagement. These techniques pave the way for improving the performance level of individuals as well as teams to a better level. Here is a list of techniques numbered based on effectiveness:
- Role Playing: Role-playing involves the active participation of employees in different roles in simulated situations based on real-life scenarios. Active participation of all employees enhances situational awareness. This stimulates creativity, good problem-solving ideas, and conflict-resolution skills. Employees get a chance to identify and improve their communication gaps. Role-playing helps in inculcating and honing leadership skills and creativity in employees. The benefit of role-playing in a conducive environment is immediate feedback from trainers and peers and the identification of areas of improvement.
- Case Studies and Scenarios: This soft skill training method employs case studies from either company events, or recreates scenarios that have taken place in the past in the same company or any other real-life scenario. The employees are asked to come up with alternative solutions individually or collectively. This exercise helps employees to apply creative thinking, alternative problem-solving suggestions, teamwork, adaptability, flexibility, and communication. With the assistance of this exercise, employees get to see in a simulated environment the result of their decisions.
- Story-Based Learning: Stories taking real-life situations as a case, and interspersed with visuals are proven to be more engaging and interesting as compared to lectures and seminars. It is a proven fact that compelling narratives with real-life characters are more relatable to the employees. Employees tend to relate and empathize better with the situations and characters played. Story-based learning can also be interactive with the active participation of the employees. This helps in polishing their communication skills, creative thought process, adaptability, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.
- Mentoring: Employees are assigned mentors who are either trainers or seniors who are more experienced and adept in soft skills. In this manner, employees can observe how the situations in real life are handled by the mentor. The mentors in return offer supervision, constructive feedback, and proper guidance. A mentor also helps in recognizing the progress of the employee in soft skills especially pertinent to the industry.
- Team Building Activities: Group activities in soft skills training are conducted among teams of the same department, and interdepartmental teams too. This activity is an excellent way to build a rapport between the members of all the departments. The mix of employees from different departments nudges them to think outside the box while getting to practice networking, teamwork, collective problem solving, leadership skills, adaptability, and flexibility to embrace the opinions of others with an open mind.
Role of Technology in Corporate Training Soft Skills
Post the Covid-19 pandemic the workplace scenario has changed a lot. Instead of working from the office, several companies still prefer either working from home or a hybrid mode of working. The need to train employees in soft skills has gained momentum as there is lesser physical interaction nowadays. The training sector also had to change to be more flexible and adaptive to the new changes. The following methods are being used in the new age teaching methods in Corporate Training Soft Skills methods:
- Online Learning Platform: Soft Skills training on online platforms is a convenient way for employees to access the training scheduled at their own time and pace. For trainers, it is easier to deliver and with the aid of visuals, they can make it more interactive and engaging. From the point of view of the employees, the learning can take place when their mind is more receptive and it is convenient as per their busy work schedule. The training can be made more interactive with the addition of quizzes and videos. The progress of the employee can be checked immediately so that the gaps can be mentioned quickly.
- Micro-Learning Content: Long-form learning content has been proven to be ineffective in a higher percentage of students, as the concentration and grasping power after 10 minutes start declining. Thus, in Corporate Training Soft Skills trainers create short training sessions, spanning 3-5 mins that concentrate on only one skill at a time. The end goal is to make the content engaging, and easily comprehensible, and the learner can be in control of the training timing. The learners can revisit the key points anytime and any number that they want. They can apply the training in real-life scenarios too. This form of soft skills training is easy to understand, to apply in day-to-day life, and improves retention of the lesson taught.
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Technology has become a boon for soft skills trainers and also for companies. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality(AR) have paved the way for more realistic cost-efficient, and interactive training sessions. The simulated environment is created using either the AR or VR techniques to make the case studies and role-playing, team building and other scenarios more life-like. Interactive games can be developed to engage the clients suitably.
In conclusion, in the past tangible skills were of paramount interest to companies in their employees. With the changing business scenario, intangible soft skills have become essential for not only the growth of the business but also for the employees and both are interrelated. All the companies that are actively investing in their employees are directly working towards profitable growth for themselves too. Employees adept in communication, teamwork, networking, active listening, and excellent leadership skills in turn promote good inter-company teamwork and enhance customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers invariably become good brand ambassadors of the company, spreading word-of-mouth publicity, and enhancing brand recognition.
Q. What are soft skills and how do they benefit the employees and the company?
Soft skills are interpersonal skills and characteristics traits like communication, body language, interpersonal relationships, leadership skills, analytical thinking, conflict resolution, and active learning. The employees adept in soft skills have clear communication networks, good interpersonal relationships, good communication, are active listeners, and have good leaders as mentors to guide them and help in their personal development. These factors lead to a motivated team that tends to work effectively and swiftly towards the company’s main objective, that is, enhanced revenue and a competitive edge in the market.
Q. How can companies develop soft skills in their employees especially when they have a busy schedule?
Soft skills training has developed at the same pace as technology. Soft skill trainers now conduct classes on online learning platforms that are accessible to students anywhere. Micro-learning content cuts boring long-form classes to short bite-sized classes easier to focus on and retain. Virtual reality and Augmented reality can simulate various situations for the employees making it easy for them to tackle different situations.
Q. What are some effective strategies for soft skills training?
Soft skills training involves role-playing, case studies and scenario simulation, story-based learning, mentoring, and team-building activities.