The buzz around Artificial Intelligence has been a steady constant for the past few years. When ChatGPT started topping the charts for its functional value, almost all of us had the same persistent thought- how soon before our jobs get replaced by AI? The threat is real! In a survey, nearly two-thirds (65%) of U.S. respondents are somewhat or at least moderately worried.
As AI continues to go mainstream, organizations are increasingly interested in new technologies that can radically change the way people work. AI-powered platforms, automation tools, and its technical capabilities are indeed promising. However, AI experts are finding that the benefits of AI depend heavily on the quality of a company's human skills and capabilities. While we have been adapting to technological disruptions for a long time, we have also been the very force driving technological advancements. Even with rapid acceleration in AI, there is a certain irreplaceable X-factor that employees can leverage with exponential success—soft skills.
Soft skills are crucial qualitative attributes that in reality help sharpen hard skills. These include:
- Negotiation skills
- Critical thinking
- Communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Teamwork and Collaboration
- Time management
- Decision making
- Conflict resolution
- Adaptability and Flexibility
- Leadership skills
In short, soft skills are highly valued in any organization, and these skills definitely matter. Despite its importance, while 93% of employers deem soft skills as “very important” or “essential,” a mere 31% of employers offer any kind of soft skills training at the workplace. It’s time for organizations to change these statistics, and be ready for the future of work. The onus lies equally with employees to aggressively push for such training programs at the workplace, and secure their positions.
Get Started and Sustain Momentum With Soft Skills Training
No matter how promising the technology is, you must invest in your biggest asset- your employees. Before organizations get on the path of scheduling training programs, it is important to understand that soft skills are not as tangible as hard skills, and hence training outcomes may not be clearly visible after a couple of weeks. L&D Managers driving the training must be equally motivated to charter a continuous, sustainable, and comprehensive soft skills training curriculum. Results will fall into place!
A study by MIT Sloan reveals that a controlled, 12-month soft skills training trial in 5 different factories yielded a 250% ROI in 8 months. The training focused on soft skills like problem-solving and decision making, that contributed to increase in productivity and improved employee attendance too.
Here are the top 5 best practices to get started with soft skills training at the workplace:
- Start with a skills assessment to identify training needs: This is a certain way to get employees involved in the training curriculum from the get-go. Issuing an assessment to employees helps uncover gaps and challenges. L&D Managers can summarize findings to charter a comprehensive curriculum that meets these employee needs.
- Get the leadership onboard: Training results are evident only when all stakeholders are equally involved. Managers hold insights to team members, and their input on essential skills will go a long way. L&D Managers can even find answers to preferred types of training for better engagement.
- Strategize learning: Architecting the right learning strategy will set you up to achieve short-term gains and long-term success. Acknowledge obstacles and push learning initiatives forward.
- Identify learning modes: Your learners are diverse, with different learning preferences. Identify a training solution and delivery methods that engages ALL your learners. A word of caution is not to be enticed by shiny objects! Choose from a wide array of possibilities—from microlearning, gamification, mobile learning, virtual reality (VR), Instructor-led training, etc—that help meet your unique learning needs and cater to your learner preferences.
- Focus on the learning experience: Deliver a conducive learning experience for your learners. Whether that means greater emphasis on the UX and UI of the eLearning course or learning delivered via a Learning Management System, a vibrant training experience can foster success at every stage. Include opportunities for practice and reflection that immerses the learners into the content and motivates them to do more.
For over 2 decades, ELB Learning has been instrumental in driving soft skills training programs for some of the world’s most recognized brands. Such efforts have put them firmly on the path to developing a future-ready workforce.
Here is a case study from The American College of Chest Physicians that primarily focused on improving the quality of conversations between physicians and patients about clinical drugs. A game-based learning approach that also included scenarios and branching paths scored high on engagement and knowledge retention.
In another learning project for an industry-leading enterprise, our client was one of the affected organizations during the recent economic slump. A custom workforce realignment training program for the leadership team was created by ELB to remain agile and meet changing business requirements. Here is their case study on how soft skills training greatly impacted leaders.
Contact ELB Learning today to learn how we can help solve the soft-skills crisis at the workplace, and build a resilient workforce.