Challenges of Soft Skills Training

Technical skills no longer dominate the workplace. Today, customer service, negotiation, interpersonal communication, and other “soft skills” are at least as important. In many cases, they’re more important than the “hard” or technical skills. But many employees don’t know where to start when it comes to learning them. It’s not like there are education courses teaching this stuff, right?

Motivation

Companies provide online computer training videos and they go a long way to simplify the process of learning new soft skills. Online soft skills courses can also be much less expensive than live training. Plus, they can be more effective since employees can move at their own pace, review materials at their leisure, and break up lessons according to their unique learning style.

Such Online tutorials also give instant feedback about progress through integrated learning management systems which may replace live group training with one-to-one training.

Helping Them By Various Examples

Soft skills are a little abstract. For example, how do you show objective examples of conflict resolution and change management? The ideas and communication principles you teach only translate to reality when you practice them. So, help employees understand these ideas through examples. You might set up scenarios to teach employees about conflict resolution. Show how body language affects the confrontation. Show how voice inflection, choice of words, vocal cadence, and other subtitles affect how a person might respond to a confrontation. Funny Videos and games can be your best friends in this endeavour. Repetition is key, and the employee will only really “get it” when he sees a flood of examples.

Encourage Practice

Practice really makes perfect and that too in a short space of time. Encouraging employees to practice what they learn compels them to imbibe the examples you give to them and adopt them into their own behavior. It’s one thing to watch an example. It’s another thing to actually do it yourself.

Control the employees’ course flow, and purposefully introduce “friction” or “road bumps” to foul them up. Make it difficult for them at certain stages so they have to think instead of plowing through information they think they know. This provides a challenge, and stimulates growth by requiring employees to think about what they’re doing before they do it.

How To Assess Effectiveness

Rather than developing a repetitive pattern, try to mix things up a bit to cut off the employees’ expectations. This keeps them on their toes and motivated and engaged. They can’t shut off their minds and just coast through the material. Test the employees’ knowledge periodically and unpredictably throughout the training. Design feedback so that it works on trade-offs rather than forcing “Correct” and “wrong” alternatives. Sometimes, in real-world scenarios, it’s not always clear what the correct or wrong answer is.

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