Soft Skills Training – A Necessary Luxury – Today & Tomorrow
Soft skills development is a luxury – nice to undergo – even better when it pays off at the workplace. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on soft skills training by enthusiastic organizations. Today, soft skills training stand tall with the hard skills of IT, maintenance, technical, and product training. In the Middle East, heavy investments are being made toward soft skills training. There is a return on Investment no doubt, and it is heartening to see organizations of all shapes and sizes enthuse over it. But – is soft skills training a necessity?
There was a time when soft skills training was a luxury – made affordable to only the most elite organizations; today, it is a necessary luxury. Along with the required hard skills, it’s an individual’s soft skills such as interpersonal skills, body language, communication skills, time management, organizational skills, listening skills and team player skills that will create the necessary impact needed to take a business forward. Today, soft skills are the hard skills necessary to make a business successful.
When should an organization introduce soft skills training?
When there is a specific need: It is not uncomommon to find organizations waiting until they find themselves in a situation– like a meeting with a very important client – wherein they must put up their best front to “impress” or “strike a deal” – before they hurriedly seek a solution that will enhance certain people skills that will ‘make it happen’. Identifying specific training needs beforehand gives organizations and employees ample time to hone such skills.
When employees will benefit from such training: Customer-facing employees who must possess excellent communication skills, team leaders who must be able to manage time well, a janitor who requires good interpersonal skills – the list is endless. Everyone can benefit from soft skills training. While hard skills training may change when moving from one job to another, soft skills can be carried and used along the way.
When it will clearly impacts a business in a specific way: Unlike hard skills, soft skills are intangible and non-technical. Needless to say then that measuring their impact on business is quite difficult. But when aligned with core business needs, you can be sure that they have a clear impact on a business – even if it is as basic as one that is designed to motivate employees. Seeing that soft skills will have a positive impact on a business – any business in today’s day and age will benefit from soft skills training.
Will soft skill training be a “thing of the past” in the future?
No. In fact, soft skills training will become more of a necessity as we move into the future. We are right in the middle of an era that is a defined by change and we see change happening all around us – all the time. Complexity, competition and change (technological changes and changes in the way we function), will warrant new trainings that can help individuals keep up with these new competencies.
What kind of soft skill training will be required in the future?
Changes in the way we do business will soon require us to leave behind soft skill trainings such as leadership, organizational skills and time management; these will be replaced by new soft skills such as adaptability, critical thinking, optimism, pro-activity and resilience that will be required to survive in this new type of workplace that we foresee.
While technological advances and machinery will make hard skills unnecessary or even obsolete in the future, the need for specialized soft skills will grow over time. These skills are and will continue to be the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that will maximize human performance at the workplace – the intangible skills that will give individuals that finesse that will make the difference to an entire business.
Heera Edwin | Executive – Marketing | 24×7 Learning
Tel: +91 80 4069 9100