How To Train Your Staff In Soft Skills

Dr. Purushothaman
December 7, 2013

As a member of management it is important that you educate your staff in the finer points of soft skills which are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person's skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable. Any organization that has their staff trained in soft skills will be more productive and have better communications than organizations without soft skills.

Before we talk about getting your staff trained in soft skills, let's talk about training basics. So what is the best way to educate your staff? It is a fine balance between doing the training and burning productive time. One of the best methods is to have brown bag seminars. In this format you have staff get trained during lunch time when they can also eat. A lot of companies will extend lunch hour an additional 15 to 30 minutes. Another method is to have the training in an online video format that is in short segments so they can be viewed outside of work. A third method is to have different segments of the workforce view the videos during work for a period of 45 to 60 minutes, every week at a preset time so they are not interrupted.

So now that you have some ideas about how to do the training, let's talk about how to train your staff in these skills. Studies have determined that training videos are the most efficient method to educate employees. Videos should have the following attributes:
- The programs should include at a minimum the following subjects: Written Communications, Workplace Relationships and Verbal Communications
- They should NOT just be a talking PowerPoint presentation because the audience will become bored very quickly. Look for videos that utilize actual instructors with teaching experience.
- The videos should also include case studies which will give reality to the skills being taught.
- It is important for instruction videos to use role playing to enhance their points. Most employees have a very positive reaction to training that includes role playing.
- Having closed captioning has proven very effective for employees who are hard of hearing or use English as a second language. Closed captioning can re-enforce the audio of all training videos.

It is best to license the soft skills videos so you can have them viewed not only by your current staff, but also all your new hires. By doing this, at some point all your employees will be trained in soft skills which will also improve your corporate culture and your bottom line!

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