teaching soft skills

Training Highlight: Teaching Soft Skills

A common misconception in corporate training is that soft skills are just one of those things that aren’t teachable (or not worth the time and effort required to teach properly). But they definitely are! And since these are general skills that everyone in your organization can learn or improve, this training has the broadest application and can have a huge positive impact on your business. If you don’t know where to start, this post can serve as your guide for teaching soft skills in your organization.

What are Soft Skills?

First off, let’s define soft skills. Soft skills are non-cognitive or non-technical skills. You can think of them as attributes and attitudes that lead to greater effectiveness and productivity. Some examples of soft skills:

  • Team work
  • Work ethic
  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail

Going back to misconceptions, many people think these are ingrained attributes that are only learned over long periods of time. But the fact is you can train people to increase these skills in a short amount of time, you just have to be very clear with your objectives for learners and with your own goals for this training.

Which leads us into the training guide.

Step 1: Understanding Your Goals

It’s important that you understand the concept that you are trying to teach in the clearest terms possible. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert, but you should know how the skill is applied in your business.

What can help is identifying people in your organization who you would consider experts in that soft skill. What makes them experts? Talk to them to see how they use the skill in day to day work.

Step 2: Write It Down

Once you have a solid grasp of what you’re looking to teach, it’s time to craft a learning objective. If you aren’t familiar with learning objects, they are short statements of what learners will exhibit by the end of a lesson. Make sure you define what they will learn, by when, to what degree, and under what conditions. It should have an observable action and be written with the learner as the subject.

Soft skill learning objectives can be a little tricky since they can’t be tested with technical assessments, but if you are having difficulty there are some great guides out there. Once you have your learning objective written down, show it to the experts you reached out to in the first step. They’ll be able to share additional insights and help focus your learning objectives if needed.

Step 3: Design and Build

Now that you have a clearly defined goal, it’s time to develop the content. You can use your preferred development method and treat this like any other skill. Examples and exercises are especially effective for soft skills. It’s important to include components where learners can practice their soft skills in your design so that you ensure long-term retention.

Step 4: Teaching Soft Skills

After the content has been developed, it’s time to implement your new course! But your job isn’t done yet. You need to make sure the learning objectives have been clearly communicated to learners. That’s where assessments come in.

A great method here is giving them assignments (after they have completed the training) that benefit your business at the same time as reinforcing valuable skills. You get to observe if the skill was properly learned, the learner gets to practice the skill, and it actively contributes to your business – a win-win-win!

Step 5: Evaluate

It’s important to keep an eye on the effectiveness of your program. Collect feedback from the people you are teaching as well as from managers to see if the soft skill is being applied in day to day work. There’s always room for improvement, so keep honing your training!

The Benefits of Teaching Soft Skills

Teaching soft skills is a great way to not only benefit your business, but provide extra perks to your employees. These skills are transferrable no matter where your employees’ careers lead them, which shows you care and builds more loyalty. You can not only retain your best employees, but also recruit based on the strength of your training program (one of the many benefits of a corporate training program).

For more information on how your organization can benefit from corporate training, or if you are interested in getting some help creating training for your business, contact us. We’re more than happy to help!

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