In both educational settings and many corporate cultures, the acquisition of hard skills tends to dominate. An employee resume will typically highlight these skills, which often include degrees and certifications, language proficiency, or experience with computer programs. But the truth is that 77% of employers believe soft skills, or personality skills, are just as important as hard skills. In fact, 16% of employers find them to be even more important.
Small businesses, in particular, require a strong team to survive. Soft skills can often play a substantial role in how well colleagues work together and how their values line up with those of the company. Communication, collaboration, motivation, and flexibility are the building blocks for a successful business of any size, but when an organization is on the smaller side, they become even more vital. If you’re looking for ways to nurture soft skills development within your organization, small business programs can help you build up these assets. Let’s take a closer look at a few tips for fostering employee soft skills in your small business.
- Promote Awareness
The first step is for everyone to recognize there needs to be a shift. While you can’t force your employees to become more self-aware, you should slowly introduce the idea that everyone can learn from the small business programs available to you. Present these employee development programs as a fun way to enhance their current skill set and as a way to improve company culture overall. Creating a readiness for change and self-examination is key.
- Provide Education
No business owner should have to come up with a training program on their own. You should first involve your employees on every level and value their input as to what they feel needs to change and how to go about it. There are also tons of literature that can help get your entire organization thinking. But the best investments you can make are soft skills training courses for all employees. Professionals who specialize in small business programs for soft skills development can help you recognize the areas that really need improvement and promote an environment that allows everyone to grow. It’s important to ensure all employees are on the same page and that training is continuous, rather than a one-time thing.
- Evaluate and Recognize
Although it’s crucial that your employees work together as a team, there’s still a need for individual recognition. When a member of the team has made great strides or achieved a goal, they should be praised accordingly. This can help motivate them (as well as other team members) and improve employee loyalty and morale. Every employee’s soft skill development will be different, but once they’ve been through training and start to put those lessons into practice, you can start to evaluate their strengths in a way that helps your organization. This, in turn, can inform your organization’s new cultural identity and allow everyone to grow together, as well as individually.
The benefits of employee training and development are undeniable, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. SMBs can either thrive or fail simply due to how their employees communicate and collaborate. Small business programs that focus on soft skill development can make a significant difference in how your organization functions — but ultimately, it’s up to employers to be a catalyst for making a major, positive change.