Benefits of Soft Skills Training
Examples of Soft Skills Training: Assertiveness and Negotiation, Business Proposal Writing, Change Management, Customer Service, Delegation, Event Project Management, Generational Diversity Management, Interpersonal Competency, Leadership, Management, Meeting Minute-Taking and Chairing, Mentorship, Motivating Performance, Presentation, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making, Receptionist Professionalism, Sales and Brand Ambassador, Stress Management, Telephone Etiquette and Netiquette, Time Management.
When employers hire staff, there is a process to establish whether the candidate has the relevant qualifications and experience to produce positive results in the position. Whatever candidates submit in their CV can be verified, but it is working experience that reveals staff members’ character and interpersonal agility. Staff members spend 9 hours of their weekdays at work with continuous interaction with colleagues, customers and other stakeholders. Hard skills learnt from the curricula of school education and graduate programmes are not enough to build a successful organisational culture.
Future Learning: The word ‘educate’ comes from the Greek word educia which means to draw forth, not to stuff full. New learning must add to traditional teaching by offering courses on empirical, critical and creative thought. US author, Daniel Pink suggests that ‘the MFA is the new MBA.’ Canadian author, Jim Carroll proposes a new Masters of Business Imagination programme that will equip leaders with new capabilities and new ways of thinking, to prepare them for a future of leadership, inspiration and creativity. Tom Peters expands with his list of the ‘New Economy Biz Degree programmes’ including:
MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
MM (Master of Madness)
MnML/WR (Master of non-Male Leadership/Women Rule!)
MGLF (Master of Great Leaps Forward)
MTD (Master of Talent Development)
G/GWGTDw/oC (Guy/Gal Who Gets Things Done without Certificate)
DE (Doctor of Enthusiasm)
Future Positions: Business consultant, Rae Bougardt proposes that a CHO (Chief Heart Officer) is key in any company to ensure a culture of high Emotional Intelligence. A fulltime CCO (Chief Conceptual Officer) could be the most important position in future organizations. Hallmark Cards Incorporated, based in Kansas City, has a fulltime trends analyst with the title of Director of Creative Strategy. High Point University in Greensboro, North Carolina has a Director of WOW! in their Community Relations department. Organizations need to know how the world will look tomorrow and what they should do to stay ahead of competitors.
South African Traditional Learning System versus Albert Einstein: “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. The most important motive for study at school, at the university, and in life is the pleasure in work and pleasure in its result, and the knowledge that the value of the results will serve the community. The most important task for our educators is to awaken and encourage these psychological forces in a young man [or woman]. Such a basis alone can lead to the joy of possessing one of the most precious assets in the world - knowledge or artistic skill.”
Educators continue to be undervalued, underpaid and overworked. In a developing country such as South Africa, educators struggle to get through the basic curriculum due to the absence of exemplary leaders, debilitating social issues and a cultural ethic of tardiness, truancy and poor self-discipline on the part of learners. Pass rates and the legal grade for school-leaving are lowered. It is little wonder that even those who obtain a higher education qualification will enter the workplace with poor soft skills.
Future Need: Today, jobs in computers, engineering and aerospace are amongst the highest paid. The Conceptual Age (following the Information Age) needs people who can add sensory, emotional and aesthetic appeal to our material world. This would include artists, storytellers, and big-picture thinkers. Brands and stories become more important than products and things. And when brands, technology, price, performance, features and benefits are equal, all that is left is service.
Training Benefits: To increase investment in training and install it as a regular and scheduled activity for all levels of personnel, is a hypercompetitive tactic. Businesses can develop a borrowing library of training resources. Hard dollar (easy to measure results) as well as soft dollar (not as easy to measure results) training should be the norm. People who have high levels of skill, morale, and motivation are more likely to be more productive, creative and loyal.
Measuring Training: Using Customer Service as an example, how would one measure if training has been beneficial? Pre- and post-training data must be compared and should be done per individual, branch or department. Here are just 7 of many items to track over a pre-established period of time:
Reduce time to respond e.g. email; measured with e-mail times
Improve survey ratings e.g. How likely to recommend; measured with collated surveys
Increase number of referrals e.g. via word-of-mouth; measured with CRM
Increase number of compliments; measured with record of compliments
Decreased unresolved situations vs total; measured with CRM
Increase amount of repeat business; measured with CRM
Reduce number of customers lost to the competition; measured with courtesy calls
Measuring results is an objective process whereby historic data is used as per the above examples. Measuring performance is a subjective process where a frame of reference is used, for example observation of body language when an individual is interacting with a customer.
The Cost of Not Training: Below are some interesting statistics (printed with permission) regarding the benefits of training compiled by Avatech Solutions:
Untrained users take up to six times longer to perform the same tasks.
Training enhances employee retention. A Louis Harris and Associate Poll states that among employees who say their company offers poor or no training, 41 percent plan to leave within a year. Of those that say their company offers excellent training, only 12 percent say they plan to leave.
A four-year study by the American Society of Training and Development shows that firms who invest $1,500 per employee in training compared to those that spend $125, experience on average 24 percent higher gross profit margins and 218 percent higher income per employee.
2 percent increase in productivity has been shown to net a 100 percent return on investment in instructor-led training.
Industry Standards: If your organisation works according to an “Approved Provider” list, we will complete all the forms necessary. Our medley of topics has originated from industry needs and the latest National Scarce Skills List identified from SETA Sector Skills Plans. We issue Certificates of Attendance and provide the organisation with signed attendance lists. We also offer assistance to organisation’s to complete their annual Work Skills Plan (WSP).
Content: The content of the training workshops is original and continues evolving to remain pertinent to industry needs. Programmes are adapted for specific organizational or industry needs. Workshops incorporate many interactive and fun delivery methods. An added value for all our training workshops is individual Workstyle Profiles.
When and Where: We remain flexible with training dates and times. Workshops are typically 4 hours in duration and rich in content and practical value. We can conduct in-house training at your venue. Our training venue is in Newton Park with off street parking. It is easy to find and centrally located in terms of the greater Nelson Mandela Metro.
Feedback and Support: We always ask delegates for anonymous post-training feedback and share this with your organisation. We ‘check-in’ with organisations and delegates regarding changed behaviour, implementation of steps and techniques, and offer ongoing support.
Our business is to make your business succeed! Your business will benefit when your staff receive practical, solutions-driven and leading-edge information from our Soft Skills Training Workshops and comprehensive Skills Development products and services. We have 20+ years of experience in the adult training environment, locally, nationally and internationally and continue to evolve in this fast-paced, ever changing and competitive business world.
I make a difference!
Larna Anderson, http://www.theartoflearning.co.za