Training methods to impart new workplace soft skills

By Reshma Parveen & Priya Chetty on April 26, 2023

Workplace soft skills are crucial for building a stronger team, improving customer service metrics, and gaining new clients. A 2019 Global Talent Report of LinkedIn stated that about 91% of professionals accepted that workplace soft skills are essential for human resources and recruitment. While 89% mentioned that many of the new hires fail to work efficiently because of a lack of workplace soft skills presence (Chanler et al., 2019).

Another report published by Deloitte in 2019 stated that by 2030 about 2/3rd of the jobs would be soft-skill intensive (Deloitte, 2017). Most organizations today rely not just on hiring the best talent but also on enhancing them through training.

Continuous training helps develop new workplace soft skills

Training the workforce helps in improving customer service, increasing sales, or increasing employee retention by developing more compassion, empathy, competency in engaging with clients and knowledge retention (Colman, 2022). Training consists of either designing an entire course for improving workplace soft skills or focusing on relevant soft skills. Many businesses in India are implementing training courses for enhancing the skillset of their workforce. Many businesses also self-design the course and implement it through workshops, seminars, conferences, team training and group discussions.

EXAMPLE

Axis Bank partnered with Coursera to provide training to employees on subjects like innovative thinking and leadership. Tredence company launched an initiative “U Learn V Pay” wherein employees are encouraged to take courses from online coaching platforms to provide a strong foothold for employees.

Deoras, 2019
Common workplace soft skill training methods
Common workplace soft skill training methods

Imparting workplace soft skills through workshops

A workshop is a type of interactive training session where participants engage in practical activities and discussions about adopting a workplace soft skill. Workshops benefit the workforce in developing leadership, teamwork, communication, time management, and problem-solving (de Grip and Pleijers, 2019). Workshops can be arranged for businesses of all sizes, as they help improve workforce performance, reduce turnover rates, and increase job satisfaction. Businesses usually arrange workshops after identifying specific needs, and shortcomings of the workforce.

EXAMPLE

Google conducts regular workshops and training sessions to help its employees develop key soft skills. Google benefited from conducting soft skill workshops, leading to improved communication and collaboration among employees.

Seminars and conferences for workplace soft skill training

A seminar usually consists of a mix of presentations, interactive exercises, and role-plays. Seminars help employees feel more confident and empowered in their roles, leading to greater job satisfaction and retention (Kumar, Rangappa and Suchitra, 2021). They are typically arranged by scheduling a date, booking a venue, inviting attendees, and preparing learning materials and exercises. They are conducted by professional trainers or coaches with specific specializations.

EXAMPLE

IBM conducted a soft skills seminar for employees in 2022 to improve communication, leadership and teamwork abilities. This seminar resulted in increased productivity by 10%.

Leaser, 2019

Conferences take place through organized events or seminars that focus on developing multiple workplace soft skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. Conferences provide the workforce with the opportunity to learn and practice new skills in a supportive and collaborative environment (Lortie, 2020). Conferences are large events where other competing businesses too take part. Conferences can be spread over multiple days and consist of multiple speakers who specialize in different workplace soft skills.

EXAMPLE

Google organised conferences such as Google Ventures CEO Summit held in 2015. This conference improved employee soft skills by discussing leadership, innovation, and teamwork (Somerville and Nagarajan, 2016).

Leaser, 2019

Improve team performance with group discussions

Group discussions include improved collaboration and problem-solving skills, enhanced employee engagement and job satisfaction (Sharma and Shekhawat, 2020). Group discussions encourage participants to analyze different perspectives, evaluate arguments, and identify flaws in their own thinking. According to a study published in the Journal of Higher Education, group discussions can help develop critical thinking skills by challenging assumptions and promoting active learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). Group discussions also help develop problem-solving skills by providing opportunities to brainstorm ideas, analyze potential solutions, and evaluate outcomes (Eisenberg et al., 2014).

EXAMPLE

Google is known for giving soft skill training via group discussion. One example of this kind of training program is “Search Inside Yourself” launched in 2007. The program consists of various group discussions and is designed to help employees develop emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and leadership skills.

Essig, 2012

Team training is gaining traction as a soft-skill training method

Team training for workplace soft skills is a valuable investment for businesses that want to build high-performing teams, enhance employee engagement, and improve overall organizational performance (Johnston et al., 2019). Team training helps team members understand their roles and responsibilities, communicate effectively, and work together towards common goals. A meta-analysis of 50 studies on team training found that team training significantly improved team performance in various domains, such as healthcare, aviation, and military (Salas et al., 2008).

EXAMPLE

Deloitte provides team training for employee soft skills development. Deloitte offers a program called “The Deloitte Core Leadership Team,” which is designed to help employees develop their leadership and communication skills. The program includes opportunities for participants to practice their skills through group exercises and case studies (Deloitte, 2023).

Deloitte, 2023

Workplace soft skill training enhance team adaptability and resilience by providing opportunities to practice handling unexpected situations and challenges. Team training also improves team adaptability and resilience in handling emergency situations and business downfalls. Regular training exercises can reduce errors and accidents by improving situational awareness, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, new soft skill development enhances job satisfaction and engagement among team members by fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork.

References

  • Chanler, M. et al. (2019) Global Talent Trends The 4 trends transforming your workplace, LinkedIn.
  • Colman, H. (2022) Soft Skills Training in the Workplace : It’s Time to Soften Up, iSpring Solutions.
  • Deloitte (2017) Soft skills for business success DeakinCo.
  • Deloitte (2023) CORE Leadership, Deloitte. Available at: https://deloittesurvey.deloitte.com/Community/se/3FC11B261C82A1FD (Accessed: 23 March 2023).
  • Deoras, S. (2019) Top 10 L & D Programmes That Indian Firms Are Running To Upskill Their Employees, Analytics India Magazine Pvt Ltd.
  • Essig, T. (2012) Google Teaches Employees To ‘Search Inside Yourself’, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2012/04/30/google-teaches-employees-to-search-inside-yourself/?sh=4223cd03a820 (Accessed: 23 March 2023).
  • Eisenberg, M. A., Sánchez, R. J., Jones, S. M., & Young, M. E. (2014). Developing problem-solving skills: The importance of feedback and reflection. Journal of Management Education, 38(5), 723-760.
  • de Grip, A. and Pleijers, A. (2019) ‘Workshop Attendance as a Mode of Learning: Evidence from the Netherlands’, Vocations and Learning, 12(3), pp. 361–385. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/S12186-019-09219-Y/TABLES/5.
  • Johnston, J.H. et al. (2019) ‘A team training field research study: Extending a theory of team development’, Frontiers in Psychology, 10(JUN), p. 1480. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/FPSYG.2019.01480/BIBTEX.
  • Kumar, C., Rangappa, K.. and Suchitra, S. (2021) ‘Effectiveness of Seminar and Webinar in Learning Experience: An Empirical Analysis’, Education India, 10(2), pp. 247–257. Available at: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/110320/ (Accessed: 20 March 2023).
  • Leaser, D. (2019) IBM launches new professional skills program: The top five soft skills you need to succeed in business, IBM. Available at: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/ibm-training/ibm-releases-new-courses-the-top-five-soft-skills-you-need-to-succeed-in-business/ (Accessed: 23 March 2023).
  • Lortie, C.J. (2020) ‘Online conferences for better learning’, Ecology and Evolution, 10(22), p. 12442. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ECE3.6923.
  • Sharma, S. and Shekhawat, S. (2020) ‘Learning Soft Skills Through Group Discussion’, The IUP Journal of Soft Skills, XIV(4), pp. 12–19. Available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3819501.
  • Somerville, H. and Nagarajan, S. (2016) Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris quits , Reuters. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-ventures-ceo-idUSKCN10M0B2 (Accessed: 23 March 2023).
  • Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. Cengage Learning.
  • Salas, E., DiazGranados, D., Klein, C., Burke, C. S., Staggers, N., & Goodwin, G. F. (2008). Does team training work? A meta-analysis. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 50(6), 903-933

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).

 

I have completed a Bachelor of Arts that included English as one of my degree subjects. I am doing freelance academic writing for two years. I have extensive experience in writing academic assignments, research proposals, essays, reports, and dissertations, business plans. I have sound knowledge of common referencing styles such as APA, Harvard and MLA. I have commendable knowledge of various online search engines and libraries. I am proficient in using MS Word, and PowerPoint. I can produce documents without any plagiarism, or grammatical errors.

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