The work culture has changed significantly overtime. These days, business employers are actively looking for soft skills in their potential employees. If not, they are trying to teach/train the existing employees to develop those soft skills.
What Are Soft Skills?
While hard-skills are more job-specific, quantitative and gained through education, training, certifications, etc, the soft-skills are more qualitative and interpersonal. Soft skills include attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, teamwork, decision making, positivity, motivation, problem-solving, and so on. Soft-skills cannot easily be defined and are often circumstantial.
Now, how and why is the current work culture making soft skills so hard?
Employees Already Have Soft-Skills
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So much time and efforts are being spent on learning and developing soft-skills while your own inherent soft-skills sit idle and watch the show. The current work culture assumes that their employees need soft-skills training. Soft-skills are something people learn every day, every time, throughout their lives. It is an ongoing process. So, it is better to focus on the soft-skills that the employees already have.
Employees Do Not Have A Safe Environment To Use Their Soft-Skills
While the companies put all their focus on the training of employees, they forget to train their own environment. The truth is that most of the employees have soft-skills. They are better at communication and critical-thinking that you think. But what they do not have is a safe environment to use those skills. The organizations need to develop a culture where employees are encouraged to be themselves and show their personalities without any fear or embarrassment. An organization that does not offer such an environment will only end up forming a team of robots and no amount of soft-skills training will do any good. If you want humans to work for you, each human with their own naturally developed soft-skill, you need to give your employees the environment and culture to really “be human”.
How To Develop Such An Environment And Culture?
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Promote teamwork in your work culture instead of competitions. Minimize office politics and give your employees ample time as well as opportunities to know each other. Make sure your employees are not overworked or under too much pressure. This will rob them of all the emotional energy required to showcase their soft skills. Show that the company cares for its employees and make them feel valued. Make sure your employees have a safe environment where they can openly communicate and seek help. Create such a model in your organization where employees are deservingly appreciated for their work. All of these elements together can create a collaborative work environment that encourages soft skills in employees.
This article doesn’t imply that soft-skills training should not be done at all. Instead, this article is about paving way for organizations to make such trainings actually useful. Only a good and respectful work culture will reap the benefits of such trainings. So, do not make soft skills so hard. Make it easy to both develop as well as showcase!