Job-specific technical skills are vital, but they are not all that is necessary for good job performance. Soft skills that apply in a wide range of jobs are equally important to a successful business operation. While most people possess these skills to some extent, training and professional development can help both your staff and your business become even stronger.
Importance to the Organization
Some of the most important employee strengths are the people skills that make each staff member a good fit for the job. Among these is the ability to communicate, collaborate, adapt to a changing environment and maintain a positive attitude. All of these influence interactions with internal and external stakeholders, which in turn play a role in determining whether your business will remain competitive and productive.
The ability to listen, speaking effectively and communicating orally and in writing are critical soft skills. A common problem -- and potential area of development -- lies not with understanding the message that must be conveyed, but with considering how the receiver will interpret it. The Mitchell Communications Group reports that ineffective message delivery costs businesses about $37 billion each year. Employee development training that focuses on communication topics such as active listening, audience identification, interpreting body language and public speaking can help your staff build confidence, learn new skills and build on skills they already possess.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Also vital is the capacity to work with others in person or remotely to achieve a common goal. This requires strong conflict resolution skills and the ability to give and accept criticism in a mature way. Teamwork is an opportunity to capitalize on the skills each member brings to the group and work on areas that need improvement. Team building exercises can be very beneficial in teamwork and collaboration training and development.
Adaptability covers a wide spectrum of skills. Employees who can set priorities, manage their time and respond well to changing conditions and work assignments are among the most valuable. Adaptability also involves the ability to remain open to new ideas and methods for accomplishing tasks. Training related to developing and improving prioritization and time management skills is vital to creating an adaptable workforce.
This area also relies on an employee’s inner character as it relates to things like accountability, ethical behavior and a respect for diversity. While formal training can helpful to lay the groundwork, mentoring and leading by example are also critical.