November 22, 2021
4 min read

5 Ways to Encourage Soft Skills in 2022

Written by
Angel Lim

You can hire anyone with excellent qualifications. But without soft skills, your organisation can’t go any further. So, how should you encourage soft skills in the workplace?

It’s an age-old dilemma that persists for hiring managers — choosing between two equally qualified candidates, but you can only hire one.  

Both have the skills you look for; they are almost perfect for the role. While it may seem like an ideal situation for hiring managers, all you need is a deciding factor to hire one of them.  

And that is soft skills.  

encourage soft skills development
Do you have the right interpersonal skills in the workplace?

Still think it’s not a big deal? Let’s look through some rough numbers.

Candidates may have all of the technical skills for the job, but you might not find the list of soft skills that they may have when hiring. You wouldn’t want to risk them being the downfall of your business.

But first, what are soft skills?

They are the skills you possess that relate to personality traits, behaviours, and interpersonal skills.

you need soft skills to thrive at work
Soft skills are important in the workplace.

They focus more on communication, leadership, social skills, and emotional intelligence quotient, so your employees work well, perform well, and achieve common goals.  

You can be the best at what you do, but if your soft skills aren’t cutting it, you’re limiting your chances of career success. Read on to learn how your employees can acquire soft skills in the workplace.

1. Be open to feedback

The best way to keep your employees on track towards developing their soft skills is by offering periodic feedback from supervisors, managers, or even peers. Workplace mentoring or buddy systems are great examples to enhance learning and strengthen employee performance.

be open to feedback
Give feedback to employees to strengthen their skills.

Once they’re open to feedback, they can be better able to receive constructive criticisms to improve their job roles, including soft skills in the workplace. Gently guide them down the right path, hear them out, and offer advice along the way.  

After some time, they should be well on their way towards honing a set of powerful skills that are beneficial for them.  

2. Work through conflict

work through conflict to develop soft skills
Enhance skills through resolving workplace conflict.

Crises happen at work; understanding the best way to resolve workplace conflict is extremely critical. Remember, everyone must come together to support the common goal, instead of projecting your hardships on them.

As a leader or manager, think of alternate ways to correct your employees’ behaviour at work clearly and respectfully. Let them know what they are doing wrong, how to do their tasks correctly, and encourage them. They can learn from others and continue to be productive as teammates.

3. Immersive learning technology

immersive learning technology for soft skill development
Learning is an essential way to grow your employees.

We’ve seen augmented reality and virtual reality technology grow in the past few years and it shows no sign of slowing down. They involve learners in their own learning experience through the form of simulations, real-life scenarios, quizzes, or gamification.

A study shows that using virtual reality to train employees was up to four times more effective than traditional methods, and 275% more confident to utilise what they’ve learned after training.

The more emotionally connected they are to the content, the more likely they are to possess significant behavioural changes, which are important for soft skills development.

4. Encourage self-reflection

Your employees won’t know how to improve or develop soft skills in the workplace until they know which skills that could use some work. The best way is to do a self-assessment or 360-degree feedback to identify their soft skill gaps.

Allow them ample time to reflect on and understand the process and what they want to achieve. It helps build learning agility to adapt faster to the changing needs in the workplace.

encourage self-reflection
Allow employees to reflect themselves on areas of improvement.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Practice makes perfect, and this is how you develop soft skills in employees. Otherwise, what’s the point of learning collaboration skills if your employees isolate in their work responsibilities? Allow them to take the newly acquired skills for a test drive.

Establishing a team spirit is an excellent way for employees to practice collaboration and communication skills when given a shared task. Plus, your employees get the chance to practice problem-solving and creative thinking skills.

practice soft skills
Give your employees opportunities to practice soft skills.
“Soft skills get little respect but they will make or break your career.”  — Peggy Klaus, author of The Hard Truth about Soft Skills

Soft skills will serve you well  

No matter what career you choose, developing a set of soft skills brings you more good than harm. It is becoming more valuable in the workplace and are in high demand from employers. Not only can they help your employees adapt, innovate, and engage better with colleagues, but they can also make us more successful at work.

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