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Efficiently training soft skills

Soft and power skills as a core element for the economic success of your company

 
 

In an agile world with strong competitive pressure, soft skills are no longer just a "nice to have". They are a core element for the economic success of your company. To meet the challenges of the market and to stay competitive in the long run, soft skills are essential building blocks. We will guide you through the most important soft skills your employees need and explain how they can be applied concretely in everyday work. We also show you how you can effectively train and develop soft skills - also digitally. Read this article and find the key to making your team successful in an ever-changing working world.

 

What are soft skills?

I'm sure you've heard of softskills in the context of corporate training. Softskills, sometimes referred to as "powerskills," "key skills," or "soft skills," encompass a wide range of skills, attributes, and behaviors that enable you and your team to work together effectively and harmoniously to achieve common goals. The exact definition of soft skills is somewhat fuzzy. The term encompasses many interpersonal qualities, personal values and soft skills. 

Softskills are less tangible and more difficult to measure than hardskills, which often include specific domain knowledge and technical skills. But they are equally, if not more, important to success in the work environment. They include aspects such as emotional intelligence, conflict management, communication, empathy, adaptability, and many others.

 

Why are soft skills so important?

Imagine knowledge and skills are a ship - sturdy, ready to weather any kind of waves and weather. But what good is a well-equipped ship if it doesn't have an experienced captain? This is where soft skills come into play. Softskills are the captain of this ship. They navigate, give direction, make decisions, and keep the ship on course despite all odds.

A ship without a captain can't accomplish much on the open sea, no matter how massive or well-built it is. It might spin in circles, veer off course, or get shipwrecked in the middle of a storm. At the same time, a captain cannot sail anywhere without a ship. Therefore, while knowledge and skills are important, they cannot be used effectively without soft skills.

A person on your team might be an expert in her technical area. However, if she is unable to communicate effectively, work well as part of a team, or deal with change, her productivity and that of the entire team will suffer. In contrast, someone who may have less technical knowledge but strong soft skills can often learn faster, adapt better, and have a stronger positive impact on the team and the work environment.

Softskills, then, are not just a "nice to have" but an essential component of personnel development. They determine how successfully a team works, how well it responds to changes and challenges, and ultimately how productive and satisfied employees are. In your role, therefore, you are responsible not only for nurturing your employees' technical skills, but also for recognizing, valuing and developing their soft skills.

 

Hardskills vs Softskills

This table shows that both hardskills and softskills are essential for career success, but they cover different aspects of job performance and are learned and developed in different ways.

Hardskills

Softskills

Definition

Specific, teachable skills acquired through formal education, training, and practice. They are easily measurable and demonstrable.

Personal attributes, emotional, social, and communication skills that enable one to interact and work effectively with others

Examples

Programming languages, machine operation, accounting, data analysis, foreign language skills, certifications, etc.

Teamwork, problem solving, time management, emotional intelligence, communication skills, conflict resolution, leadership skills, etc.

Measurability

Easily measured and verified, often through certification, testing or demonstration.

More difficult to measure, often assessed through observation and feedback.

Meaning in the workplace

Required to complete certain tasks and projects. They are often key to hiring.

Important for effective teamwork, managing change and uncertainty, and fostering a positive work environment. They can often make the difference between good employees and outstanding employees.

Acquisition and development

Through formal education, specific training, and practice.

Through self-reflection, feedback, coaching, mentoring, and practice in real-world situations.

 

What soft skills should you teach your employees?

Soft skills make the difference between good and exceptional employees. Below, we present ten of the most important soft skills for your team: 

Communication

You can't do it without communication. Employees who communicate well can effectively convey ideas, give and receive feedback, and resolve conflicts. Companies benefit from clear communication because it avoids misunderstandings and improves efficiency.

Teamwork

Team members who work well together can complete tasks more effectively and come up with creative solutions. Organizations benefit from good teamwork through increased productivity and improved morale.

Emotional Intelligence

This refers to the ability to recognize and understand one's own and others' emotions and respond appropriately. Employees with high emotional intelligence can handle stress well, resolve conflicts and work effectively in a team. Companies benefit through improved relationships between employees and a generally positive work atmosphere.

Problem solving

Employees with problem-solving skills are able to find creative solutions and adapt quickly to change. Companies benefit through efficient work processes and innovative solutions.

Adaptability

In a rapidly changing workplace, the ability to adapt to new situations and challenges is essential. Adaptable employees can handle change and take on new tasks and roles. Companies benefit through agility and resilience in the face of change.

Time management

The ability to prioritize and effectively schedule tasks is important to completing tasks on time. Employees with good time management skills can complete tasks efficiently and meet deadlines. Companies benefit through increased productivity and reduced stress in the work environment.

Decidability

Making the right decisions quickly is a skill that both leaders and professionals should master in order to act efficiently and move the company forward.

Intercultural Competence

In our globalized world, the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with people from different cultures is very valuable. It can lead to better relationships and successful collaboration on an international level.

Negotiation skills

Whether in sales or purchasing, employees with negotiation skills act in the best interest of the company, achieving lower prices and effectively acquiring new customers. 

Customer orientation

The ability to understand and respond to customer needs and expectations leads to a positive customer experience, and therefore higher customer satisfaction.

 

Training soft skills effectively

Turn your employees into capable captains

How can you best help your employees enhance their soft skills and acquire new ones? First of all, you need the right learning and corporate culture that allows your employees to develop, recognize their weaknesses and strengths, and work on them. After all, only if your team is also open to developing itself will the training measures be successful. With the right prerequisites, you can train soft or power skills effectively and efficiently. The following proven methods will help you do this.

 

Online courses

In order to use certain soft skills efficiently, your employees need prior knowledge. They obtain this prior knowledge either from their own experience or from learning materials. Best practices for communication, conflict management or negotiation skills provide your learners with important basic knowledge to optimally use their soft skills in their daily work routine. 

 

Gamification

Allow your employees to discover their inner child. Support the natural play instinct of your learners and teach soft skills in the form of games, quizzes or simulations. Playful elements make learning new skills fun and easy. Thanks to Gamification you will achieve even faster and even better results in your personnel development. 

 

Mentoring

In a mentoring program, mentees receive valuable feedback from their mentors*. They learn to understand their strengths and weaknesses more quickly and can develop their soft skills faster with the support of experienced colleagues. Digital tools support you in establishing a suitable mentoring program in your company.

 

Scenario-based learning

Social skills and communication skills are best trained using practical examples. However, role-playing is often uncomfortable and feels unnatural. Scenario-based learning remedies this. Thanks to simulated situations, your learners are in a realistic learning environment in which they can improve and expand their skills. Integrated skill assessments provide immediate feedback on the soft skills to be trained.

 

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The Future of Soft Skills

Rapid technological development and the constant expansion of digital horizons offer us a glimpse into the potential face of the future world of work. With the steady emergence of artificial intelligence, automation and advanced technologies, simple, routine work steps are becoming increasingly digitized and automated. Artificial intelligence is becoming more competent and efficient at accomplishing tasks that have traditionally been performed by humans. This is leading to a significant shift in the importance of pure man-power in many occupational fields that were once considered indispensable.

However, as machines and technologies evolve, there are certain human traits and skills that - at least as things stand today - cannot be replaced by robots or algorithms. Soft skills such as empathy, creativity, negotiation skills and emotional intelligence are uniquely human and remain irreplaceable in most scenarios. In a world dominated by technology, it is these soft skills that require high levels of personal interaction, understanding and humanity that prove to be valuable assets.

It is these soft skills that enable us to communicate effectively, build meaningful relationships, develop creative solutions, and navigate stressful or emotionally charged situations effectively. They are key to fostering an inclusive, collaborative, and innovative work environment and are indispensable, both in society and in the workplace.

With this in mind, it is increasingly important for companies to invest in developing and strengthening these soft skills. The demands of the future world of work will evolve and change, and it is critical that employees have the skills needed to be successful. Therefore, it is worthwhile for companies to invest in soft skills training early on to ensure that their employees are prepared for the challenges of the future and can thrive in the ever-changing work landscape.

 

The bottom line.

Softskills are more than just a nice extra - they are at the heart of what it means to be successful in the modern workplace. In a world increasingly dominated by technology and automation, it is these human skills that set us apart and enable us to communicate effectively, develop creative solutions, and make our workplace a productive and inclusive space. The conclusion is clear: companies that invest in soft skills development ensure their employees are prepared for the challenges of the future. Invest in soft skills and you invest in your company's future viability. Enable your employees to reach their full potential by providing them with tools and opportunities for development. This will ensure your team remains successful in an ever-changing work landscape.

 
Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG
Nadine Pedro
Senior Marketing Manager
 

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