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The Best Time to Invest in Soft Skills Training is Right Now

The Best Time to Invest in Soft Skills Training is Right Now

The Best Time to Invest in Soft Skills Training is Right Now

Many companies are cutting back on training – especially soft skills training – right now, as a strategy to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects.

But experts and scientific research say this is a big mistake, for three reasons.

The virtual workplace runs on soft skills.

As businesses make the shift from physical to virtual, soft skills take front and center.

Employees working remotely and relating to each other online, will need more communication and collaboration skills, not less.

Leaders managing remote teams will need more leadership and teambuilding skills, not less.

Customer service people will need more emotional intelligence, critical thinking and empathy to deliver outstanding service.

Forbes magazine said it best: If you want employ the best people, make soft skills a top priority.

Customers demand soft skills.

Consumers now have almost unlimited choices in the products and services they buy – all offering convenience, functionality and affordability. That’s why customer service is now what makes a difference in whether a customer buys or stays loyal to a particular product or business. The ability to communicate and keep customers happy and coming back depends almost solely on soft skills.

Soft skills training gives a high return on investment

Numerous studies have shown that investing in building soft skills in the company give a high rate of return, as well as higher overall profits.

An MIT study found that soft skills training in 5 different companies resulted in a 250% return on investment in just 8 months.

A Forbes study also showed that leadership training help improve leadership across the organization, and good leaders add more economic value to businesses than poor leaders. Poor leaders lose the company money while great leaders can boost profits by as much as 90%.

Other benefits of soft skills training found are reduction in the number of customer complaints, better teamwork and higher individual productivity, and greater confidence and harmony among individual workers and teams.

The takeaway from all these studies is that soft skills training is more important now than ever, and instead of cutting back, companies should be investing more on enhancing employees’ communication, leadership, collaboration and other soft skills.

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What’s the most in-demand job skill right now? The answer may surprise you.

What’s the most in-demand job skill right now? The answer may surprise you.

What’s the most in-demand job skill right now? The answer may surprise you.

No, it’s not coding, computer, tech or other hard skills.

The No. 1 skill set companies are looking for right now is – soft skills.

Here’s 3 reasons why:

As automation and artificial intelligence make millions of jobs obsolete, the jobs that will remain will require soft skills.

Experts say that most jobs that require hard skills will gradually be automated and done by AI. An Oxford University study predicts, for example, that as much as 47% of jobs in the US will be gone in 20 years.

The jobs that will remain for people, because AI cannot do them, are jobs that require soft skills like interpersonal communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, leadership, teamwork and collaboration. In fact, a Deloitte study predicts that 2/3 of jobs in Australia will rely on soft skills by 2030.

Soft skills equal job success and business success.

Harvard, Stanford and the Carnegie Foundation said it first: 85% of job success depends on having well-developed soft skills, and only 15% on technical/hard skills.

Google, in its own study, found that of the 8 most important qualities in employees, technical expertise came in last; all the top 7 are soft skills (communication, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, etc).

Forbes magazine says the same thing: If you want to hire the best people, make soft skills a top priority. And it makes sense, right? Workers with excellent soft skills like empathy, communication, critical thinking, leadership are more likely to work hard, be goal-oriented, work well with others, deal better with customers, and are more able to work on their own, with minimal supervision.

The biggest skills gap in the job market is soft skills.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said it, and most HR managers, analysts and experts agree. Soft skills are in demand because they are in scarce supply. For example, a LinkedIn study across 100 metropolitcan cities in the US found a shortage of 1.4 million individuals who can communicate effectively with others.

In short, soft skills like listening, collaborating, presenting ideas, empathy, and keeping customers happy, are all highly valued and sought-after in the 21st century workplace.

What’s the lesson here?
It means: Having well-developed soft skills gives you a distinct advantage and puts you one step ahead of the competition.

And if you haven’t, then don’t waste any more time on Youtube or online games. Invest your time, money and effort to brush up and acquire top-notch soft skills to make you really stand out. There’s lots of online courses on soft skills and personal development, some free, some you have to pay for. Some websites, like American English, will even give you a free assessment on what soft skills you need to develop and how.