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.
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.
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.