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Something is changing in the labor market. If we review the job offers, and even the training programs that companies are currently launching, we can verify that the soft skills begin to win the battle against professionals. Soft skills management becomes more important than ever.
Just over a decade ago, candidates for a job had to have very well defined hard skills (hard or professional skills). However, today soft skills (soft or personal skills) are more interesting, what has changed?
Everything has changed, and much more than what we appreciate at first glance. In recent years we have gone through moments of great uncertainty and new social challenges that have affected the labor market, and everything seems to indicate that this situation is going to continue over time.
In a moment of drastic and constant changesWhat companies really need is workers who adapt well to the new circumstances. That they have autonomy when working, that they manage their time well, that they are good communicators, that they are interested in continuing to learn... all these are soft skills.
We do not mean to say that hard skills have ceased to be important, because that is not the case, but they are now valued less emphatically. Because it is easier to teach a person how to carry out a certain task, than to make them a good leader, or to manage their time better.
Social skills are learned and developed throughout life. Each experience lived by the person directly affects their soft skills. The good thing is that with good training too you can learn new ones, or even improve the ones you already have.
In any case, for soft skills to be truly useful for the company, what is needed is for the organization to be able to manage them well. Let's see how this goal can be achieved.
How to manage soft skills in a work team
make an assessment
The first step always involves analyzing the situation, knowing what are the personal skills that employees have.
The best way to achieve this is through specialized tests such as hirint. This allows you to see what personal skills are being managed within the group and detect needs with respect to them.
Measuring as another way of managing soft skills
It is not enough to be aware of the soft skills that are applied, you have to go one step further and know the level of soft skills of each employee. Know which ones each person has more enhanced and which ones would be necessary develop more.
We're working with people, so we can't rely on everything the data says. After evaluating and measuring the skills, it is interesting to talk with the employees and get their feedback, because they themselves are the ones who know each other best.
A conversation with a worker can highlight personal abilities that he had not demonstrated in the tests.
Select soft skills as another way to manage soft skills
In a job description we try to define as accurately as possible the tasks that must be carried out within a certain job, and the skills and knowledge that the person who occupies it must have. But we know that, when push comes to shove, it will be impossible to find someone who fit the 100% into the designed profile. That is when personnel technicians begin to discard requirements in order to find a good candidate.
Something similar happens with soft skills. It is clear that all of them are interesting and beneficial both for the employees and for the company, but we cannot pretend that all employees have all.
You have to do a screening process and determine which soft skills are really important for who occupies a certain job. The rest can stay in the background.
train the skills
The last step in the management of soft skills is to train employees to develop and enhance those skills that we have determined to be very useful for those who are occupying a specific job.
Manage training and management of soft skills
After all of the above, it is time to continue advancing in the process. We have decided that employees must be trained in personal skills, but how to carry this out in the best possible way?
Explore the interests of workers
These training programs must be as personalized as possible, adapting to the interests of the person and the characteristics of their job.
For example, a specialist in the marketing department may be interested in improving their communication skills so that they can make their presentations more confident and effective. While a warehouse worker who is dedicated to order preparation may be more interested in developing skills related to work time management, to better organize their tasks, be more productive, and reduce their stress levels.
Awake the interest
Many employees have not heard of soft skills and are not entirely clear on how they can help them in and out of the workplace. For this reason, one of the company's first missions is to ensure that its staff members know all the benefits of developing new capabilities of this type.
In addition, the courses that are going to be offered must be publicized, and for this, all possible means must be used: emails, memos, posters, social networks, etc.
Facilitate the registration process
When participation in this type of training is voluntary, we must try to minimize the barriers that those who are interested in taking part in the courses may encounter.
A simple registration form it is the most effective. In fact, the less data required, the better. So you have to limit yourself to something that the employee can complete in just one or two minutes and without having to search for data such as their seniority in the company.
The workers want to continue improving their skills, no matter if they are hard skills or soft skills, what they do not want is for this professional retraining to imply for them to have to Neglecting your professional or personal obligations.
If we tell a person that he has to spend two hours a week on his training, and that he has to do it during office hours and then try to catch up with his work, or that he has to study on his own in his spare time, the safest thing is that the percentage of students who finish the course is not too high.
Let's search formulas that make training much simpler and more accessible. Systems such as e-learning and gamification have recently been joined by microlearning, which is perfect for reconciling work and personal life with training. Is about little training “pills” that can be consumed at any time: in the coffee break, waiting for the bus...
A short lesson of less than five minutes a day can be much more effective than a 60-minute face-to-face class once a week.
Training in companies is useful and necessary, however, it is not always successful. This is due to poor planning, because it is useless for us to provide theoretical training to employees if, at the moment of truth, they are not going to put it into practice. What happens in these cases is that the company is losing money and its employees are wasting their time.
Training in soft skills promotes learning by doing, that is, taking action. It is not just about students doing practical exercises, but about find a practical application in their work of what they are learning.
For example, if they have learned to use different tools, one of the practical exercises of the course may be to integrate some of them into their daily routine. Because, as soon as the employee gets used to using them, they will already be taking advantage of the training.
Again, employees are the most valuable source of information. Did you like the course? Has it allowed them to develop new skills? How has your way of working changed after the training?
Knowing the answer to these types of questions is the best way to know if the investment of resources has been truly useful. Fortunately, this type of data can be easily obtained through a survey that should be carried out about 10 or 15 days after the training has finished, so that the participants have the opportunity to see if what they have learned is really useful to them in your workplace.
Soft skills are complex, and that means that they are not easy to manage. However, assessing the situation and designing a training plan accordingly can enable employees to begin to develop and use skills that they were previously not considering. Resulting in greater job satisfaction within the workforce and better results for the company.