Soft skills matter too; here’s how to cultivate them

Business Times, Monday, 27th Feb 2012

Soft skills matter too; here’s how to cultivate them

EVERY employer hopes that the people they hire come “ready-made” with all the necessary skills, including interpersonal and social skills. But that’s not always the case as some are top performers in terms of hitting sales targets etc, but lack soft skills. How can we then improve this situation? Here are some suggestions:

•    Find out what’s missing. Determine which interpersonal skills your employees currently lack and which skills are important for their daily jobs. This will give you a starting point in order to develop a training programme for them.

•    Send them out for training. There are many opportunities for training offered in the market, with many even subsidised by government initiatives. The training should encompass the areas that you have defined as needing the most work. By attending training programmes, your employees will display better interpersonal skills and will be able to interact more effectively with the various stakeholders of your company.

•    Monitor and offer feedback. Training, however, is not a magic remedy as soft skills are not learned overnight. Employees may need some time to develop these new skill sets. Schedule periodic check-ins and offer them feedback so that they can further improve.

•    Be a role model – If your own interpersonal skills need some work, brush them up by also attending the training together with them. By seeing you “walk the talk”, your employees will have more respect for you and it will be more natural for them to want to emulate your strong suits. Witnessing your strong interpersonal skills as you interact with others – and the results you achieve through it – will inspire them likewise.

•    Recognise and reward progress. Find ways to reward employees when they show improvement in their interpersonal skills. This will help keep them motivated in order to apply what they have learned to their daily dealings with others, and keep on improving their interpersonal skills.
Conclusion: Recap on why interpersonal skills are crucial for the “all-round” success of top performers, and re-iterate how the company will benefit if their employees improve their soft skills.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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