By Jamie Farrell
Let’s face it. Fifty percent of your workforce will need to be reskilled or replaced within the next five years. With the half-life of a new digital skill lasting about two years, your employees need to be learning continually. Yet teaching hard skills is not enough.
Soft skills training is equally, if not more, important. Take, for instance, a reskilling initiative for employees to start a career path to becoming citizen data scientists. You could easily oversteer on how much someone needs to learn hard skills like Python while paying little to no attention to whether or not these workers can communicate effectively with executives, other senior stakeholders, and the entire organization.
Frankly, if you don’t pay attention to soft skills training, it’s arguably irrelevant to reskill or upskill your employees at all.
Consider LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, which puts training for soft skills as a top focus area for talent development. Thousands of executives told LinkedIn that they are seeking to train their employees in critical soft skills such as creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management.
By incorporating soft skills into our live, instructor-led corporate programs, outcomes are better, and employees are far more likely to be job-ready from day one. Just ask Ricardo Maden, Vice President at TEKsystems Global Services, an IT service management company working with us on creating workforce development programs that attract and train diverse groups of new employees across specific technology profiles.
No two companies are the same, which is why our curriculum designers meet with you to understand your company’s specific hard skills and soft skills needs. Next, we make sure the competency profiles you use to build and measure great employees are a part of every program, and that we assess employees at least every couple of weeks. Finally, we get your hiring managers involved by having our curriculum designers interview them to reveal soft skills that very often directly correlate to your company’s mission and core values.
Another great example of the importance of integrating soft skills is a large financial services organization that cannot find enough cybersecurity professionals. So, when it decided to focus on reskilling some of its legacy technical workforce, the company ended up with a training program that provided its workers experience with Wireshark, Kali Linux, Metasploit, and Nessus, and skills applicable to certifications such as the CompTIA Security+ and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), but also had them spend time learning soft skills associated with change management.
Soft skills are part of every corporate training program that we offer. To learn more about the importance of incorporating soft skills in your workforce development and training initiatives, I invite you to register and watch the on-demand enterprise webinar “Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Soft Skills in Your Workforce Development,” which I participated in along with Ricardo Madan from TEKsystems and Beth Loeb Davies, the former Director of Learning & Development at Tesla.
Jamie Farrell is the chief business officer of Trilogy Education Services. At Trilogy, Jamie is responsible for achieving revenue goals as well as launching new revenue streams.