Develop Your Team’s Soft Skills or Risk Losing Managers
By Taylor Varco
Employers are putting more time and money into testing out job applicant’s personality traits. Why? There’s a hidden cost to any soft skill deficit in middle management. The truth is, most people are not 100% prepared for the job the sign on for. As they advanced in their careers, and may begin to manage others, their success or failure can become more dependent on their soft skills rather than technical skills alone.
It’s things like the ability to collaborate, handle conflict, and time management, that can make the difference between a successful employee and one causing the company harm. This has become especially apparent as many considered part of the Millennial generation are stepping into management roles. It’s unfortunate, but many senior managers are quick to share their distress with younger co-workers, but few stop and ask, “What are we doing about it?”
So firstly, what does soft skill deficit look like?
It’s likely that payroll is a sizable percentage of any business’ expense, so it’s no surprise that some of the greatest contributing factors to profitability lies in employee retention, engagement and performance improvement. Yet, low engagement and high turnover run high across industries. What does this mean for the average workplace?
Low productivity: Employees who feel undervalued produce less.
Greater conflict: Teams spending more energy in unproductive communication.
Missed customer opportunity: Employees who are not effective brand ambassadors.
But the issue is more than just bridging a generation gap in your workforce.
People rise in an organization because of their hard skills and fall short when it comes to lack of soft skills. Soft skills training is a critical piece for future succession planning. You’ll want to invest in your company’s leaders now, and on a continuous basis, to fill your talent pipeline.
As you are strategizing your training plan, don’t risk on leaving out soft skills—especially for your Millennial workforce—who aren’t likely to turn to outside resources for professional training.
Get creative with your solutions.
Establishing a well-rounded and formal training program is important, but there are other ways you can include soft skill training for management. Try incorporating programs that focus on stress reduction, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, accountability, team empowerment, and personal brand development. Bringing in outside training and offering classes is one way to do this, online formats are also nice as they allow people to absorb the information at their own pace.
Overall, it’s time organizations start investing in soft skills development. It’s a win for the employee’s career and well-being, as well as the organization.