The old saying, “employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers” is a scary thought when we are trying so hard to find and keep employees. No matter how great the onboarding training may be, or how competitive our wages are today, it can all unravel with a manager who doesn’t have the skills to lead.
The critical skills that managers need are not technical or even specialized skills. The most effective managers have a strong foundation of soft skills, or in other words, the ability to interact and influence others in a positive way. There is a plethora of different soft skills training options available, but how do you make these competencies stick with your team? To really make soft skills training resonate with your team, you need to create content that is specific to their jobs and your company.
The first step is creating a list of the top competencies needed in your environment. Most companies may have the same basic soft skills on their list like customer service, communication, team building, or coaching. Different industries and individual companies have varying priorities for the different soft skills that are needed. Do you have a customer-focused environment? Or is your company more focused on production? This will may change the skills that are needed or change the hierarchy of needs.
Avoiding the Eye Rolls or Relating to Your Managers
Often managers cringe at the thought of learning soft skills. They are managers, they already know these things! And they certainly don’t have time to sit down and take training on something that is so… well, “soft.” The key is making it specific to your company and their job.
At Orgwide, we have created countless soft skill training programs, and no two look anything alike. Sure, the basic title may be similar, but the actual content is customized for each company. Here are some tips that we have found to be successful:
- Tie it into your company’s vision, mission, or values
- Incorporate company graphics and photos
- Use examples that are relatable and happen almost every day
- Include specific benefits to the company’s success
Soft skills aren’t things that you learn once and then move on. Follow up the official training with on-the-job exercises so they can both use the skills and see the value and impact that they make. Reinforce the training messages in ongoing communication and follow-up meetings. Create a culture where these vital capabilities are front and center, every day!