How Soft Skills Can Strengthen Your Workplace Culture
What do you look for when hiring new team members? Technical skills? Sufficient experience in the respective field? A rich CV and exceptional referrals from past employers? All of these matter and they will help you identify the right talent to strengthen your business.
As you grow, you’re likely to invest in programs that strengthen technical abilities and result in even deeper specialised skills.
This approach is great but it ignores an important aspect of building the right workplace culture.
While specialised knowledge is obviously important, so are the non-technical skills that ensure a sustainable approach to business success.
Soft Skills: The Social Adhesive Propelling Your Team Forward
For a long, long time, hard skills have been heavily sought-after. Their very name builds a positive image for these qualifications – solid, reliable, essential, capable of adding value to the company.
Soft skills like communication, teamwork, networking, problem solving and resilience building often stay on the sidelines due to more priority being put on technical knowledge.
These non-technical skills, however, matter for a whole host of reasons.
Investing in professional development programs that improve non-technical skills results in better collaboration, more productive interactions, advanced problem solving, a higher level of engagement and an optimistic, innovative workforce. Click to tweet
All of these play a critical role in engaging employees, helping them grow and boosting their level of credibility and confidence, which in turn, creates a sense of purpose and belonging. A joint mission gets established, helping people remain enthusiastic even when the going gets tough. And this is one of the keys to long-term business sustainability – optimistic, loyal team members who believe in the core mission and who are willing to go that extra mile.
Non-Technical Skills and Real-World Performance Enhancement
To give you a better idea about the power of non-technical skills, let’s explore Martin’s story.
Martin is a successful sales manager in a globally-recognised software firm. He’s known across the organisation for his exceptional negotiation skills during one-on-one pitches. Everybody knows that whenever Martin gets involved, new business is going to be acquired.
But when Martin has to do stand up and deliver formal presentations to a board about the software products, he fails miserably. For this reason, the company kept sending him on expensive sales courses to improve his sales technique.
Eventually, however, we discovered that Martin wasn’t lacking in the sales strategy department. He needed to strengthen his presentation skills.
Based on our recommendation, the company got Martin a local Toastmaster club membership costing less than $250. In a short period of time, he experienced a major confidence and communication skills boost.
Investing solely in professional development programs that focus on technical skills will deprive the business from the “glue” needed to hold the team together and promote sustainable growth. Thus, an annual program that invests in skills such as communication, empathy, stress management and self-leadership is what is required to maximise the power of that technical knowledge.
An annual program that invests in skills such as communication, empathy, stress management and self-leadership is what is required to maximise the power of technical knowledge. Click to tweet
As a leader, it is a constant struggle to understand the most effective method of creating a culture that helps everyone in the organisation – from the CEO to the intern – to thrive.
In a highly competitive and ever-changing environment, specialised knowledge is very important but at the same time, we must show that we care by continually progressing everyone’s abilities across a whole range of professional skills – the technical and the non-technical.
When this is done, everyone reaps the rewards, because sustainable growth is achieved.