How to Conduct Soft Skills Training Employees Will Actually Enjoy
Soft skills training doesn’t have to be painful (or boring).
Soft skills are highly regarded as the crucial difference between a successful, flexible employee and someone who will struggle to perform and adapt. Stanford and Harvard report that soft skills are responsible for 85% of job success.
Unfortunately, many companies are finding out the hard way that the traditional methods of assessing and developing soft skills are outdated, ineffective, and not well-received by their employees.
Let’s review four solutions to conduct soft skills training and make it more enjoyable and effective. By the end of this article, you’ll have several new ideas to implement in your L&D program.
How to Conduct Soft Skills Training Effectively in 2021 (and Beyond)
Before jumping into new soft skills training techniques and changing up your program, it’s crucial to see what your current program is missing.
Unfortunately, it’s common for companies to have an ineffective soft skills development program when using traditional learning methods such as lectures, workbooks, video courses, and PowerPoints. These methods rely on knowledge acquisition and retention, but only 19% of knowledge learned can be applied on the job.
Traditional learning methods also lack engagement, knowledge application, and helpful, quality feedback. Despite the shortcomings of traditional soft skills training, there is a way to combat these common pitfalls. Let’s review different ways to engage your employees with new learning methods and provide soft skills training that makes an impact.
Choose a Platform Optimized for Engagement
Traditional education has tremendous value, especially with the amount of information covered in conventional learning methods. But when it comes to soft skills development, companies need a more engaging medium to deliver crucial information and provide avenues for applying concepts in real-world scenarios
Instead of sitting in a seminar for a couple of hours and listening, your learners need a choose-your-own-adventure-style platform with real-world scenarios relevant to their jobs. Through these scenarios, they can learn through doing as a supplement to learning required concepts.
Your platform should set your team up for success. By choosing a learning platform that gives your team real-world scenarios in a familiar, user-friendly interface, you’re able to provide a fun learning experience that measures your learners' progress over time.
An example of this is our CapsimInbox software. This microsimulation platform is the exact opposite of sitting through a lecture.
The immersive role-play scenarios in the CapsimInbox show your employees exactly what they will encounter in the workplace and the best way to handle situations.
Make Training Feel Fun
There is nothing less fun than the word mandatory. When training feels forced onto your team, it can cause your team to feel like they’re not in control of their own schedule.
For your soft skills training to be successful, your employees should feel like they want to improve. A solution to motivate and empower your employees is giving your employees different training topic options.
For example, let’s say an L&D leader has just announced everyone needs to complete soft skills training. But there’s a catch: you can only choose one development solution from the numerous options available.
The first solution is a traditional learning program where your learners sit in lectures given from a PowerPoint, receive a binder with worksheets and handouts, and are tested with short quizzes to measure knowledge retention. You have total control over the topics learned, but the presentations involve hours of creation time, and the sessions are not recorded.
The second training program is through an e-learning platform, where you have video learning, multiple-choice questions, and animated graphics to engage your attention. Your company has a pre-set learning path assigned to you, and the platform has a learning curve to get used to.
The third training program available is a choose-your-own-adventure online simulation that you can complete at your own pace. The online simulation goes through real-world scenarios and engages participants with immersive role-play where you provide your best responses and answers. You also receive instant, actionable feedback through assessments to track your progress.
Which option would you choose? Probably option three because it provides the most engaging, relevant, and fun experience for your employees. It sounds like an oxymoron, but sometimes the most successful training doesn't look or feel like training at all.
Create a Professional Development Initiative
Two-thirds of employees feel like they’re not living up to their potential because of the lack of professional development in their jobs. Creating a cultivating environment for learning and development is something that is a part of your company culture. By addressing professional development initiatives in a fun and motivating way, you’re able to not only have your training completed but make them enjoyable.
When creating your professional development initiative, it’s crucial to motivate your team to get started.
Fun, motivating ideas for creating your professional development program include:
- Team or solo competitions with team names and t-shirts
- Monetary prizes
- Office escape room challenges
- Tech giveaways
- Other prizes such as MVP or Most Improved
- Quarterly bonus qualifications
These challenges will help get your teams excited about learning and start getting competitive. You can even rope in management and have one leader per team. Creating an engaging environment for professional development and involving leadership generates a snowball effect of excitement and fun for your soft skills development program.
Show that You're Bought in from the Top Down
When your employees feel supported by leadership, that’s when company culture thrives. That means when soft skills training comes into question, it’s crucial to make it clear that everyone is on board.
Demonstrating that your entire company is bought into the new soft skills training shows a sense of camaraderie and togetherness that is important in healthy company culture. By involving leadership, it could also be more motivating for employees to know their supervisors, managers, and company executives are working to improve as well.
If leadership is not bought into your soft skills training program, that may leave your employees feeling like they’re singled out as the only ones who need improvement. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose an engaging soft skills training platform that is customizable for numerous roles and levels of employees in your organization.
Soft Skills Training that Will be a Hit
Soft skills training should be enjoyable for your employees, leadership, and your human resources team. Developing an entirely new program or adding soft skills training into your L&D program often takes a lot of work with no guarantee of effectiveness.
With CapsimInbox, you’re able to create bite-sized online simulations instead of large, cumbersome training programs. Most simulations take 5-30 minutes for learners to complete, so your employees can easily complete these training sessions in one sitting. This is great for teams wanting to offer soft skill development without it being a burden on their employees’ time.
Check out our CapsimInbox demo to go through a sample inbox simulation and see what your employees will experience.