Soft Skill Development: 3 Reasons Why It’s Now Mission-Critical

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Technology is a huge enabler. As it continues to develop, it enables businesses to do more and more with the same amount of time. Machines can work faster and more consistently than a human – and they don’t need to be paid. 

So today, as was the case with the assembly line, routine tasks in the corporate environment are becoming automated. With repetitive, technical tasks now taken care of by AI, human employees are more likely to be spending their time on tasks that require soft skill development.

The irony is that all this time we’ve been becoming more digital, which has now led us almost full circle to the point where human communication, interpersonal skills and cultural integration are once again at the heart of successful business.

3 major reasons why corporate soft skill development is mission-critical today

1. Weak soft skills leads to poor profitability…

The annual cost to US and UK businesses of miscommunication is estimated to be a whopping $37 billion. This includes actions or errors of omission by employees who have misunderstood or were misinformed about company policies, business processes, job function or a combination of all three.

2. …and business failure

86% of executives and employees cite ineffective collaboration and communication as a major cause of failures in the workplace. Lack of candour was identified (by 70% of respondents) as limiting the company’s ability to perform optimally. Almost every individual surveyed (99.1%) said they’d rather have a workplace in which people identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively.

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3. The future of work is soft

By 2030, soft skill-intensive occupations are predicted to make up almost two thirds of all Australian jobs.

The good news is that businesses are waking up to the importance of soft skill development, with 77% of employers believing that soft skills are as important as hard skills. In fact, employer demand for soft skills is already increasing. However, despite the future of work having a decidedly human face, research indicates that there are shortages in the Australian workforce of well-developed soft skills.

The benefits of communication skills training

Communication is only successful when both the sender and receiver of information understand it the same way. A poorly communicated message can easily be misinterpreted, provoking frustration between colleagues, and even, as illustrated in point number 1 above, cause financial loss. 

Equally, a clear message can be misremembered or ignored by a receiver who isn’t actively listening. These sorts of problems are addressed in our corporate training in effective communication. 

Training in communication improves:

  • Presentation skills 
  • Negotiation skills 
  • Interpersonal and intercultural skills
  • Influence and persuasion 
  • Ability to inspire and motivate
  • Networking skills
  • Confidence, productivity and morale

But how does this translate into ROI? According to combined research by Harvard University, Boston College, and University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, pretty well in fact. Workers with soft skills training are 12% more productive than those without, which equates to 245% ROI.

Who can benefit from effective communication and soft skills training

Regardless of your industry, soft skill development can benefit employees. If you have the authority to buy training, don’t wait for soft skill development to occur on its own. Approaching effective communication training on the front foot will create unparalleled benefits for the company as a whole.

Mid level employees that have shown their potential to go far will become extremely valuable with soft skills training. Managers can become inspirational leaders in matrix environments. And executives can learn how to have a powerful, lasting and positive impact.   

Support the soft skill development of your team by signing them up for our online Mastering Communication program. As part of this online training course, your team will receive a 24/7 communication and presentation coach to enhance their skills and kick start the new year ahead of the game.

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The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Erica Bagshaw

Erica Bagshaw is an entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She has spent the majority of her career growing and developing close client partnerships. She loves sharing her expertise on the perfect pitch.