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Soft Skills - The ASA Way

Posted on 19/08/19 in

The importance of soft skills in the workplace

The way we communicate in today’s workplace changes constantly. “Communication” might conjure up thoughts of our written and verbal styles of communication, but it’s actually more complex. The future workplace will need people who can effectively communicate on diverse platforms, whether face-to-face, via email or on collaborative digital platforms.  The ability to articulate ideas and communicate them clearly will become crucial for all of us. It is important for apprentices and trainees to understand the difference between formal communication and informal communication methods, and when and how to use them.

Dealing with a team of people with diverse personalities and agendas can be difficult for young people embarking on an apprenticeship or traineeship.  A recent discussion with a current trainee gave us an insight as to how she deals with conflict management. “When there are misunderstandings, I have learnt that asking questions is one of the best things to do to understand exactly what needs to be done. We’ll have a meeting and go through exactly what needs to be addressed. I just make sure I ask questions so that I understand clearly the best way to attack my work.”
We all know the importance of teamwork in the workplace. Trainees feel like they get more done when they come together as a team and share ideas. Our trainee continues, “It took me a while to start joining in team discussions, since I am a shy person, but when I do participate it makes more feel more productive”.  Not only does teamwork and collaboration build confidence, but it also encourages productivity.

At ASA we believe the development of soft skills within the workplace can add an extra dimension to your employees’ professional and personal development. This will also have a positive impact on the culture and success of your business.
Advancements in technology have irreversibly altered the way tasks are handled, in many ways making things much more efficient, yet also reducing the opportunities young people get to develop and practice their soft skills.  For example, navigation, which traditionally would have been reading and analysing a map in the “Gregory’s”, involved critical thinking and problem-solving, now it only requires a quick entry into your Google Maps.  In addition, most communication is now had via text or social media, significantly reducing the opportunities for developing good communication skills.
Research has demonstrated that employee performance and soft skills are intertwined, with an increase in an employee’s soft skills, through well conducted training, leading to a 15.9% increase in employee performance (Ibrahim, 2017). Therefore, it is important to devote attention to the development of employee soft skills as well as technical knowledge for optimal business performance. 
Soft skills also add a human touch, and help facilitate human connections. These human connections ensure a productive and healthy work environment, which in turn lead to lower employee turnover and further enhance employee commitment. The more employees use soft skills like problem solving and interpersonal skills, the more they develop positive workplace behaviours and attitudes towards the work that they do (Ibrahim, 2017). 
Additionally, where workplaces practice good quality communication, the job satisfaction of their employees increases (Nelson, 2007). If we want to see apprentices and trainees experience high job satisfaction and perform at their best, it is critical we create workplaces that value and practice soft skills.   With young people today expected to have more than 17 jobs over their working lifetime, it is more important than ever that they have a set of transferable skills that they can take from job to job.  

The good news about soft skills is they are universally useful: no matter where or how you work, you need them. However, developing your employees’ soft skills, as well as your own, does take effort, ongoing practice and a commitment to self-development – no matter your age. 

Soft Skills in the Workforce - Deakin University - Find here


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