How to Motivate Employees to Pump up Their Soft Skills

people sitting on chair

Professional skills give you the opportunity to work. Soft skills help to bring your work to a new level. But employees do not always understand their importance and sometimes perceive soft skills training as something optional. Take note of 4 tricks to motivate learning. 

Talk About the Benefits of Learning

Focus on two aspects. The benefits of the here and now: why it will be easier to work after soft skill training. And the benefits of the future: how soft skills can affect career development. 

Here is an example. Time management will help you manage your schedule and comfort. You will understand how to distribute tasks so that you can do each one in time and not get exhausted during the working day. What arguments will help you fight against being overwhelmed with tasks and needing everything yesterday. 

In the future, the skill of time management will help to become a strong project manager or an executive, under whose wing the team manages everything without burning out. Or go freelancing with the confidence that it will really give you freedom and not turn into a 24/7 job.

Submit the Training in a Marathon Format

Training is essentially an event that everyone must complete by meeting a certain deadline. That sounds harsh. When training is presented as a marathon, the essence doesn’t change and the rigor goes away. There are also motivating factors. 

 

Marathon training is: 

  • A unified curriculum.
  • Deadlines to set the pace of learning.
  • Open ranking of students.
  • Rewards for winning.

 

Soft skill training lends itself well to the marathon format because it’s easy to pick up a single program. Basic soft skills (communication, time and stress management) will be useful to different employees from different departments. 

A common goal and deadlines encourage you to stay on top of your team. Information about how people are learning is publicly available – it helps to assess their level against the background of other colleagues and motivates them to show themselves well. Well, the rewards are stimulating to win (you can give something useful for work: a course, a book, a meeting with an expert). 

As a result, the employee switches from the disapproving mode “why do I need this training” to the motivated mode.

Making Learning Comfortable

Learning can feel like something that suddenly bursts into life and complicates it. Or it can be unobtrusively woven into your daily routine. To provide basic comfort, you need to make the learning material understandable and easy to learn. Specifically: 

  • Present the information simply, like an online casino presents baccarat online rules. Support complex points with examples and show what is better to see once.
  • Think about whether it will be comfortable to read or watch the material and absorb the information. Divide the text into comfortable paragraphs and dilute it with illustrations. If it’s a video, give important points (terms, step-by-step instructions, numbers) in text, not just spoken words.
  • Make the lessons short, the optimal length is 15-30 minutes. It is easier to find time for a short lesson, it is not tiring and is easier to give, because the involvement does not fall and you do not have to force yourself to get ready.
  • Learn how employees are used to replenishing their knowledge, and don’t force them to change their habits. Watch videos or read? From the phone or the computer? At home in a chair with tea or only during work hours? The fact that courses are opened from a phone can already be a motivation to learn if employees are in the habit of filling pauses by reading something on their phone.

Add Spice

Spices make food more interesting, you want more and more to taste the flavour. A similar effect can be achieved in training. Here is how to spice up training: 

  • Informality. The easiest way is to write the course in informal language and dilute it with humour, so it feels like you’re being taught by a friend. A more complicated option is to apply storytelling, to present the material as a story with characters. 
  • Linking to your personal life. When a course affects not only your work life, but also your personal life, there are strong personal motivations to take it. Soft skill training is a case where adding a link to the personal is easy. For example, advice on how to communicate with difficult clients can be illustrated with examples from both work and normal life. Draw a parallel – how the skill will help outside work, where you also meet difficult people.
  • Communication. One of the great pleasures of fishing is discussing fishing. It’s the same with learning. Reflecting together after learning, discovering that you share common mistakes, exchanging experiences and links is nice. But the main benefit is that the accompanying communication makes learning something more, the result is increased engagement and motivation to keep learning.