We recently talked about the importance of soft skills in today’s workforce, with skills such as communication, compassion and problem solving becoming increasingly valued by employers. When making new hires, many organizations are looking for employees with a good combination of ‘hard’ technical skills and ‘soft’ interpersonal skills – so improving your soft skills is one of the best ways you can set yourself apart from the competition and boost your career.
Even though many companies recognize the importance of soft skills in the workplace, employers generally don’t provide training in these areas. While most technical skills can be measured and tested, skills such as empathy, resilience and emotional intelligence are often thought to be inherent within an individual’s personality. But the truth is, these qualities can be developed! Over time, you can learn to be more effective in areas like communication or team work.
So how can you get started on improving your soft skills? One of the best ways to learn new skills, or improve existing ones, is through eLearning. To help you out, we’ve put together 5 of the best online courses you can enrol in to improve your soft skills.
Good communication skills are top of the list when it comes to soft skills you need to have in 2017. Knowing how to effectively communicate – whether it’s face-to-face or via email – will help you achieve far more successful working relationships with colleagues, managers and clients.
Having good communication skills also includes being a good listener, as this helps you to better understand the needs of your employer or client. Listening is also a very important skill for effective leadership, helping to improve creative and collaboration processes in your team and contribute to a more positive work culture.
Communicating Effectively is a 30-minute eLearning course that will provide you with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to be an effective communicator. You’ll also learn about effective listening and questioning techniques you can use in the workplace and how to communicate better in your emails.
Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is considered the strongest predictor of work performance. In fact, 90% of top performers have high levels of EQ, making around $29,000 more annually than other workers.
By brushing up on your emotional intelligence, you’ll be improving your ability to monitor your own and others’ feelings and emotions, and to use this information to guide your thinking and actions. These skills will also help you become a better leader, as many traits that are necessary for strong leadership can be linked to high levels of interpersonal skills and EQ.
Check out this short 30-minute online course on Emotional Intelligence, to learn how to recognise and manage emotions – both your own feelings and those of other people. With better levels of self-awareness and self-management, you can improve your own emotional intelligence for greater success in the workplace, as well as at home.
Employers greatly value workers who demonstrate a high capacity for problem solving. Showing that you have the ability to address and resolve issues on your own will really set you apart from your co-workers and attract the attention of managers.
When staff use critical thinking, reasoning and decision making to solve problems, they’re saving the business valuable time and money. Skilled problem solvers also work to bring out the best in everything around them, creating positive change in themselves and their environment. This is a very good quality to bring to any modern workplace.
Through Effective Problem Solving and Decision Making, you’ll learn how to develop the critical thinking skills needed in today’s workforce to approach individual and organizational problems. With this online course you’ll also gain confidence in assessing problems accurately, evaluating alternative solutions and anticipating likely risks.
With many employees working in collaborative roles, it’s important to know how to work effectively as part of a team. While good communication is certainly one aspect of this, teamwork is also about respecting the needs and contributions of other workers in your team and focusing on the best result for the group.
Positive working relationships are essential for any successful collaboration, with soft skills playing a vital part in delivering team outcomes. It doesn’t matter how creative or innovative your ideas are – without the ability to work well with others they might never get off the ground.
Team Working Excellence will teach you about the four key skills needed to maximise your team working performance. Find out what makes some people better team players than others and how you can start building better working relationships.
Finally, let’s look at the importance of building resilience in the workplace. Why is this quality so valued by employers? Being resilient helps workers to adapt to changes in the workplace, respond well to challenges and bounce back after an adversity. This makes it a very sought-after skill in employees, showing you to be adaptable, flexible and reliable under pressure.
Even if you're not a naturally resilient person, you can learn to develop a more resilient mind-set. One of the best ways to improve your resilience is to learn how to effectively manage stress, which can make a huge impact on all aspects of your life, including work. Employees who know how to manage their own stress levels are far more resilient and at much lower risk of burning out at work.
If you’re interested in learning more about managing stressors at work, enroll in this online Stress Reduction and Wellness course. With this, you’ll learn to identify stress, establishing what situations, thoughts or feelings stress you out. You can then find ways to reduce this stress using mindfulness meditation techniques. You’ll also become more aware of your thinking patterns, allowing you to increase your resilience to work stressors, achieving greater calm in the workplace, as well as your personal life.
Regardless of your job description or the industry you work in, taking the time to develop your soft skills also shows initiative and drive. As well as improving your skill set, you’ll be showing an ability to learn new skills and a willingness to advance your career – qualities that are also highly valued by many employers and organizations.