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soft skills at workplace

Research reveals benefits of soft skills training in workplace development

March 30, 2024

Recent research conducted by Wiley indicates that soft skills training can significantly enhance job performance and retention, yet numerous organizations are overlooking its benefits.

The latest Wiley Workplace Intelligence report, titled “Soft Skills, Big Impact: Elevating Workplace Satisfaction,” reveals that while 74% of respondents stated that their organization offers professional development opportunities, only 35% reported access to soft skills training. Additionally, only half of the respondents (49%) indicated that their employer provides learning and development opportunities beyond mandatory training.

The data underscores the value of soft skills training, with 63% of those who received such training affirming its positive impact on their performance. Moreover, 48% of respondents noted that their training positively influenced their professional growth. Notably, access to professional development opportunities emerged as a key factor influencing retention, particularly among individual contributors and managers.

Dr. Mark Scullard, senior director of product innovation at Wiley, emphasized the importance of soft skills in fostering effective communication, collaboration, and adaptability in the workplace. Neglecting investment in these areas, he warned, could impede employee growth, disrupt team dynamics, and limit organizational success in a dynamic business environment.

Soft skills encompass various interpersonal competencies, including communication, listening, empathy, teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and leadership.

Respondents indicated that soft skills training is delivered through various channels, including in-person sessions (28%), virtual instruction (20%), self-directed online modules (20%), and hybrid approaches combining in-person and virtual elements (30%). In-person training received the highest ratings from participants.

Despite access to learning opportunities, the research suggests that employees dedicate limited time to training, with the majority (60%) spending two hours or less per month on professional development activities.

Also read: 5 must-have soft skills for the 21st century workplace

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