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Soft skills development not on half of employers radars

Stephen Humphreys, Country Director UK and Ireland - GoodHabitz

Research conducted by  GoodHabitz, verifies the strong link between employees being offered soft skills learning and development opportunities and employee satisfaction and motivation. Yet many UK employers are not providing any of these learning at work opportunities.

As part of the Trend Report, working age adults in the UK were asked about their own learning at work experiences and how much they valued being offered personal development opportunities.

The results were very clear – 80% think that developing soft skills like communication skills, productivity, leadership and teamworking are very important. Those who had completed a soft skills training course in the last 12 months were much more satisfied with their employer, more motivated and said they enjoyed their jobs significantly more. They also said it improved their performance, with 63% of completers saying it had a positive effect on their ability to succeed at work.

However, the results showed that almost half of employees in the study had not been offered a chance to develop soft skills. 45% had not done one of more soft skills training courses in the past year. This reflects other industry research which found that over 40% of workers had not been offered any learning opportunities during a 12-month period.

Organisational psychologists have highlighted the importance of employees feeling ‘invested in’ and how this correlates with levels of engagement and employee retention. A recent study by Deloitte also found that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisations.

Entrepreneur and employee engagement expert, Glenn Elliot says, “Some of the attributes of engagement – going the extra mile, fostering a good working environment, being motivated and feeling positive, are all connected to personal development opportunities. It makes complete sense because skills like people management, communication, relationship building and leadership are much harder to develop than technical skills, so when a company invests in its workforce and helps them with the hard stuff, you will see an improvement in motivation and employee engagement.”

The survey results showed that employees who attended one or more soft skill training courses in the past year were more satisfied with their employer (7.7 out of 10) than those who didn’t (7.3 out of 10). They are more motivated, scoring 7.9 vs 7.6) and they enjoy their job more (4.1 vs 3.9) out of 5.

Country Director UK and Ireland at GoodHabitz, Stephen Humphreys says “We see the link between learning and engagement all the time that levels of engagement and retention increase after they begin offering soft skills learning. Employee engagement is actually very important metric for determining the effectiveness of an L&D programme.”

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