Graduates these days are the most technologically advanced generation the world has ever seen because they were born and nurtured in the Information Age. As a result, STEM-related jobs are appealing to this expanding segment of the workforce. Many boast a CV of strong technical abilities, but due to having grown up with digital devices, they lack soft skills.
Young professionals need soft skills to sharpen their hard skills, and the importance of this is often underestimated.
Soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and empathy cannot be learned on a digital device. But they can be learned in the workplace. Employers can easily help graduates develop these crucial skills in the workplace.
Employers can reap the benefits of graduates’ tech-savvy skills by investing in the development of these skills among graduate employees is essential to the future success of businesses.
The Benefits of Developing Soft Skills
Soft skills bring tremendous benefits to an organisation and developing them is invaluable. Some of the benefits include:
Increased efficiency and productivity: A joint study from Boston College, Harvard, and the University of Michigan suggested that communication and problem-solving training can increase productivity and employee retention by twelve percent and provide a two-hundred and fifety percent return on investment (ROI) for the business. Employees will collaborate more successfully by developing their communication and collaboration skills. This also helps to avoid misunderstandings, disagreements, and mistakes that have a negative impact on performance and productivity.
Stronger interpersonal and professional relationships: Employees with strong emotional intelligence are able to identify and manage both their own and others' emotions. They have the ability to empathise, establish rapport with others, encourage others, and motivate themselves.
Improved retention rates: sixty-three percent of employees admitted that they would accept a job at a company that offered training opportunities. Businesses will save on recruiting costs, retain employees, and foster a culture of ongoing learning and development by investing in the development of soft skills.
Company growth: Investing in the soft skill development of employees will result in a more engaged workforce, which boosts profitability and growth. According to studies, businesses with highly engaged staff outperform those without them in terms of earnings per share and growth trend by one-hundred and forty-seven percent and ninety percent, respectively.
More innovative solutions: A study found that improving soft skills like creativity and problem-solving can boost an individual's innovativeness. Businesses that prioritise innovation have 2.5 times higher profit margins and 2.6 times higher revenue growth than those that do not, emphasising the value of promoting an innovative culture through the development of soft skills.
How to invest in developing graduates’ soft skills
Assessment and feedback: Start by assessing the current skill levels of your employees. This can be done through self-assessment, peer evaluation, or even formal assessments. Collect feedback from managers, colleagues, and clients to get a comprehensive view of each employee's soft skills strengths and areas for improvement.
Training and workshops: Provide regular training sessions and workshops focused on developing soft skills. Bring in external trainers or use internal experts to conduct these sessions. Make sure the training is interactive, practical, and tailored to your employees' needs.
Online resources: Offer access to online resources that employees can use to develop their soft skills at their own pace. There are various platforms offering courses on communication, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and other soft skills.
Mentoring and coaching: Pair employees with mentors who can provide guidance and feedback on their soft skills development. This personalised approach can be very effective in fostering growth and connectiveness.
Feedback mechanisms: Establish a culture of constructive feedback. Encourage managers and colleagues to provide feedback to each other on soft skills improvement. Regular performance reviews can include discussions about soft skills progress.
Lead by example: Leadership and management must exhibit the soft skills they want to see in employees. When leaders demonstrate effective communication, empathy, and teamwork, it sets a positive example for the entire organisation.
Feedback surveys: Conduct anonymous surveys to gauge employee perceptions of the company's efforts in developing soft skills. This can provide insights into the effectiveness of your strategies and areas for improvement.
Cultural integration: Weave the importance of soft skills into your company's culture and values. This reinforces the idea that these skills are not just for professional growth but are also fundamental to the organisation's success.
At RecruitAGraduate, we cannot emphasise enough the value of soft skills in graduate growth and development. While hard skills are essential, it's the soft skills that really distinguish employees and help them succeed at work, which in turn helps the business perform.