Soft skills are people skills
They are personal attributes that allow one to interact and communicate effectively. Unlike hard (technical) skills, they are not simply the knowledge that you can apply to a specific situation once you master them. They are your behaviors and personality traits you exhibit in different circumstances.
We all know that soft skills are important as every job requires a certain level of communication and interaction. From customer-facing teams, developers to C-suites, at all levels, it is vital to interact with others. Accompanied by the growing skills shortage and mismatch due to automation, the aging population and the rise of new industries, soft skills will only become more and more demanding. But why enterprises are so reluctant to inject more capital/resources in soft skills training?
Unlike hard (technical) skills, the measurement of its results is less conspicuous and concrete. Thus it is harder to show the ROI to the budget holder and to justify training cost.
If you are being pitched to a unicorn concept without any concrete support, will you buy it? Voila, you have the answer, and now Uptale, as an enterprise training solution, is here to help you out pitching to your budget holder.
How to make the results as solid as those of hard skills training?
Hard skills such as machine manipulation and marketing campaign management, they are task-specific. You either grasp it or fail it. For this reason, it is easy to calculate the ROI of hard skills. It can be measured tellingly with some clear indexes, such as production time reduced, lower accident rate and shortened training time. Soft skills should be like any kind of skills, trainable and measurable.
All we need is the right indicator.
1. Identify the key activity that will lead to success
Tell me what success means to you (Okay, we are not doing a job interview, chill).
For example, in the case of Human Resource, your current problem is the lack of inter-team communication or recurring conflict between managers and subordinates. Better teamwork and less workplace friction will be what you are envisioning. The key soft skills, in this case, will be communication and problem-solving.
If you are the Customer service manager and would like to reduce complaints and inquires, soft skills such as persuasion, presentation skills, and empathy could be serviceable.
For project management, shorter project delay would be one of the success indicators given that overrunning will significantly increase the project cost in terms of time, resources and money, such as delay penalty. Meeting deadlines, of course, is driven by plenty of factors. For example, the complexities of cooperation, the supply of material and so on, but negotiation skills and time management will help.
(Bonus ROI – The early completion bonus may help pay the training back!)
Once you have identified the nifty soft skills for your future success, we can move on to the KPI setting.
2. Quantify the improvement
To make your soft skills training as measurable as hard skills, KPIs are practical.
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is reaching its key business objectives.
KPIs for soft skills can be customer retention rate, subscription renewal rate, shorten AHT (Average Handle Time), employee engagement, and staff turnover, etc. These are the results that you can obtain throughout time. To measure it, you can use the traditional method such as a happy sheet, customer satisfaction survey, and evaluation from the trainer. As mentioned, these kinds of KPIs can be obtained usually only in the long run and required a combination of data to calculate the business impact.
With Uptale’s all-in-one VR platform, you can do it expeditiously and objectively in an immersive way – insert questionnaires within the VR training and evaluate the KPIs with powerful analytics.
How exactly can soft skills be measured?
By combining Artificial Intelligence and Uptale’s robust algorithms, we can measure soft skills in the same way as hard skills.
For instance, the confidence level of a speaker can be measured by evaluating the starring time on the interlocutors (we are not talking about the time on screen alright?) and the number of filling words applied.
Persuasion and presentation skills enhancement can be measured by the improvement of discourse understandability, vocabulary selection, and body gesture.
We can also measure empathy elevation by comparing the positive answers selected and the changes in vocabulary selection.
The feedback you have collected from the training will be translated into insightful and graphical analytics. Besides comparing the pre-training and post-training scores, learning progress, engagement rate and behavioral feedback, such as voice analysis and eye-tracking are all available at the same spot.
Voice analytics such as speech grade level, discourse understandability, speech rate, and word usage, are particularly powerful for soft skills training. They are often seen as the reasons why soft skills are hard to be evaluated due to their nature of complexity.
With these, you will be able to measure and display knowledge transfer and performance improvement in a systematic and data-driven way. Immediate learning and behavioral results can be evaluated instantly. Now you will be able to convert benefits to monetary value and calculate the direct ROI of your VR soft skills training 🙂
Training is all about the right kind of practice and monitoring your progress along the way. The feedback is not only useful for the trainer, but it also empowers the learners for self-evaluation.
3. Increase Motivation
People are what makes the solution work.
One of the benefits of VR training is that learners can access the module anytime, anywhere with any device. Learners are no longer required to be trained in a specific place and at a specific time. They can get themselves level-up without limits. Combining with gamification elements and the stress-free training environment, learners will be more engaged and motivated. VR allows them to practice repeatedly in a fun way, better learning outcomes are expected to be achieved.
Besides, replay and refresher training can be implemented more cost-effectively. At the end of the day, the goal of training is knowledge retention and application, right? Achieving them will increase dramatically your ROI as positive business impacts will be brought.
4. Increase the shelf-life of your training content
There is no perfect eternal recipe in the world of training. To increase your ROI, the shelf life of your training content should be taken into account. Whenever there is an update of policy, procedure or trend, your training will need to be updated.
Using digital training like VR, you can update and amend the content with a few clicks. This can greatly save your content creators’ and trainers’ time on re-designing a new training program. Time to multiply the numerator of your ROI formula by 2 (at least).
The best way to increase your ROI is to maximize usage effectively and extensively.
After quantifying the benefits of your perfect training, scale it on a global scale. Modification is needed due to differences in culture, skills emphasis, and so on. Modifying it based on what did not work and your employee feedback is crucial, too.
When your VR training is all based on cloud, scaling is possible without geographical limitations. The benefit of the training spend will be multiplied (again!). A defendable ROI can be achieved effortlessly.
VR allows you to save money in the long run, you can now easily include it in your company’s long term training strategy.
Soft skills have positive and long term impacts on both the personal and professional development of your employees. We should place our focus equally on both hard skills and soft skills training.
With hybrid skills, your employees will be fully-fledged for all positions and situations as they are 100% competent and adaptable.
Time to refocus on long-term gain.
Contact Uptale now to know more about our effective training solution.