8 Ways Soft Skills Training Fosters Innovation
Soft skills training fosters innovation. Incorporating soft skills training into employees’ professional development training programs not only equips them with the essential skills to innovate but also fosters a culture of innovation within the company.
Now more than ever companies must continually innovate, according to McKinsey research. A 2023 survey found a near-record-high level of innovation importance: 79% of companies ranked innovation among their top three priorities, up from 75% in 2022.
What are Soft Skills?
Don’t confuse hard skills with soft skills. Hard skills, also called technical skills, are specific abilities, capabilities and skill sets that a person possesses and demonstrates in a measured way.
Soft skills are the competencies that allow employees to interact effectively and productively with others no matter their role or environment. Soft skills also reflect how well employees are able to identify and address problems. These critical skills include behaviors, personality traits, and work habits such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
Soft skills play a critical role in personal and long-term professional success - 75% depends upon soft skill mastery according to Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are more difficult to learn because of their innate nature. Soft skills training can improve work performance and productivity while fostering new skills and strong relationships. This leads to the evolution of innovative teams.
What is a Company Culture of Innovation?
A culture of innovation begins with the leadership team actively supporting and promoting innovation. They set the tone for an innovative culture and lead by example. Leaders encourage and reward creative thinking, experimentation, and the development of new ideas. A culture of innovation is characterized by a commitment to continual improvement, risk-taking, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. Innovation within the company setting often includes the introduction and implementation of new products, services, processes, and even business models.
The company invests in the growth and development of its employees, ensuring they have the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to innovate. A company culture of innovation tends to lead to more satisfied employees, greater productivity, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
8 Ways Soft Skills Training Fosters Innovation
Soft skills training plays a crucial role in fostering innovators in a variety of ways. Here's how to see the value of soft skills training:
1. Refines communication skills. Innovation requires clear, concise, and persuasive communication to share innovative ideas, win support, and lead teams to implement. Communication is at the heart of soft skills training.
Effective communication demands active listening, high levels of comprehension, and reading social cues and body language. These are all extremely important interpersonal skills. Communication training teaches employees how to articulate their innovative ideas effectively to a diverse audience by adjusting their communication style. Training also includes how to negotiate, and influence decisions.
2. Develops problem-solving techniques. Innovators must approach problems from different perspectives, think critically, make decisions, and implement solutions.
The ability to effectively solve problems is a key soft skill innovators must have to be successful. Problem-solving training teaches techniques on how to go about solving problems from the onset to implementation. This means learning how to utilize both inside- and outside-the-box thinking techniques as well as how to address creative constraints.
3. Spurs creativity and critical thinking. Encouraging creative thinking can stimulate the creation of novel ideas. On the other hand, critical thinking allows employees to evaluate their ideas and those of other team members objectively. This leads to improvements and the implementation of innovative solutions.
Innovation and creativity go hand in hand. Creativity training teaches how to explore new or forgotten ways to tap into one’s curious and creative self. It teaches how to come up with unique new ideas and easily make connections among previously unrelated notions. Critical thinking training teaches how to view a situation objection, observe, study different approaches, and come up with the best possible solution.
4. Instills collaboration and teamwork. Innovation often requires team effort. People skills, like understanding how to work with others, managing conflict, and contributing to a collaborative environment makes the innovation process more effective.
Training in skills such as collaboration and conflict resolution helps to build more innovative teams. Courses teach ways to effectively collaborate and the importance of open communication and teamwork to drive success. Other training such as managing stress and giving and receiving feedback are also beneficial.
5. Inspires flexibility and adaptability. The ability to adapt to new situations and challenges is crucial for innovation. Change is a constant in innovative environments, and individuals need to be flexible and able to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty.
Training in flexibility and adaptability teaches employees how to respond and adapt positively to changes, threats, and challenges. Learning how to keep focused despite distractions from workplace changes is critical.
6. Fosters resilience and grit. Innovation often involves failure and setbacks. Resilience, or the ability to bounce back from adversity, and grit, or the ability to persevere in the face of obstacles, are crucial for sticking with innovative projects until they come to fruition.
Resilience training aids in having the ability to bounce back in situations that do not go as planned. Obstacles and failures are stressful, and courses can teach employees how to manage stress while developing and strengthening their resilience. Employees also learn how to move forward from mistakes to find success.
7. Cultivates emotional intelligence. The ability to understand and manage one's own emotions, and empathize with the emotions of others, can improve collaborative efforts, and foster an environment in which creativity and innovation thrive.
Courses teach employees how to develop their self-awareness and learn what motivates them. Learning also includes understanding how emotions affect their work, how to measure emotional intelligence, and develop empathy for others.
8. Improves leadership skills. Effective business leaders inspire others, set a positive example, and help drive the implementation of innovative ideas.
Besides strategic thinking and decision-making skills, leaders must have the ability to motivate and engage team members. Leadership training teaches how to empower teams, so they have the confidence to make decisions and manage projects with little supervision.
HSI Can Help!
Let soft skill training create not only a culture of continuous learning but a culture of innovation. Training helps employees across the company approach their work with a growth mindset. Providing employees with continuous, bite-size learning at all career stages creates a more effective learning environment and a high-performing workforce with innovative thinkers! Here is just a sampling of some of HSI’s soft skill video-based training reflecting the necessary skills discussed.
Want to learn more about innovation? HSI offers the following courses:
- Innovation Basics
- Innovating Outside the Box
- Innovating Inside the Box
- Creative Constraints
Many of HSI’s clients open their HSI video-based training library to their employees for self-directed learning. Employees can choose off-the-shelf training video courses best suited to their unique needs. Request a free trial of our HSI LMS.