It’s the beginning of a new year, and you know what that means: crowded gyms and New Year’s resolutions. As far as goals go, most resolutions are of the personal variety. But what about the goals your company has for the next year? Do you give the same attention and effort to corporate resolutions?
For 2017, we propose our own resolution: be better at soft skills. They’re the ones that are harder to teach, demonstrate, and measure. After all, it’s easy to grade someone on sales but harder to qualify their people skills. By offering employees the opportunity to learn and practice their soft skills, you’ll directly contribute to the goals for growth and leadership you’ve set for your company this year.
Focus on these four areas and we promise 2017 will be your best year yet.
If you’re thinking about a new learning project for 2017, contact us here.
1. User Experience
When you hear the term “user experience,” it’s most often used to describe software–the way it feels; the ease of use; overall user satisfaction. But user experience can be applied to almost every area of the corporate landscape, from accounting to sales, from customer onboarding to employee training. User experience means thinking about how the end user will use something–anything–created by the employee.
Remember, user experience means thinking about the end user, whomever that might be. Employees need to stop thinking of user experience as just a software term for customers and start thinking about how their ideas, processes, and products affect those they’re designed to benefit.
2. Startup Mentality
Startups are often hailed as the gold standard for lean and mean business. It’s a result of pure necessity: Most startups have little capital to start and must work hard, work fast, and work smart to stay afloat.
The clearly innovative and intelligent ways to work usually get lost among employees when companies begin to grow. What was once lean and mean can become sluggish and overblown, thanks to cumbersome protocol and poor leadership.
By teaching employees to think more like startups (and training your managers and leaders to do the same), you can save time and reap the benefits of an agile workforce. Employees need to be taught to speak up, stop being timid, and fail fast on their way to coming up with better solutions. It’s a total mind shift for larger companies, but one well worth the effort.
If 2016 was the year of the entrepreneur, we think 2017 will be the year of the intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs are those that never wait around to be asked; they’re on the front lines and volunteering for an opportunity on a daily basis. Intrapreneurs see daily woes as challenges for innovations and want to make the organization better for everyone involved.
Teaching employees to function as intrapreneurs means creating an environment where collaboration is a welcome event. Employees should feel comfortable and supported when coming forward with ideas and feel appreciated and recognized when they’re able to make a difference.
Personability is probably one of the more recognized soft skills–and one of the hardest to teach. But the way employees relate to and interact with others has a huge bearing on the state of your business, so it’s a soft skill worth your time. Some might believe that the way someone connects–or doesn’t connect–with is inherent to them, but simulations and scenarios can help anyone learn skills like interpreting a tone of voice, understanding context, and reading body language.
You probably have a lot of goals for your business in 2017, but it shouldn’t be a one-man show. Bringing corporate employees in on those resolutions and focusing on something other than the same old compliance training can help catapult you into a banner year.