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Why Your Company Needs to Invest in Soft Skills Training

Artificial intelligence is making its way into the workplace, and it's already beginning to perform some skills better than humans. AI can swiftly calculate big numbers, analyze data—and recently, Alibaba's AI beat a human score on a reading comprehension test.

The common fear is that these AI will eliminate jobs. But rather than replace workers, researchers suggest the rise of AI will likely create more jobs. These new roles will deemphasize administrative tasks that AI can master, and instead center around uniquely human skills like empathy and critical thinking.

That means companies need to provide soft skills training opportunities in order to promote the success of both their individual employees and the business as a whole.

Here are three reasons why soft skills training matters now:

1. There is a lack of soft skills in the modern workforce

According to LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report, soft skills are the number one skills gap in today's workforce—with 89 percent of executives reporting that it's difficult to find people with soft skills. One reason for the gap? It's typically easier to teach hard skills than soft skills, and soft skills development isn't usually provided as formal training programs. Plus, it's easier to hire for technical skills than soft skills because it's easier to measure the impact of the former: While hiring a marketing automation expert may result in a better bottom line the following quarter, you may not be able to show how effective communication impacts revenue.

But if this skills gap persists, it will hamper businesses—already, 65 percent of CEOs predict that people skills are going to have a strong impact on their businesses over the next several years.

2. Technology will continue to take over administrative tasks

AI and other emerging technology is are already starting to take on more of the daily workload—and that is only going to grow as more companies make investments in these tools. In 2018, for example, the global AI spend will reach nearly $8 billion; by 2022, spending on cognitive and AI systems is expected to jump to $77.6 billion.

But as these machines take over administrative, often-tedious tasks that humans used to have to complete, they are freeing up time for employees. Recruiters who don't have to sift through thousands of resumes are empowered to spend more time assessing the top candidates, for example. Soft skills and training and development will help ensure employees are prepared to step into these roles that require strong soft skills to be successful.

3. Employees want to learn soft skills

Research shows employees are most interested in learning soft skills development: In a survey of more than 31 million Cornerstone Learning Platform users across the globe, soft skills courses reign supreme.

Some of the top topic areas where learners spend their soft skills training hours include:
 
  • General Soft Skills like critical thinking, decision-making, presentation skills, strategic thinking and time management.
  • Leadership & Management, with an emphasis on first-time manager skills.
  • Communication & Teamwork skills, such as interpersonal communication and listening skills.
  • Business Acumen, specifically business writing.
  • Personal Development, including skills like managing your career and work/life balance.
  • Customer Experience classes around listening to customers and enhancing customer experience.
  • Creativity & Innovation to learn about generating creative ideas in the workplace.
  • Diversity & Inclusion, such as diversity on the job and how culture impacts communication.
  • Office Productivity, including email etiquette skills.
Giving employees access to these soft skills courses and more will help them on their career paths and benefit your company.

Finding a soft skills training platform for your organization

Using the right soft skills training platform is key to learning success. Cornerstone is now offering Content Anytime Essentials, a new content subscription service that equips employees with the essential soft skills training they need now and in the future. It allows business leaders to quickly deliver hundreds of soft skills courses from a variety of vendors across the organization.

Interested in learning more? Visit Cornerstone's Learning Suite today.