- Soft skills training is the No. 1 priority for more than a quarter of HR and L&D professionals in a Talespin study released in March. Nearly half of the 70 respondents ranked it among their top three priorities.
- But lack of time and resources stand in the way of soft skills training, reported nearly 70% of the respondents. Other challenges included difficulty measuring ROI and insufficient or ineffective training tools. Developing tech may make up for this, however. More than half of respondents said they are "actively implementing" e-learning tools, which allow employers "to offer personalized feedback and a safe learning environment."
- Leadership is the most highly sought soft skill; nearly two-thirds of respondents said it was "a key point of focus in 2019."
Soft skills have been in high demand for quite some time. LinkedIn declared soft skills the top training priority of 2018, and many reports since have heralded the demand for and importance of soft skills throughout job levels, job functions and industries.
The infiltration of AI-based technology at work has partly created the demand for soft skills, changing the way most work is performed, an MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab report concluded in October. In doing so, tasks that require soft skills — the tasks that cannot be automated — are increasing in value. And as those tasks gain importance, so do the skills workers use to complete them, the report said.
Perhaps ironically, the same tech that created the need for soft skills is establishing itself as the medium for soft skills training. In fact, Talespin launched a "virtual human technology" tool last year aimed at helping workers learn soft skills such as communication, empathy and leadership in "a safe, repeatable learning environment." Tyson Foods used virtual reality (VR) tools to conduct safety and hazard awareness training. And Walmart has used VR to train associates to cope with crowds ahead of Black Friday.