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Soft Skills Training. The Challenge of Obtaining Management and Participant Buy-In. Are you frustrated by Managers resisting soft skills training?. “I don’t have the time” “It’s only a ‘nice to have” “I can’t see any changes” “We can’t afford it” “Other needs are more urgent”

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soft skills training

Soft Skills Training

The Challenge of Obtaining Management and Participant Buy-In


Are you frustrated by Managers

resisting soft skills training?

“I don’t have the time”

“It’s only a ‘nice to have”

“I can’t see any changes”

“We can’t afford it”

“Other needs are more urgent”

“I can’t spare them for that long”

how to gain buy in for soft skills training

How To Gain Buy-in for Soft Skills Training

What core non-technical skills do you need?

How do you get management support?

How do you ensure return on your investment?

what are the challenges
What are the Challenges?
  • Lack of management buy-in
  • Difficulty in evaluating effectiveness
  • Dislocated from the business
  • Cynical participants
how to make soft skills training successful
How to Make Soft Skills Training Successful
  • Relate it to your customers’ needs
  • Link it to business requirements
demands on training community
Demands on Training Community
  • Knowledge about key business drivers
  • Able to talk costs and benefits
  • Understand process of strategy development
  • Able to translate requirements into practical action
1 identifying non technical skills who are our customers
1. Identifying non-technical skillsWho are our Customers?
  • The Company
  • Managers - of units, divisions or departments
  • Individuals
priority customer 1 the company
Priority Customer 1:The Company
  • Organisational strategy
    • Culture Challenges
    • Vision and objectives Standards
  • Organisational Effectiveness
    • Core competencies
    • Opinion Surveys
    • Succession Planning and Career Development
    • Re-engineering
how to start 7 s framework
How to Start: 7-S Framework









  • Strategic direction
  • Vision statement
  • Key objectives
  • Critical success factors
  • Core competencies
  • Issues with spans of control, reporting relationships, authority
  • Centralisation vs. decentralisation
  • Business unit organisation structures
  • Matrix management
  • Processes
    • Benchmarking
    • Total quality
    • Re-engineering
    • Internal customers
  • Procedures
    • Orientation
  • Systems
    • Technology and Roll out
shared values
Shared Values
  • Organisation Culture
  • Articulation of values
  • Identification of behaviours which demonstrate the values
  • Buy-in and implementation of values
  • Way managers behave:
    • Walk the talk
    • Priorities and focus
    • Leadership style
    • Meeting style
  • Composition and development
  • Qualifications
  • Skills
  • Training
  • Appraisals
  • Succession
  • Core competencies
  • Job profile competencies
  • Assessment centres
  • Development centres
priority customer 2 managers
Priority Customer 2: Managers
  • Department objectives
  • Changes ahead
  • Team issues
  • Internal customer surveys
  • Standards reviews
priority customer 3 individuals
Priority Customer 3: Individuals
  • Appraisals
  • Career Plans
  • Personal Development Plans
  • Assessment and Development Centres
2 how to get management support
2. How to Get Management Support
  • Get a sponsor: your key customer
  • Identify stakeholders: supporters and blockers
  • Use data to substantiate the need
  • Design so that work links are clear
  • Design to fit learner needs
  • Evaluate and publish effectiveness
if management won t talk to you
If Management Won’t Talk to You!
  • If you believe an initiative is important: GET FACTUAL EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR VIEW:
    • focus groups
    • interviews
    • surveys or email questionnaires
    • performance or productivity data
    • relate it to a business objective or to the company’s/department’s effectiveness


3 return on investment evaluation levels
3. Return on Investment: Evaluation Levels


‘Happiness Sheets’

Level 1

Level 2


Level 3


Work application

Level 4



how to help workplace application
How to help workplace application
  • Design application support processes BEFORE launch eg.:

Line Management Auditing standards


Action Plans Learning logs

Learning Sets Mentoring

Resource centres CBT

Self development aids or manuals

level 4 when is it worth the effort
Level 4: When is it worth the effort?
  • When hard data has some face validity
    • eg. Improved sales retention after sales training
    • Team productivity improvements
  • When the link to achieving the company’s objective is not clear
  • When management agree in advance to the evaluation process
your role in selling soft skills
Your Role in selling soft skills
  • Identify priority customer groups
  • Link Soft Skills to Strategy or Effectiveness
  • Use a 7-S framework to establish needs
  • Identify stakeholders: supporters and blockers
  • Use data to justify investment
  • Design application aids at the start
  • Publish evaluation results