Workplace productivity is influenced by much more than just your employees’ technical skill sets. A range of soft skills have been shown to impact the productivity of an office, so developing these skills should be prioritized. In fact, research has indicated that improving the soft skills of even a few of your employees can have notable effects on the efforts of your entire team.
According to Phys.Org, a study conducted at the University of York has shown that when a high-performing employee leaves a company, “the remaining workers tended to 'slip backwards'... suggesting that the productivity effect from co-workers is more closely aligned with peer-pressure, which lessens when a good workers leaves.” So, valued, high-performing employees that have a solid set of soft skills could be improving their co-workers’ efficiency levels and the quality of their work. Employing people with excellent soft skills pushes others to match their efforts and their skill level. This reason alone illustrates the importance of honing your employees’ soft skills.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important soft skills you can encourage your employees to develop, as these skills could promote a high rate of productivity across multiple teams.
In an office setting, having solid communication skills is key for both verbal interactions and written correspondence. Employees who have clearly and succinctly relay messages to internal departments or clients can reduce the amount of time spent on unnecessary or time consuming clarifications. Clear communication is also an essential skill for successful senior management teams—including facilities managers—with studies showing that employees who exhibit high levels of productivity receive the most effective communication from their superiors.
Easily one of the most underrated soft skills, problem solving is an valuable employee attribute. Staff who excel at problem solving exhibit highly attuned research and analytical skills, which helps make employees self-sufficient and able to tackle difficult issues independently.
To find out if your employees need to improve their problem solving skills, consider conducting surveys or interviews that test their comfort and capabilities with hypothetical situations. These surveys can help you understand how they would navigate those situations and the insights you'll gain can help you pinpoint each department's strengths and weaknesses.
Overwhelming workloads are a common theme in most offices around the world, meaning that time management is one of the most important soft skills to cultivate in a workplace. While time management is a skill that all professionals need to learn, there are ways to enhance this soft skill for employees who have different levels of mastery of it.
Firstly, it’s important to provide employees with the tools and technology that will help them efficiently manage their time.
Secondly, communication also plays a big role in productive time management, with goals and deadlines being clearly communicated in order to ensure they are managed effectively. To help your employees improve their time management skills, FMs can speak with employees to better understand the kinds of work that they're doing, then supply software that allows for easy prioritization of tasks, or training sessions to manage those projects.
Are your employees involved in difficult decision-making processes? Allowing employees to participate in high-level decision making from time to time can heighten their sense of investment in the company’s overall success. By increasing an employee’s responsibility and involvement in important outcomes, they have higher stakes in the results and are therefore more likely to increase their efforts to ensure success. Simply allowing employees the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes can also improve employee satisfaction, morale and teamwork.
For recruiters looking to hire new employees or managers looking to invest in developing employees’ talents, it’s important to weigh soft and hard skills equally. Soft skills are especially hard-hitting when it comes to building productive teams, giving your company an edge over competitors and improving your overall return on investment in each employee.
Article by Nick Mason, OfficeSpace