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3 Soft Skills to Consider for Improved Employee Return on Investment

Lynette Reed
Updated Sep 01, 2022

See how these behaviors boost productivity and profits.

Output and skills play the primary role in measuring the value of your employees, but there are soft skills that help increase the return on investment of your team. Think about the last time you went out to eat and the food was great, but the service was slow and scattered. Your perspective of the restaurant was influenced by the poor service. Poor service translates into weak soft skills. Fractures in soft skills reduce the return on investment of your employees.

These fractures cause breakdowns in communication, waste time and hinder engagement. They take time away from the productivity of the company. When soft skills are not considered as a part of your return on investment, you may be missing a critical element in the success of your organization.

Reinforcing and monitoring soft skill behaviors within the workplace supports a robust and cohesive environment that shows an increase in productivity, which ultimately increases your profits.

Here are three soft skills to consider for improved employee return on investment:

1. Supporting corporate culture

Many companies have words to identify behaviors that establish who they want to be as an organization. These are actionable behaviors that the employees can control, such as “friendly,” “helpful” and “efficient.” These words also identify the behaviors that create a corporate culture and connect employees. They are words that your employees use to authenticate your company. Make sure to define these words, since individuals may have a different picture of what it means to be friendly or helpful.

Companies with a durable set of words to determine the behavior of the company offer employees a strong sense of identity. You can identify potential fractures within the organizational design by gauging how well an employee’s behaviors match the words that define your company’s culture. If the company words are “helpful,” “efficient” and “friendly,” then employees can be measured by how well the behavior supports the culture. Terms such as “happy” would not work, as you cannot always control whether you are happy.

Take time to create a resilient culture with these behavior words so that your employees have a reliable measure of authenticity. Authentic companies minimize employee behaviors that are not in keeping with the culture. Supporting corporate culture reduces time spent on behaviors that distract from the underlying framework of the organization and encourages skillful and engaged employees.

2. Matching words and actions

The No. 1 way to build trust in a company is to make sure that words and actions match. When promises are made and not fulfilled, then fractures occur and break trust. There is a disconnect when employees say that they are part of the team but then don’t embrace the words of the culture. Employees who say they will get the work done on Monday but don’t turn the work in until Tuesday cause microfractures that, over time, weaken the company.

You offer your company cohesion by matching words and action. Employees are accountable for their commitments to both the company culture and the work. Breaks in cohesion can occur both internally and external to the organization. Make sure that your employees’ words match actions when working with other team members and your customers. Building trust in your company creates a more resilient workplace that can better withstand challenges and conflicts.

3. Managing personal judgments

Employees find it easy to get distracted by daily beliefs about how things should work. When employees become consumed with rearranging work to match personal beliefs, then frustration occurs with the employee. For instance, if one employee believes that another employee is not doing work correctly, then they may become so distracted by the other employee that they lose focus on their personal work goals. Employees often find it easy to get sidetracked with problems or to lay blame for problems. The purpose of the work is to stay focused on the goals and to work in a way that supports the corporate culture.

Judgment takes time and energy away from the company. Think about how many hours employees spend in a week talking about how badly someone did their work, or how someone was wrong for doing work a certain way. Keep employees focused on the work by reminding them that there is no good or bad, or wrong or right. Concentrate on overcoming challenges, and keep work moving in a forward momentum. Remind employees to find solutions and make plans to achieve goals even when difficulties occur or work is not correctly completed.

Fractures created by employees who struggle with these soft skills are time-consuming, disruptive, and distracting to your product and your goals. When you manage and maintain these soft skills, you offer your employees a durable framework that increases the return on investment for you and your organization.

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Lynette Reed
Writer, researcher, and facilitator with an emphasis on human potential for personal and organizational development. Dr. Reed has mentored people from a variety of organizations to include businesses, not for profit organizations, schools, allied health agencies, Chambers of Commerce, governmental entities, and churches. She has taught courses on world religion and world cultures and also continuing education courses approved by the American Planning Association for ethics, HRCI, and team building/leadership training sessions approved by the Texas Education Agency for continuing education of teachers, superintendents, and school board members. Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback titled, Fixing the Problem, Making changes in how you deal with challenges, as well as some book contributions, articles, and guest radio appearances, and a series of children's books with Abingdon Press. She is also a founder and board member of the Institute for Soul-Centered Leadership at Seton Cove. Her academic background includes a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders.