Traditional skills programmes can’t be applied to everyone within a workforce as they more often than not are very job specific. In years gone by, one gained the skills necessary to complete ones work through on-the-job training. People Skills (Soft Skills) were not seen as essential to getting the job done. Although this has advanced and more and more Soft Skills programmes have entered the corporate market, too many of these rely heavily on theoretical content and therefore cannot be successfully applied to one’s immediate situation.

What we need in today’s workplace is Soft Skills programmes that are underpinned by the concept of Emotional Intelligence – something everyone needs in order to survive and thrive in today’s workplace regardless of position. Programmes that not only equip you for your job but also for your life at home, your interaction with your friends and family, as well as your colleagues. It is essential that the content of these programmes be applicable to ‘outside’ life in order to gain interest and participation in them. Gone are the days of entering a company at a young age and climbing the corporate ladder within it until retirement. The attitude out there is that one cannot rely on the company to look after you; you have to look after yourself. In other words, the chances of leaving a job due to being retrenched, getting bored or just looking for something new and different are much higher in today’s business environment.

Therefore, the Soft Skills training programmes brought into an organisation need to be relevant. Yes, relevant to the job at hand but also to life. These programmes need to be developed with a large focus on Emotional Intelligence. They need to answer the question that all delegates will ask themselves before they even walk into the room: How is this going to benefit me? And by me we don’t just mean their jobs! In order to gain buy-in from delegates, they need to be able to relate the content at hand back to their personal lives.
For example an Assertiveness Programme needs to focus on the workplace environment and help people to better handle their interactions during difficult conversations with colleagues, but it also needs to help people better interact with their children, husbands and wives and of course that friend that everyone has out of obligation!

We’ve all heard the saying that “it’s not what you know but who you know”. In today’s times, this has never been more true. In a world characterised by cost-cutting, down-sizing and budget revamps, relationships have never been more important. Colleagues’ interactions are tested at the best of times and in tough times really need to be worked at in order to stay pleasant and productive. Training programmes that help people to be better, more effective people rather than more effective employees is really what will hold the fabric of your organisation together.

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