Many candidates or employees have heard the line, “You’re not the right fit for the position,” from hiring managers. This translates into skills gap of the workforce. The Aberdeen Group, a fact based research company, found the skills gap is perceived as widest in these areas:
41 percent critical thinking/problem-solving
39 percent in job-related technical skills
35 percent in professionalism/work ethic
30 percent in leadership
27 percent in adaptability/managing multiple priorities
It can be hard to teach these qualities, but it’s not impossible. E Learning can be implemented to assist in identifying and filling the skills gap in your organization. Soft skills training is one method used to help alleviate the skills gap for current and new employees.
Train for soft skills, like critical thinking. Here’s how:
- Ask a lot of questions — as Socrates brilliantly taught us with the Socratic method, the best way to get people thinking is by asking questions. Get your employees’ wheels turning by asking questions, such as “What would happen if we did this instead?” or “Who would this result impact?” You’ll be able to identify strong critical thinking habits if they’re persistent in finding solutions without getting frustrated, able to apply them to their everyday work, and are good learners—all of these qualities can be rewarded with increased responsibility and decision-making power. It’s not just about finding critical thinkers, questioning is also a great way to exercise critical thinking and encourage employees to become more self-reliant.
- Simulate scenarios — practice “what if” situations. For example, set up a partner activity where one employee plays a client or vendor with a troublesome request (e.g. an invoice was mishandled by a third party) while the other employee talks them through how they would handle it. You can also test employees on how they would solve scenarios in an e-learning course by presenting a real-life situation that requires open-ended responses for a solution.
- Discuss and debate — get a group involved by having the team talk through “what ifs” or debating different solutions to a problem. This teaches them communication skills, leadership, professionalism, and problem-solving.
- Encourage self-reflection — break down your own thinking process to teach employees to evaluate their thought processes. When they come up with solutions to problems, encourage them to write down their thought process and always answer, “why?” Who knows, you might find your next team philosopher by uncovering hidden strengths.