7 ways to measure the ROI of soft skills learning initiatives
Although many L&D professionals know and argue that businesses cannot afford not to invest in the soft skills development of their employees, budgets, especially surrounding soft skills learning initiatives, are all too often the first to be cut. This lack of funding is frequently caused by the difficulty of proving an ROI of soft skills versus hard or technical skills.
Here are some examples of areas you can measure to prove just how impactful soft skills are to a business.
Measure engagement rates
In order to measure the impact of learning, L&D professionals should look to a platform that tracks learners’ usage and engagement rates. If a platform or specific content is being used and consumed regularly, it is a good sign that employees are benefiting from the company’s soft skills training. If engagement rates are low, it could be a sign that the platform is not easy to use, or the content itself is not engaging. For the most impactful learning to take place and for the most positive results to show budget holders, L&D professionals should learn from engagement rates and adjust offerings accordingly.
Interview or survey your employees
In the same way that a learning platform measures usage and suggests which content users are proactively engaging with, L&D managers doing some qualitative research of their own by interviewing or surveying users is a fantastic way to measure and track the success of a learning initiative. The results are a fantastic tool to present to budget holders.
Track productivity rates
A combination of soft skills such as multitasking, proactivity, organisation, and creative-thinking have a direct and positive impact on productivity rates among the organisations that put employees’ development in focus. Identifying and tracking the success rates of a company’s long- and short-term goals upon implementing soft skills initiatives is a great way to measure ROI.
Measure and compare staff turnover
Employee turnover is one of the highest cost factors of any organisation but it is also an easily measurable factor. Providing employees with opportunities for soft skills development will have a positive impact on retention rates. Linkedin’s 2018 Workplace Learning report suggests that 94% of employees would prolong their stay in an organisation that invests in their career development. Comparing both employee retention upon implementing soft skills training versus before rolling it out is an impactful way to measure an ROI.
Look at the impact on conflict
Some of the most beneficial soft skills to develop both in terms of an individual’s personal and professional life are conflict resolution and creative problem-solving. Providing employees with the right tools to improve their skills in these areas will lead to decreased workplace friction, increased teamwork, and better communication.
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Survey customer satisfaction
When it comes down to the most important factor for business success, high customer satisfaction cannot be beaten. Because relationships with customers and clients are fostered by connection and communication with an organisation’s employees, those with strong interpersonal skills will lead the company towards increased customer service and higher client satisfaction. A fantastic way to measure the level of customer satisfaction is by requesting that clients complete a survey or rate their level of customer service and present the findings to budget holders.
Measure success with process optimisation
When successful teamwork, great communication, and strong time-management skills become a company’s norm, processes are optimised, and business goals are completed more effectively and efficiently. Looking at the time it takes from a project’s beginning to its point of completion is a useful and tangible way to present an ROI.
Investing in the development of employees’ soft skills will not only affect the areas mentioned in this article but will have a profound impact on every part of a business. Tracking and measuring that impact and presenting the results will show budget holders just how crucial soft skills are and will be to the success of the entire organisation.