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Last updated: 20.03.24

How to Sell Soft Skills to Your Finance Director

 

Soft skills are general skills that many employers look for when recruiting and are desirable for most jobs. They're sometimes called transferable skills, employability skills or power skills by employers and organisations. We gain soft skills in life and work, but what if actively encouraging team members to train in these skills can be a profitable investment for your business?

In this article, we give you the tools and insight you need to effectively pitch soft skills to your finance director as a no-brainer investment. Selling soft skills to a finance director requires framing them in a way that highlights their value in achieving organisational goals, enhancing team performance, and ultimately impacting the bottom line.

The benefits of soft skills training can be hard to measure, but new research reveals that it can bring substantial return on investment to employers while also benefiting employees. A study from 2017 states; 'in-factory soft skills training returned roughly 250 percent of investment within eight months of its conclusion.

What are Soft Skills?

Unlike hard skills, which are typically job-specific and teachable, soft skills are more broadly applicable across different roles and industries. Soft skills are essential for success in the workplace and are increasingly valued by employers alongside technical skills. They contribute to effective communication, teamwork, leadership, and overall job performance, ultimately impacting an individual's career advancement and organisational success.

Some common soft skills include:

  • Communication: The ability to convey information clearly and effectively through verbal, written, and non-verbal means. This skill includes active listening, empathy, persuasion and presentation skills.
  • Leadership: The capacity to inspire, motivate, and guide others toward achieving common goals is a very desirable skill to have. Leadership encompasses qualities such as decision-making, delegation, conflict resolution, and the ability to provide constructive feedback.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration and cooperation within a group or team setting to achieve shared objectives is very important in the workplace. To work effectively with diverse teams, in multiple places, on fast-paced projects, everyone has got to feel comfortable and confident about pitching in or collaborating.
  • Problem-solving: Being able to identify, analyse, and resolve challenges or obstacles in a creative and effective manner is paramount to the workplace. Problem-solving skills encompass critical thinking, innovation, decision-making, and adaptability.

Other skills that can be described as soft skills include time management, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and creativity.

How to pitch it to your finance director

So now that you have the information around why soft skills are essential in the workplace, it's time to look at how you can convey their benefits to your business in the long run. We'll help you explain how these indispensable skills have emerged as powerful tools for career enhancement in almost every industry.

Here's a strategic approach when pitching to your finance director:

    • Understand their Perspective: Before pitching soft skills, understand what matters most to the finance director. Are they focused on cost reduction, revenue generation, risk management, or operational efficiency? Once you have this information, you'll be able to tailor your pitch accordingly.

    • Quantify the Impact: Soft skills like communication, leadership, and teamwork may seem intangible, but they have tangible impacts. Use data and examples to demonstrate how improved soft skills can lead to better collaboration, faster decision-making, reduced conflicts, and increased productivity. Intangibles are still important; the key is to make sure they connect to the program. You can learn more about measuring ROI of soft skills here: How To Calculate the ROI of Soft Skills

    • Link to Financial Outcomes: Show how soft skills directly contribute to financial outcomes. For example, improved communication can lead to better client relationships and increased sales, enhanced leadership can result in higher employee engagement and retention, reducing recruitment costs. If the team is not delivering proper customer service, or it’s taking too long to complete a project, or that there are too many errors in the system, a learning solution seems logical. But we need to know the business measure connected to the problem, if we want to connect to the business. The figure below shows the linkage of needs, objectives, and evaluation which could be a useful tool when pitching soft skills to your finance director.

      Figure-1-the-v-model

      You can also download the whole report here.

      • Show them what happens if this solution isn’t taken up: a study from 2021 identified that of the participant groups nearly 40% of students (young people) left a job because they wanted more benefits (including training); nearly 20% of those incorporate left because of work stress. 

      More actions you could take include providing case studies, offering training solutions and continuous improvement to ensure that the team remains competitive and adaptable in the long run. By presenting soft skills as strategic assets that directly contribute to financial success, you can effectively sell their value to your finance director. 

      Summary

      Overall, investing in the development of soft skills not only enhances individual performance but also contributes to a more harmonious and productive work environment. By fostering a culture that values and promotes soft skills development, organisations can position themselves for long-term success in today's dynamic and competitive business landscape.

      At Virtual College we offer a variety of online courses and resources developed by professionals and subject matter experts in a range of topics, from education to retail and hospitality, to offer you and your employees the best learning experience possible. Our Personal and Professional Development package and our Power Skills Training Package include more than 15 engaging, bite-sized modules full of tips, hints and resources to help you succeed.