Microlearning Programme Soft Skills: Gift or Guff

What's your soft skills strategy? Chances are your programme doesn't have one and it will likely be to the detriment of your value objectives. Check out this evaluation of microlearning approaches to soft skills on programmes.

Big thanks to Paul Burton and the team at C-Coach for their support and contribution to this report.



Imagine leading an organisation in a world pulsating with the rhythm of progress and innovation. Everywhere you turn, conversations hum with the urgency of transformation – a collective push to navigate the maze of modern business.

In this bustling landscape, transformation programmes stand as beacons of promise, offering a pathway to organisational evolution. They promise more than just change; they embody ambitious visions to redefine norms, optimise processes, and embrace innovation. Yet, amid the excitement of these initiatives, a critical challenge lurks beneath the surface.

Consider a scenario where a project team is tasked with implementing a new technology platform. They're armed with technical expertise and strategic plans, yet encounter stumbling blocks when it comes to effective communication with stakeholders. Misunderstandings arise, deadlines slip, and frustrations mount – all due to a lack of soft skills like empathy and effective communication.

Similarly, picture another team striving to streamline operations through a leanification programme. Despite their expertise in process optimisation, they falter in fostering collaboration and adapting to change. As resistance mounts and morale dips, the programme's success hangs in the balance, highlighting the critical need for soft skills like adaptability and teamwork.

In both scenarios, the absence of essential soft skills hampers the teams' ability to navigate challenges and drive successful outcomes. It's a sobering reminder that while technical expertise and strategic planning are vital, they're incomplete without the human touch offered by soft skills.


What are programme soft skills?

As illustrated in the scenarios above, the success of transformation programmes hinges not only on technical proficiency but also on the mastery of essential soft skills. In a landscape propelled by the need to change at pace, organisations must recognise the indispensable role of these skills in navigating the complexities inherent in transformation initiatives.

Now, let's delve into the key soft skills that elevate programme success, enabling employees to navigate these complexities with finesse.

  • Communication: Clear, transparent, and empathetic communication is essential for aligning stakeholders and fostering trust.
  • Leadership: Transformational leaders inspire others towards a shared vision, fostering innovation and empowering their teams.
  • Emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions facilitates empathy, resilience, and effective conflict resolution.
  • Adaptability: Flexibility and resilience enable leaders to navigate uncertainties and embrace change proactively.
  • Stakeholder management: Building relationships, understanding diverse perspectives, and fostering collaboration are essential for managing stakeholders effectively.


Buzzword: Microlearning programme soft skills

In the ever-evolving landscape of skill development, a new star is on the rise: soft skills microlearning. But what sets this approach apart from traditional training methods, and why is it capturing the attention of forward-thinking organisations?

Soft skills microlearning refers to a personalised and agile approach to developing essential interpersonal skills through short, focused learning modules. Unlike traditional training programmes that often involve lengthy sessions and standardised content, microlearning delivers bite-sized lessons that can be consumed in a matter of minutes, anytime and anywhere.

Imagine a scenario where a project team needs to enhance their communication skills to effectively collaborate with stakeholders. Instead of attending a lengthy training workshop, team members can access a series of microlearning modules tailored to their specific needs. These modules may cover topics such as active listening, constructive feedback, and conflict resolution, allowing team members to acquire relevant skills in a quick and targeted manner.

Similarly, consider a situation where employees are tasked with navigating change and uncertainty in a leanification programme. Soft skills microlearning offers a solution by providing short tutorials on resilience, adaptability, and change management. Through brief, engaging modules, employees can develop the necessary skills to embrace change and drive programme success.


Gift or Guff?

But is soft skills microlearning truly a gift for programmes, or emperor's new clothes.

  • Definition of soft skills: Put soft skills into a framework and taxonomy that can be used to develop behaviours and competencies.
  • Empowered learning: Undoubtedly provides an opportunity for the self-motivated learner or coach assisted employee to embark on a defined skills development journey.
  • In the flow of work: Absolutely the best way to learn is at the point of need or immediately post event where modifications and adjustments can prompt improved outcomes
  • Multiplier effect: Soft skills development is infectious meaning that a many times multiple of ROI can be achieved once new behaviours start breeding new behaviours
  • Culture of continuous improvement: Soft skills microlearning fosters a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging learners to incorporate learning into their everyday routines. With regular exposure to relevant and timely content, employees can gradually build and refine their soft skills, leading to tangible improvements in teamwork, communication, and leadership.
  • Difficult to quantify and measure, making it challenging to assess their contribution to programme success: Soft skills are often subjective and elusive, making it difficult to quantify their impact on programme outcomes.
  • Requires continuous development and refinement, adding complexity to programme management: Ongoing training and development are necessary to cultivate and maintain soft skills, adding complexity and resource requirements to programme management.
  • May be undervalued or overlooked in favor of more tangible deliverables and technical skills: In environments focused on tangible results, soft skills may be undervalued or overshadowed by more quantifiable metrics and technical expertise.
  • Resistance from stakeholders accustomed to traditional metrics of success: Stakeholders accustomed to traditional performance metrics may resist the emphasis on soft skills, leading to challenges in implementation and adoption.
  • Potential for superficial learning: Learners may prioritise completing modules quickly over deep understanding, leading to superficial learning and limited retention of soft skills knowledge.
  • Fragmented learning experience: Continuous interruption with short learning sessions may lead to a fragmented learning experience, hindering the ability to grasp complex soft skills concepts cohesively.


Is it easy to use

For organisations opting to invest in developing soft skills within the programme team, a crucial question emerges: How straightforward is it to enhance soft skills across the team?

  • The beauty of flexibility: Soft skills, unlike complex technical systems, can be seamlessly integrated into existing workflows and methodologies without requiring significant overhaul or disruption. Learners have the freedom to engage with content at their own pace and on their preferred devices, whether it's a smartphone during a commute or a tablet during a coffee break.
  • Room for customisation: Soft skills are versatile and adaptable, enabling organisations to customise their approach based on specific requirements, organisational culture, and the nature of the transformation programme.
  • Minimal disruption to the programme flow: With short learning sessions, microlearning minimises disruption to employees' daily routines and responsibilities, ensuring that skill development can seamlessly integrate into their workflow.

While soft skills offer potential advantages, their implementation may present hurdles, prompting inquiries regarding their usability and effectiveness in attaining lasting outcomes.

  • The need for dedicated resources and investment: Effective utilisation of soft skills necessitates investment in training, development programmes, and ongoing support, which may strain resources and require a long-term commitment from the organisation.
  • Resistance to change: Organisational culture and resistance to change can pose significant barriers to the successful implementation of soft skills initiatives, requiring careful navigation and strategic alignment with cultural norms and values.
  • Dependency to individual willingness: The success of soft skills initiatives hinges on the willingness of individuals to actively embrace and apply these skills in their day-to-day work, which may vary depending on individual attitudes and motivations.
  • Tendency to deprioritise soft skill development: Unlike tangible outcomes, such as cost savings or revenue generation, measuring the return on investment (ROI) of soft skill development initiatives can be challenging, potentially leading organisations to deprioritise these efforts in favour of more quantifiable metrics.
  • Difficulty in assessing mastery: Assessing learner mastery of soft skills through microlearning modules can be challenging, as traditional assessment methods may not be applicable to brief and informal learning formats.


Are you rethinking your approach to managing transformation programmes for lasting impact?

What's your stance? Are you considering incorporating soft skills into your programme team? If so, what do you think about following a microlearning approach to develop these skills?

Before you decide, consider this: integrating soft skills into transformation programmes isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It's not a quick fix that ensures success in every scenario. Instead, it's a customised strategy that demands thoughtful evaluation of your programme team’s specific obstacles and potentials.


Conclusion & recommendations

In conclusion, the integration of soft skills into transformation programmes through microlearning presents both opportunities and challenges for organisations seeking to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive landscape. While soft skills hold the potential to drive meaningful change and foster a culture of innovation, their effective implementation requires careful planning, investment, and commitment from all stakeholders involved. To maximise the benefits of soft skills microlearning in transformation programmes, organisations should:

  • Provide high-quality and ongoing training and development initiatives to enhance soft skill capabilities across all levels.
  • Foster a supportive and inclusive environment that values selfdevelopment and rewards behaviours aligned with desired soft skills.
  • Incorporate metrics and feedback mechanisms to track progress and measure the impact of soft skill initiatives over time.
  • Continuously assess and adapt strategies based on evolving programme needs and market dynamics.

By embracing the transformative power of soft skills, organisations can unlock new opportunities for growth, resilience, and success in an ever-changing world.


And finally...

At Digiworkz, we are committed to equipping our clients with the tools and knowledge to effectively integrate soft skills into their transformation journeys. Whether they aim to enhance communication, foster collaboration, or nurture leadership capabilities, we offer comprehensive guidance and assistance. From refining workflows to cultivating a culture of ongoing learning, Digiworkz stands ready to empower your organisation with the skills needed for lasting success.

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