Bridging the Soft Skills Gap through Curated eLearning Content

Aditi Mandlekar
Aditi Mandlekar April 21, 2021

I believe the two major challenges that the corporate world is facing today (in the economic globalization) are, one, the constant evolution of technology and two, COVID pandemic.

Having trudged our way through a year of both, we can say for certain that both these instance have manifested together into a whole new conundrum of skills shortage and job security and a carnival of unprecedented situations threatening businesses across the globe.

While on one hand the evolution of technology and intelligent machines takes over our repetitive and basic tasks (the definition of which also keeps evolving with evolving technologies), so has the pandemic affected jobs which were redundant and could easily be replaced by mutating technologies (like AI) and smart machines.

However, adaptation and adoption is the human way, and that’s what we did in 2020. We shifted from survival mode to leveraging the situation to thrive. The fact that the number of remote jobs has plummeted with even more job-seekers, makes us wonder what sets people apart in this over-saturated qualified pool.  

In 2019, unavailability of key skills was a threat to 35% of CEO’s in Asia Pacific and was one of the top 10 threats worldwide for their organization’s growth – with STEM being an area of importance but skills like Creativity, Empathy and Adaptability being the driving forces of learning and implementation.

So, does that mean someone’s soft skills make them stand out? I believe so. I also believe that soft skills training has somehow become a lesser activity, and it is generally assumed that only hard skills get you through your career. Well, it doesn’t.

Soft skills, like communication, time-management, creativity, team work etc. are useful at all stages of our personal as well as professional lives and are something that make us human and set us apart from the ever increasing technological dominance.

Josh Bersin rightly said that - “Hard skills are soft (they change all the time, are constantly being obsoleted, and are relatively easy to learn), and Soft skills are hard (they are difficult to build, critical, and take extreme effort to obtain).” And, companies have listened.

What many companies have done to close their soft skills gap and reskill and upskill their employees in the pandemic, is that many of them started buying massive repositories of eLearning content with a learner-led training program or a learn-as-you-go program that gave employees the flexibility to choose their learning. However, in reality, this resulted in only a small percentage of employees using even smaller piece eLearning content.

While there is a case to be made for this kind of training, often employees themselves are unaware of their potential and areas of interest for them to choose their eLearning courses, that too from a vast pool of content. That’s exactly why organizations leverage training needs assessments, HIPO programs, and leadership pipelines.

To meet the desired business goals through training, L&D pros are often tasked with assessing employee training needs and finding the right content and creating that best training programs that will upskill employees and improve performance and productivity. However, one of the key steps in the process is skills assessment.

Through individual or group skills assessments, L&D can figure out existing skills, skills needed and the nature of gap to be bridged, while at the same time taking into consideration individual aspirations and goals. Fine line to walk, but a promising solution to most challenges.

Today, there are myriad of eLearning courses and material available online from leading learning content providers like Plethora, Coursera, Udemy etc. While some are perfect for individual learning, some providers like Plethora come as customized and curated solutions that take a consultative approach towards solving a business challenge through employee skilling.

Plethora houses an exhaustive catalog of soft skill courses, and with the help of seasoned eLearning content experts, is able to custom build individual learning plans for employees to achieve a specified business objective. As these courses are off-the-shelf eLearning courses, companies don’t have to invest a lot of time and cost on their development and can just be procured and deployed for their employees to consume.

As the world braces for another wave of the pandemic, it is time for companies to look at newer ways to deliver relevant and impactful eLearning to employees to bridge the widening skills gap in 2021.

To learn more about Plethora courses and view our curated plans, please get in touch here.