Soft Training is Back – Part 1

And it’s about time.  I’m talking about corporate America’s recognition of the need for “soft” training.

For a while now I’ve lamented the lack of training in “soft” areas such as management & supervisory development, interpersonal and organization communications, customer relations, etc.  When the economy is strained, as it has been, Training & Development is one of the first areas to get cut (along with marketing).  Any training dollars left are focused on technical or “hard” training; e.g., to ensure staff is computer-literate and can operate whatever hardware or equipment they need on-the-job.

I don’t want to negate technical training – it is necessary.  But I wonder about all the training that those of us “Boomers” and some Gen X-ers were fortunate to get (such as how to develop & lead teams, give feedback, conduct performance appraisals, etc.) that hasn’t been available to new managers because the budget wasn’t there.  Do today’s managers have the training & tools they need to manage effectively?

Scary stuff

Part of the problem can be found in education preparation.  I’m familiar with a business communications program that was offered to undergrads – course content included how to write effective memos & reports, develop and give presentations, etc.  The students who took this course said it was one of the most practical courses they’d taken.

Not too long ago, I inquired about the program’s status … imagine my surprise to learn that the program was discontinued in favor of teaching students how to use spreadsheets.

That’s just what we need – people who can’t string two sentences together effectively, but they can sure crunch those numbers!

More on this in my next post …

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