Better Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace: Internal and External Benefits

Better communication, increased empathy and other interpersonal abilities can be taught, and may have a positive impact on the modern workplace. 

Two employees collaborate.

Interpersonal skills improve teamwork and enhance customer service.

Workplace training sometimes focuses exclusively on the “hard” skills required to use essential technology and perform role-specific duties. This view of employee education is unnecessarily narrow, due to the continuing importance of “soft” skills. Employees who are expert communicators and empathetic teammates are well-suited to both cooperating internally and interacting with customers. Some workers emerge from college without fully developed soft skills, further increasing the importance of learning these abilities on the job.

No matter the industry in question, professional roles involve interacting constantly with other people. The more smoothly these interactions go, the more value the employee will generate for the company. This value may mean that meetings reach satisfactory conclusions, customers receive helpful answers to their questions, or partner organizations get great results from their own interactions with the business. Across industries and cases, soft skills can represent increased effectiveness. Continue reading

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Using Training to Enforce Ethical Leadership

Ethical operations can boost a company’s reputation and effectiveness – and such an approach requires leadership buy-in.

A businessman speaks to his team.

Ethical leaders shape company culture for the better.

Business leaders are expected to be the ones to set an example for their team members. This includes exhibiting a strong sense of ethics in and out of the workplace. When management conducts themselves in honest and forthcoming ways, this type of personal accountability is often emulated throughout the company

The direct and indirect benefits of creating an honest and forthcoming culture are many and varied. Companies that let unethical behaviors become commonplace are susceptible to regulatory fines and negative perception in the eyes of customers. Potential employees may also hesitate to join these businesses, not wanting to end up in compromised and problematic workplaces. Continue reading

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Changing Workplace Culture to Prioritize Safety

What types of leadership actions and priorities help a culture of safety take hold at a company?

A sign saying "Nobody gets hurt today!"

Leadership can have a positive impact on workplace safety.

While workplaces aren’t entirely defined by their leaders’ decisions, top-down attitudes do influence the day-to-day operational climate. Whether that is a positive or negative factor depends on the attitudes of the people in charge. Office culture and norms are definitively shaped by leadership, and that extends to fundamental pieces of the workplace experience, such as safety.

Running a secure office, one that goes beyond complying with Organizational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  to make employees feel safe and confident, is a positive differentiator. Businesses that operate this way are better equipped to attract top candidates and retain existing workers, while avoiding the fines and legal consequences that come with carelessness and neglect. Continue reading

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Improve Your Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict resolution, if left undone, can lead to cultural rifts in a workplace. Ideally, these discussions will leave teams better off than ever.

Three employees discuss something.

How do conflicts reach satisfactory resolutions?

Conflict resolution is one skill set every team leader or manager must possess and understand. Differences of opinion are inevitable in any workplace, and ignoring the issues that arise between employees generally makes things worse rather than better. Due to this inevitability, learning to mediate and bring teams together is a positive and worthwhile pursuit. Admitting there will be conflicts to resolve may seem like admitting defeat, but it’s actually a key to success. Continue reading

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Safe Vehicle Operation Training: Make It a Priority

Employers shouldn’t overlook motor vehicle safety – this is a subtly critical part of keeping workers safe.

A car with its airbag depoyed.

Vehicle safety is a major workplace concern.

Vehicle operation is one of the highest-priority categories of workplace safety, due to the ubiquity of cars and trucks in professional settings. Despite the relatively high rates of automobile accidents, it’s easy to overlook vehicle operation training.

Employees and supervisors alike may reason that workers with driver’s licenses don’t need additional rules or training for the more specialized driving tasks they’ll perform on the job. Falling into this mindset, however, may set workplaces up for preventable accidents.

Along with many other categories of workplace risk, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers rules, tips and resources for vehicle use in a professional context. Instituting policies based on these directives, aided by focused training programs, can significantly improve a company’s safety record. Continue reading

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