3 HR Essentials for Boosting Performance

March 15, 2017

3 HR Essentials for Boosting Performance

Training programs are one of the most important components of a successful HR program as they provide employees the opportunity to learn and grow. When it comes to selecting topics, however, most organizations tend to teach the same lessons or skills. These programs usually include trainings on skills for daily work function, compliance (such as CPR renewal), sexual harassment training, and so forth.

While this training is important and often mandatory, HR leaders should be creative in their planning and not restrict themselves to the typical training. Instead they should enhance their programs with lessons that fall outside of the norm.

For starters, consider these three training and development lessons to make a positive impact on your team and your business.

Soft Skills

Many companies do a good job of teaching hard skills; that is, technical skills that can be easily defined and measured. Examples include learning to operate machinery, software programs or other tools which bear a direct impact on work performance.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are harder to quantify but no less important. They include interpersonal people skills such as collaboration, communication, adaptability, problem solving, conflict resolution and creativity.

One reason that businesses do not provide soft skills training to their employees is that it is more difficult to train staff in these skills as opposed to technical skills. Yet most organizations know that soft skills are just as important. In fact, according to a survey from Adecco Staffing, 44 percent of executives said a lack of soft skills was the biggest proficiency gap they saw in the U.S. workforce. Additionally, the International Association of Administrative Professionals, OfficeTeam and HR.com, found that 67 percent of HR managers said that they would hire a candidate with great soft skills, even if that candidate lacked technical expertise.

Think of teaching soft skills as training for the future. Hard skills will change over time, as new tools and technologies disrupt the market. Soft skills will benefit an employee for life, no matter the job that they’re performing. These skills will transfer as employees move around and up in your organization. In that regard, teaching soft skills is a great way to invest in your employees for the long term. And there are also short-term benefits: research has shown that training soft skills can increase a team’s performance by up to 30 percent.


One soft skill that can pay big dividends is leadership. A strong leadership development program will benefit all employees, regardless of age or position, and create a strong foundation for your business’s future.

While most employers offer leadership training, it is important to focus on the individual, regardless of title. This approach will make employees feel more valued because it shows that the employer is willing to invest in their long-term success. It will also improve employee retention as it will show that there is potential for progression within the organization. 

Leadership training can also give junior employees a head-start on becoming a manager. The lessons learned during these sessions can help ease the sometimes rocky transition of becoming a leader, providing them with insight on the challenges they may soon face, and arming them with the tools to succeed.

Financial Literacy

While money is without a doubt one of the biggest motivators for employees, an increase in pay or a large bonus may not always be in the budget. Even though employees do not always receive the financial rewards they want, a financial education program can enable them to stretch their available income further. Again, this training is a win for both the employee and the organization.

For example, a study by the Wellness Council of Indiana found financial problems are frequently listed as the top source of stress experienced by employees. While it may seem this is an employee’s personal problem, these worries often bleed into work. The same report also showed that financial stress is costing companies $7000 per employee each year. This is because financial stress leads to lower productivity, increased accidents and lost days of work due to stress-induced illness.

Conversely, employees who are confident and secure in their finances are more motivated and engaged at work. It should come as no surprise that a Society for Human Resource Management report showed that there was a 600 percent ROI for companies that have implemented financial education training.

There are many different choices for implementing financial training. Given that each employee has different personal circumstances and financial literacy, try offering an array of options, from sessions on managing credit to planning for retirement to presenting investment vehicles for those who have savings but do not know how to invest it.

Financial training, soft skills, and leadership training may not be a training priority for your organization, but all the evidence suggest that they should be. The benefits of providing this training will make any organization more competitive for years to come.

The Authors: 

Andrew Allen is the marketing manager at Saba, a company that provides talent management platforms to businesses.

Comments (2)

Andrew - agree. Some of our most requested customized educational workshops @ UC Berkeley revolve around change leadership, team dynamics, and financial acumen.

Thanks for your feedback Robert. Companies are going to succeed if their employees are succeeding.