Explore the steps you can take to nurture soft skills among your employees.

May 19, 2020 •

3 min reading

Improving soft skills in the workplace: a road map for hospitality

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As your employees set goals, work with them to make them concrete and measurable so that these objectives will help your employees gauge their progress.

For example, someone who wants to improve their communication skills in a team environment might set goals related to the initiatives they want to take within their next team-working opportunity. They can articulate objectives such as reducing the number of questions asked following instructions, indicating the people better understood what they needed to do.

Another employee who wants to work on improving their dispute resolution skills can document the efforts taken to resolve the disagreement as well as the speed and success of the outcome reached.

Offer online classes

While soft skills are more subjective than hard skills, you can still use online classes to help people nurture their abilities in these areas and see improvement. Online classes that help people walk through important steps in skills such as problem solving or project management can help them break the skills down into achievable blocks.

These online classes also help to further enforce the idea that your hospitality organization encourages an environment of learning and self-improvement. 

Offer opportunities to work with a mentor or coach

For many soft skills, providing opportunities for your employees to work with a mentor or coach can also help them improve. Mentors who excel with the soft skill that a particular employee wants to improve with can offer concrete guidance and advice. When the employee encounters a situation where they can use their soft skills, they can trust the mentor or coach to help them understand how to best utilize their abilities. The insight and guidance that the mentor offers will be completely personalized for the employee at hand. This provides opportunities for growth, practice, and guidance throughout the situation at hand.

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Regularly ask for and provide feedback

As a part of nurturing your environment of learning and helping employees better understand how to improve their skills, be sure to regularly ask for and provide feedback. As the leader within your hospitality business, you want to set an example for your employees. This means setting your own soft skills goals and then asking for feedback from your team

For example, if you have a soft skill goal of improving communication when providing guidance on projects, you can ask at the beginning and end of the project how clearly you communicated your expectations. Soliciting this feedback from the team lets them know that you value this opportunity to learn and expect them to do the same.

At the same time, make sure that you regularly provide feedback for others at your hospitality organization. Look for opportunities to highlight their success with their targeted soft skills and let them know where they can grow and improve. 

Asking for and providing this feedback helps to build the idea that improving soft skills is a team effort and that everyone has room for improvement. 

Seek and provide opportunities to practice skills

Finally, as you work to improve the soft skills of your teammates, you want to also seek and provide opportunities for people to practice these skills. If several members of your team want to improve their collaboration skills within a team, then sending them off to regularly perform individual projects does nothing to help them practice their skills and put the helpful information they learned from a mentor or learning opportunity to use. This will limit the opportunities for growth and raise the risk of the employee losing what they have learned. 

Instead, purposefully provide opportunities for them to practice. If one member of the team wants to target their leadership skills, for example, giving them opportunities to take charge of a project will display your confidence in their skills and help them put everything they have studied to practice. As everyone begins to practice their targeted soft skills, the changes in attitude and communication will begin to become natural to those at your business.

You also want to specifically seek opportunities for growth for yourself. Looking at the soft skills you have targeted with your goals, purposefully create situations that will allow you to practice what you have learned. This allows these skills to become more intuitive and a personal attribute that will serve you well in the workplace.

Within the hospitality industry, teamwork and the customer experience play critical roles in the success of a business. Therefore, building a strong team of employees who nurture these essential soft skills becomes an important part of the job. Creating an environment conducive to learning and helping those at the organization understand the importance of these soft skills can help you and your business thrive.


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Lecturer and International Career Coordinator at EHL Passugg

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Do you have the right skills to create emotional experiences?

In a hospitality management degree program, you not only acquire all the academic skills, but also the soft skills that can make the difference and lead to success. Find out more here.