As an operations leader, safety is at the top of your list of employee training topics, along with efficiency and timelines. But what good is your work if production or construction is delayed due to safety concerns or, even worse, hazardous incidents?

One effective method to increase safety, in addition to protocols and policies, is employee training and development. Your organization most likely already conducts comprehensive employee training around industry-specific regulations and equipment usage, but you can – and should – go further. Find out more about recommended training topics for employees.

Five Soft Skill Training Topics to Elevate Workplace Safety

Your training program should include soft skills like time management, emotional intelligence, leadership training, and effective communication. After all, your employees are people with emotions, perspectives, and experiences that dictate how they interact and react to their team members and situations that require a focus on safety.

The term “soft skills,” however, is misleading. There’s nothing soft about the effect these powerful skills have on business and safety.

Stanford Research Institute International found that nearly 75% of an employee’s success can be traced to soft skills, while only 25% of their success is due to proficient technical skills.

How do you help improve your employees’ soft skills? Here are several training topics that can help protect your employees and improve safety in your work environment.

1. Time Management

Although your organization most likely runs according to a strict schedule, time management is still a valuable topic for employee development. For instance, is safety the highest priority, or is staying on top of the production/construction schedule most important? At what point does time-saving become a safety issue?

If employees are cutting corners because they deem the production schedule the priority, you may have a serious safety hazard on your hands. Training employees on various time management and productivity skills will help them find a process that works best for them and your organization – both in terms of keeping on schedule and maintaining a safe workplace.

2. Interpersonal Skills

When productivity is measured in terms of output, stress can rise quickly. When stress becomes toxic, safety can be compromised. By emphasizing interpersonal skills in your training program, employees learn how to best work together to meet their common goal – to get the job done and return home safely.

It is vital to provide training on skills to help employees manage difficult conversations and calmly to mediate issues.

  • Conflict resolution can diffuse disputes before they escalate into serious problems.
  • Employees can be trained to receive and offer feedback by listening more and talking less.
  • You can also create strong collaboration skills through conflict resolution, leading to better outcomes on critical company initiatives.
  • A happier workplace can help lead to a safer workplace.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Strong interpersonal skills rely on emotional intelligence, which is something that can be learned and honed, especially in the context of a work environment. Employees’ emotional intelligence can often impact their job as much or more than their technical skills.

By building the ability to manage emotions positively, your team can relieve stress, empathize with their colleagues, establish strong work relationships and improve workplace safety.

4. Effective Communication

Effective communication is critical for safety, productivity, and workplace satisfaction during important projects and in everyday job roles. In fact, according to Gartner, poor communication is responsible for 70% of corporate errors.

Communication can also drastically impact the bottom line. A survey of 400 companies found that communications issues could cost businesses approximately $37 billion annually.

No matter the job role, your team must communicate with peers, direct reports, and managers in various ways – via email, phone, in-person, or even over Zoom. Each channel has its protocols and challenges, which can result in misunderstandings or poor communication. Job training with clear expectations on using each channel – especially for employees working from home – is essential to ensure a safe workplace.

Healthy communication, whether in person or electronically, creates a positive work environment and a sense that the team is working toward common goals. When we see ourselves as a team, we look out for each other, and safety can be improved.

5. Leadership Development

Training your team members to become leaders ensures your organization has a pipeline of future team leads and managers. Through specific leadership training sessions, your organization can promote the pathway to leadership with clear expectations and professional development.

Your organization can use personality tests, industry-specific assessments, and coaching with current leaders to help employees determine if they fit a leadership role. Investing in your employees and showing interest in their future professional development will build trust and loyalty.

Leaders play a crucial role in the effectiveness of safety programs. They must follow and enforce safety protocols, but even more critical is that they live and breathe the need for a strong safety culture. Whether employees buy into your organization’s safety program is determined by leadership’s example.

Learn More About Training Topics for Employees

We have covered only a handful of the many training topics for employees that fall under soft skills. Because your safety training protocol focuses on daily job tasks vs. soft skills, you may wonder how to determine the most beneficial topics.

Take a look at SMG’s safety training programs and reach out to us to explore which training topics best fit your unique needs.