Soft Skills Training

My first real job was as a sales associate at Famous Footwear. I was a college freshman in need of a little extra cash for things like clothes, makeup, junk food… the basics. The discount on shoes didn’t hurt either.
I learned a lot in the aisles of that store. I learned how to measure feet. It is a skill I used constantly as we raised four kids.
I learned how to count change, run a register and double-check to make sure there were two shoes in the box — one left and one right — and that they were the same size. You would be surprised how often they weren’t.
And I learned that the customer is always right… even when they aren’t. It’s a lesson that came in handy during my journalism days. Very handy.
That last one is something the Chamber industry calls a soft skill… also known as people skills… those little things that make the difference between a really good employee and one that makes you want to pull your hair out.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, more than 85 percent of business leaders say they’re having a tough time finding employees with good soft skills. But if businesses can get those employees trained in soft skills, it has huge benefits. Another new study, this one from Boston College, Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that soft skills training, boosts productivity and retention by 12 percent and has a 250 percent return on investment (ROI).
If your employees need some soft skills training you might call Fort Hays State University’s Management Development Center. They’ll have a class later this month that will help area employers create a service culture within their organization. First Impressions Matter will develop individual, professional and personal skills in customer service, phone etiquette, communication and more. (For more information visit … they offer Chamber members a discount). Or, consider the Kansas At Your Service Program — a web-based customer service certification training program for employees which is offered at no charge. (Learn more at
Either way, a little training can make a big difference.

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