This week on That Wellbeing @ Work Show, I wanted to look at how organisations instil soft skills behaviour change that actually sticks. Traditional methods of learning such as classroom based learning we know has really limited long-term impact on the way that people behave.
Dr. Alex Young is a former trauma and orthopaedic surgeon and the founder of Virti. Virti is a cutting edge technology learning business that uses tech like augmented reality to greatly improve employee engagement and EQ by focusing on human skills, such as empathy. Skills such as empathy we know are so important in creating a well-being culture. Dr. Alex begins the interview by explaining his journey.
What was the problem you were trying to fix? [02:56]
Dr Alex reveals that during his time as an NHS surgeon he observed many colleagues who were technically very gifted but lacked what he describes as soft skills including leadership, decision making and communication abilities. It was this lack of embedded soft skills training that often led to conflict or complaints affecting both the wellbeing of the individual and those around them.
The explosion in wellbeing apps [05:13]
Dr Alex argues that organisations that select off-the-shelf wellbeing apps for employees are probably wasting their money. He encourages leaders and HR managers to get to know their colleagues better and help design wellbeing interventions best tailored to that individual.
Does the corporate wellbeing market need regulation? [07:42]
Some national healthcare systems such as the NHS in the UK do have their own recommended ‘app store’ whereby some wellbeing apps have been reviewed by medial professionals. However, the situation is patchy and therefore the corporate wellbeing market does probably need regulation.
The line manager / worker relationship [09.09]
The thread that runs through much of how we feel about work is the relationship we have with our line manager. Dr Alex agrees and suggests that the pandemic has really had a negative effect on this relationship given many of the interactions have been remote.
The advantages of using augmented reality in learning [13.03]
Dr Alex explains why technology such as augmented reality is so effective in delivering soft skills training when compared to more traditional methods of learning and some of the conversations he has with clients of his firm Virti.
Why do we have such an issue with soft skills in the UK? [14.48]
According to Dr Alex, the UK is not alone with having a workforce lacking soft sills such as empathy, communication and leadership. He suggests that part of this lack of skill can be attributed to the education system that is generally focused on exam results and the social class in which you are born.
Are soft skills power skills or something else? [18:20]
Dr Alex gives an amusing response to this question and laughs at some of the PR fluff attached to the descriptions.
Should leaders reveal vulnerability?
Yes is the simple answer. Dr Alex argues that the paternalistic and militaristic view of leadership whereby leaders and managers didn’t share their vulnerabilities is drawing to a close and there is a strength in sharing problems with your team.