For managers to keep up with ever-evolving business trends, it’s necessary to upskill, and one of the most important areas to enhance are soft skills. A report by Deloitte Access Economics highlights that the demand for soft skills such as problem solving, self-management and critical thinking significantly exceeds supply. And that’s where the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) can help.
AIM focuses on the critical skills managers and leaders need to be effective in a complex and fast-changing work environment. It offers face-to-face and online courses on personal effectiveness, leadership and management, human resources, finance, sales and project management, with new courses available in digital, innovation and wellness, and health and wellbeing.
“According to Gartner, 40% of the skills employees use are learned in the preceding year,” AIM Group CEO Ben Foote tells The CEO Magazine. “Then add to this the massive labour market changes due to machine learning and automation. With this pace of change, training and growth are critical, especially in soft skills development.”
Deloitte Access Economics notes that 63% of all jobs will be soft skills intensive by 2030. And this is something AIM is heavily focused on driving with its courses. “Soft skills are a combination of social skills, communication skills, people skills, social intelligence and emotional intelligence, that enables people to navigate their environment and work with others to achieve their goals,” Ben explains.
“As rapid changes in technology speed up and make communication more complex, excellent soft skills are needed to create awesome teams and to achieve great business outcomes.” Moreover, soft skills training can lead to increased engagement, productivity and innovation among workers.
“As rapid changes in technology speed up and make communication more complex, excellent soft skills are needed to create awesome teams and to achieve great business outcomes.”
With AIM, organisations have the option of booking into available courses or buying a subscription through AIM Access. This provides unlimited access to AIM’s complete course offerings. “AIM Access is the first of its kind as it offers face-to-face learning as a simple-to-administer and accessible subscription,” Ben says.
“A subscription with AIM Access allows all of a business’s employees unlimited access to any AIM short course. It provides always-on, personalised learning for everyone in a business; not just the lucky few.
In addition, the company recently launched the MBA+ program to generate more benefits for students. “We wanted to do more to ensure our MBA graduates had great outcomes from their MBA program so we added a ‘plus’ – well, three pluses to be exact,” Ben says.
“First, MBA+ students receive a personalised Gold Card that gives them five years of unlimited access to all of our short courses, so they can upskill in any area they choose.
“Second, the Gold Card gives students unlimited access for five years to the AIM Coaches we have across all our campuses to help with learning and career paths, as well as with interview and resume advice.
Third, the Gold Card gives them five years of access to our business lounges across Australia, so they can network with thousands of other Australian managers and leaders, as well as have a home in the CBDs across the country to have a coffee, use wi-fi and have meetings.”
Ben says employees come away from AIM courses feeling empowered and highly engaged. “Employers have given great feedback on more engaged and upskilled employees and, importantly, they report better employee retention,” he adds.
“Employers have given great feedback on more engaged and upskilled employees and, importantly, they report better employee retention.”
In the future, the company will continue to focus on two main areas. “First, to be a highly valued partner for businesses to help them engage, upskill and retain their people through customised learning,” Ben says. “And second, to continue to develop the MBA+, which is a brilliant program and one we have more exciting plans for.”
AIM identifies five ways managers can use soft skills to drive performance:
Everything you say and do as a leader (as well as what you don’t) will help your workers make up their minds about whether you are someone they want to work for. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are always aware of this and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Understand what motivates you, and what motivates your colleagues. Know how to use these motivations to get things done through others.
Achieving win–win solutions is a critical skill in today’s work environment where there are so many interdependencies between teams.
Great leaders are often great storytellers. Adept presenters have the ability to take people on a journey and inspire, as opposed to simply manage.
In the business age of frantic schedules, busy meetings, lack of real resources, high internal stress and external pressures, mindfulness allows you to thrive rather than just survive.