Employee development inside the company is not only a great approach to boosting the quality of projects and overall customer satisfaction, but also an effective retention strategy. A 2023 McKinsey survey, carried out among the digital workforce, clearly shows that career development and advancement potential are the key factors they consider in their decision to stay with a company or pursue new work opportunities.
To advance their careers, developers cannot rely solely on their programming skills, but must also engage in developing soft skills necessary to succeed in leadership roles, such as team leaders or software engineers.
For these reasons, we have created a comprehensive approach to employee training and development, and, in addition to creating ample opportunities for boosting the hard skills of our tech talent, we also invest in soft skills development of our in-house team. In this article, we outline the scope of this program, so that you could know what to expect, should you want to work with us, or for us.
Why invest in soft skills development for software developers?
Soft skills have a tremendous impact on how employees collaborate in the workplace, how they represent the company outside, how they approach challenges as well as the quality of work they deliver. Consider the below advantages of equipping your team with soft skills:
They’re essential for career progression
When considering a career advancement, developers cannot rely solely on technical skills. Indeed.com, a leading job portal, lists 11 soft skills that every developer should have to boost their efficiency and productivity, which will ultimately help them take their career to the next level.
They are essential in client-facing roles
A software developer interested in taking on a software engineer role will be dealing with clients extensively in that role. Excellent communication, presentation and persuasion are those soft skills for developers that will help them to succeed in leadership aspects of their job.
They are essential for building effective teams
Developers taking on senior or leadership responsibilities within their team will be playing an instrumental role in supporting the team in subsequent projects. Communication, pitching, time management and other soft skills will be vital for success in those roles. They will ultimately require knowledge sharing and mentoring, which aren’t based solely on technical expertise.
They help raise the quality of projects
Skills such as effective planning and time management will have a direct impact on meeting deadlines and delivering the desired quality. Ability to resolve potential conflicts within a team will ultimately help it work efficiently and productively.
Internal soft skills development program at RST
Companies that take employee development planning seriously, cannot focus solely on the technical skills. We have developed a comprehensive internal development program focused specifically on soft skills for developers, oriented at expanding individual’s leadership capacities. It focuses on the following:
Identifying individual strengths
This specific module uses the Clifton Strengths Finder tests to help our employees understand what they’re particularly good at. The method, which focuses on working with 34 different talents, helps each employee to understand their five key strengths. Increasing their self-awareness on the matter greatly boosts their productivity.
An excellent option is to also take the test as an entire team. It increases awareness of individual team members about the strengths and work style preferences of their peers. The tests also help to identify areas for improvement that, if worked on, help people work more effectively as a team.
Our technical personnel are often so deeply consumed by programming matters, that discussing them with non-technical specialists may be problematic. We include this specific module in our soft skills for developers training program because we are convinced that:
- It benefits the customer: architects and team leaders often need to explain complex technical matters to people with varying levels of technical knowledge. Investing in their communication and persuasiveness skills is thus critical to achieving great results in any software development project.
- It benefits other employees: especially when we consider initiatives such as tech communities, which is yet another way our company ensures internal development opportunities through peer-to-peer learning.
A great deal of attention is devoted to developing persuasion skills, which are critical for succeeding in cases where the client insists on a solution that our experts deem as not optimal for the specific use case. Being oriented at delivering the best quality products, we equip our software devs and engineers with soft skills that will allow them to ensure the best solution is always prioritized in given circumstances.
Presentation and pitching skills
This specific module further extends the communication skills and allows developers to work on their public speaking skills. In addition to training our devs in creating interesting and engaging presentations tailored to specific audiences, they learn how to deal with stress and manage their body language. On top of being useful in contact with the client and the team, this soft skills development program greatly boosts their competencies in mentoring and teaching others, as part of our technical training, or initiatives such as tech communities or CodeMeetings.
Team building and team management
Managing people so that they ultimately form a coherent and effective team is critical in any leadership role. Software engineer's soft skills portfolio must thus include their ability to create and manage a team that delivers results.
Is it possible to learn emotional intelligence? Do emotions help or hinder our work? This module helps to answer these questions and become more sensitive about the human aspects of work. We believe that emotional intelligence is critical for leaders to help them resolve conflicts, mentor individuals and build effective teams.
We’ve introduced this specific module in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the workshop, participants look at how they deal with their private and professional tasks and goals so that they can draw conclusions and make changes to strike the right balance between these two spheres. We believe that leaders must set the example of how to manage time well and do so in a way that allows them to maintain digital hygiene. We take pride in taking care of our employees and want them to live healthy and satisfactory lives.
Maximizing efficiency of soft skills development
The training is tailored to the level of expertise of our employees. There is one segment devoted specifically to those interested in taking on a leadership position in the near future. We also have a separate segment for experienced leaders, to help them take their skills to the next level.
- Participation in the training program is voluntary. Our HR department plays an instrumental role in encouraging participation while planning a personalized career development path for those who are interested. They explain why and what skills developers would have to acquire to take their career to the next level.
- The overall program is divided into three tiers: basic, intermediate and advanced. We discovered that such a division helps maximize the efficiency of our training, as participants have different levels of experience and familiarity with the matter.
- The basic tier is addressed to everyone at RST who is interested in acquiring new soft skills. It offers a great introduction to the topic.
- Those employees who are specifically interested in becoming team leaders, or who are just starting their journey in this role, can benefit from the intermediate tier. It offers modules focused on developing skills that will help them in their leadership responsibilities.
- The advanced tier is addressed to senior leaders who have had substantial leadership experience. The sessions further expand on the theory and practice tackled during the intermediate tier, focusing heavily on peer-to-peer learning and practice. The participants gather to address specific cases or issues and discuss potential solutions with other peers and experienced course leaders. The ability to talk over challenges and questions with other leaders within the company is a great value added for the participants.
- The training sessions are planned throughout an entire year, so that participants have time to digest the learnings and put them into practice before delving into practicing another soft skill.
Interested in working with RST specialists?
We are committed to supporting our developers and engineers in their career progression. We systematically invest in both hard skills and soft skills development. We believe it’s what helps us maintain a high employee retention rate at 89% as well as a large proportion of senior developers on board. We are thus well positioned to fill the gaps that prevent you from delivering your next software development project.
If you’re looking for experts in specific domains, we have dedicated teams that specialize in logistics software development, chat applications, media streaming applications, mobility solutions as well as spatial data visualizations. Contact me directly at email@example.com if you’d like to know more.