“How is it possible to measure soft skills?” was the question that someone recently asked on LinkedIn, and the answer which was chosen as ‘best answer’ was written by yours truly. Here is what I wrote:

Taking the term ‘soft skills’ to be a wide range of skills in interacting with people, there are definitely ways in which one can measure these skills.

As a company we have started to employ Branching Video as a method of testing soft skills.

Let me explain:

We recently trained 1500 sales managers across Europe for a large financial services company. Part of this was to show them on how to run 1:1 meetings.

To evaluate their learning in this case, we used branching video of a one to one meeting in action, and asked the delegates to explore possible outcomes.

In each instance they would see the stem, a piece of video that outlined part of the meeting. They could then explore two or three further video clips showing ways that they could deal with the situation.

Following this they would make a decision and go on to see the consequences of those decisions. A critical part of evaluation is to encourage people to make decisions and evidence those decisions as well as understanding the impacts of those decisions.

This part of the evaluation strategy was very popular and effective and is now being expanded to incorporate other areas of the business.
Of course this method could be used for a variety of soft skills and provide an ability to measure an individual’s learning.

By applying certain key performance indicators to each soft skill, one is therefore able to measure the ROI as well.