5 necessary soft skills for remote work and how to improve them with feedback

Employers spend a lot of money on conferences and training courses to develop their staff. ‘Find your real motivation’, ‘Effective communication’, Time-management’, to name a few, but the common thread is always that real behavioral change happens outside people’s comfort zone.

Currently, the global working community is on the steepest learning curve ever. We are part of the largest remote working experiment conducted in history where people find themselves abruptly placed outside their comfort zone.

We have no other option than to quickly internalize the different phases of a learning cycle to experience, reflect, learn, change, (repeat). People show resilience and adaptability.

This is Part 3 of our Remote Work & COVID-19 Response Series. Last week we discussed how (Bi)weekly 1:1s are considered the glue that holds the performance management process together which is essential in the current COVID-19 situation.

This week we will zoom in on the individual skills needed to effectively work remotely and feel engaged with day-to-day work.

In this article, we will focus on the following (jump ahead):

- How soft skills are key to remote work

- How to improve soft skills via peer feedback

- Peer review example questions

How soft skills are key to remote work

There are plenty of ways managers and HR practitioners can help remote teams perform at their best. From training managers better to keeping up with consistent performance management processes, the key to happy and engaged remote employees who are making progress becomes clear: soft skills.

Soft skills are personal attributes such as leadership, communication, or time management. Hard skills, on the other hand, are related to specific technical knowledge and training such as speaking a foreign language or the ability to use computer programs. Just like hard skills, a person’s soft skills are crucial to success, yet often overlooked.

Nobody works in a vacuum, people still need to interact. Working remotely effectively requires a lot of communication, self-management, and collaboration especially when working on projects over a video call. In the “new normal”, hard skills are useless without soft skills.

We would like to share with you 5 soft skills our colleagues have demonstrated during this remote work switch that has proven crucial for successful teamwork and overall progress.

How to improve soft skills via peer feedback

Do your Pulse Survey results show that employees want more feedback and recognition? One way to continue the performance management process and ensure employees are maximizing their learning from this remote working experience is to run a peer review on remote working skills.

In a peer review, individuals receive feedback from colleagues with a focus on developing each other's strengths and weaknesses. A self-assessment can be included to let employees evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses.

Peer Reviews are a great way for peers to share visions on what success looks like, and help each other become more successful. It’s crucial to regularly check-in with peers, understand how you can support them better from a distance and make sure that everyone stays aligned while doing home office.

Peer review example questions.

Find out how to run a Peer Review, and see our example questions and template communication here.

With a Peer Review focused on remote working skills, you allow your workforce to keep learning and develop into rounded resilient professionals who are ready for the next challenge.

Next in our series

In this post, we shared what skills and competencies are needed for an individual to effectively work remotely. Next in our Remote Work & COVID-19 Response series, we will focus on the skills and competencies that managers need to effectively manage remote teams.

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