What are Hard Skills and How Do They Benefit Your Organization?
There are skills that every employee needs. It’s what makes them an expert in their field, and capable of doing their job. They’re called hard skills.
In contrast to soft skills, they’re more quantifiable and concrete. They add value for your teams, and the business overall.
Being so important, it’s essential that your organization continuously offers hard skills training so your employees can progress and improve, fueling your business’ growth. Here’s our guide to what hard skills are, and how you can train your workforce in them using a learning management system (LMS).
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are technical skills that are job-specific. Gained through education, certifications, training, and work experience, these skills are taught, measurable, and can be tested through exams and practical assignments.
For most roles, hard skills are a must-have. For example, knowing how to use a point-of-sale system when working in the retail or hospitality sector. Without this knowledge, your employees can’t do what is expected and required of them in their role.
The big advantage of these skills is that they are mastered over time. Your employees gain this type of skill by attending college, doing an online or in-person training course, or on-the-job learning.
Hard skills examples
There’s an endless list of hard skills that every industry and job needs. Here are some common examples:
And then there’s the ones that are needed for specific roles. For example, if you were hiring an accountant, you’d expect some of their hard skills to be:
- Ability to use accounting software
- Interpretation of financial statements
- Understanding of regulations and procedures
Benefits of hard skills training
Having highly trained employees with the right hard skills for their industry and role leads to higher productivity. Why? Well, they have the knowledge to effectively complete tasks as well as tackle any challenges that arise. These employees are less likely to become stuck on a problem. And if they do, they’ll be able to communicate the issue so it’s resolved quickly.
Increased employee performance
Hard skills are easy to quantify; they can be measured and assessed. This makes performance reviews easier for management – you can pinpoint areas for praise and improvement, making it simpler to set and achieve goals.
Having a high number of employees with hard skills creates an efficient working environment. Combine this with strong employee satisfaction and low employee turnover rates, costs should decrease and you’ll get a higher ROI. Additionally, by having the skills you need in-house, there’s no need to outsource them, saving on costs like consultation fees.
How to deliver hard skills training with an LMS
With hard skills being such an essential part of your organization’s success, it’s critical you keep your employees up-to-speed on the skills they need and help them upskill existing ones.
Hard skills training can be delivered in a different ways – either in-person or through a learning management system. Simple to manage and learner-friendly, let’s focus on how to deliver this training with an LMS.
Ensure training is easy to do
Making your hard skills training easily accessible to all learners is key. By using an LMS, all of the right course content is available to them at the click of a button.
All your employees have to do is log in to the LMS, from there they can complete the courses they’ve been enrolled in by your admins or self-select courses to complete from a catalog. This gives them access to the resources they need to stay ahead in their field.
On top of that, many LMS’s offer Single Sign-On (SSO). This enables your learners to only have to sign into one system, like Google Suite, and they’re securely logged into your LMS. All of this adds up to learners having a seamless training experience, and reduces any user-experience issues that will distract them from gaining new skills.
Easy to manage for you
A great LMS will give you the ability to automate tasks, saving you time. For example, integrating your LMS with third-party applications, like a HR system will automatically complete manual actions, including user creation and access, data synchronization and enrollments. This allows you to easily manage access to courses and ensures everyone is getting the training they need, with minimal input from you.
Make learning available anytime, anywhere
When delivering hard skills training, it’s a smart idea to make the training as accessible as possible. This is where mobile learning, or mLearning, comes in.
Mobile learning refers to training or learning completed through a portable device, like a mobile phone or tablet. It enables your team members to complete training anytime, anywhere. It gives power back to the learner, enabling them to learn hard skills when and where suits them best – sitting in a cafe or commuting to work.
Testing hard skills
Since hard skills are an essential part of a job, it’s critical you assess your learners understanding of what they’ve learned.
Within the LMS, you can add true or false questions and quizzes to courses. You can even get a learner to upload a video recording of themselves completing a task to demonstrate their new-found ability. This will prove they’ve acquired the knowledge they need to effectively perform their role and impactfully use the necessary hard skills.
Certify your learners
As hard skills are demonstrable skills that your employees can use in their current role and beyond, it’s best practice to provide proof that they’ve acquired them.
With an LMS this is easily done. You can tie a certificate to a course and once completed, the learner automatically receives it. Even better, if the course is being updated annually or bi-annually, you can set up automated recertification. This means your employee is automatically re-enrolled in the course when needed and recertified, so they’re always up-to-date with their training.
Measure the ROI
Reports give your organization insights to make changes and action improvements in all aspects of the business.
You can see who is completing their hard skills training and who is missing out, discover ways to improve your course, and most importantly, measure the return on investment of the training you’re delivering.
Does your organization currently deliver hard skills training? Or do you plan to in the future? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.