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Proving the Value of Soft Skills

  • October 22, 2020
  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PDT)
  • Online(PT time)
  • 53


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Soft skills programs should perform and deliver results just like other learning programs. If the program is designed to drive business impact, then it should drive business impact. From the impact, the ROI can be calculated. Professionals involved in soft skills programs must be prepared to step up to the challenge of showing the value of major programs and initiatives, not only when impact and ROI are requested, but ideally before the request is made. Five levels of outcomes exist for every soft skills program, which represents a chain of value (reaction, learning, application, impact, and ROI). The challenge is to decide which programs are evaluated at impact and ROI.

Serious Challenges for Soft Skills

Unfortunately, L&D has faced some challenges to deliver results from soft skills that executives appreciate and understand. In our polling with practitioners, we repeatedly find the following statements to be true based on the perception of these practitioners. To deliver the value that executives need from soft skills, each of the answers should be false. 

  1. Most soft skills are wasted (not used after participating in a program). 

  2. The soft skills outcome desired by executives is rarely measured in organizations. 

  3. Most soft skills providers do not have data that shows they make a difference in the organization. 

  4. Most executives see soft skills as a cost and not an investment. 

  5. Executives see hard skills as more valuable than soft skills. 

The Approach

We all need soft skills. Whether leadership development, communications, team building, problem-solving, empowerment, critical thinking, or even mindfulness, soft skills are important and can drive significant value. The problem is executives haven’t seen the value of the soft skills programs in terms they appreciate and understand. Consequently, they call these skills, “Fluff.”

The challenge is to evaluate a major soft skills program at the impact and ROI level. Some learning professionals are reluctant to go down this path because they are concerned that soft skills programs do not deliver a positive ROI. This misconception is playing right into the hands of the executives who are calling soft skills programs “fluff.” The reality is that you can show the ROI, and the odds are high that the ROI is greater for soft skills programs than for hard skills programs.

To ensure that soft skills programs deliver and show business results, essential steps are necessary at the beginning of the implementation of a soft skills program, during the execution, and after implementation. With this approach, the impact and positive ROI are almost guaranteed. 

Description Webinar:

This webinar will provide useful, practical tools to help you show the value of soft skills programs. Presented in an easy-to-understand format, this interactive session shows how to measure the business value of soft skills programs and how to calculate the ROI.

This webinar also provides detailed case study examples to show how to measure and evaluate different soft skill programs and initiatives. Participants will see what is being measured, how it is being measured, and how the data are used to improve the soft skills programs and influence more investment in soft skills.

Learning Objectives

After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the value chain for soft skills.

  2. Describe the need to show impact and ROI for major programs.

  3. Design soft skills programs to deliver impact and ROI.

  4. Explain how to measure program results at all five levels of outcomes.


Each participant in this webinar will receive a handout, application guide, ROI process model, and a soft skills case study example from ATD’s newest book Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI, by Patti P. Phillips, Ph.D., Jack J. Phillips, Ph.D., and Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D.


Jack J. Phillips, Ph.D., is a world-renowned expert on accountability, measurement, and evaluation and chairman of ROI Institute, through which he provides consulting services for Fortune 500 companies and workshops for major conference providers around the world. With more than 27 years of corporate experience in the aerospace, textiles, metals, construction materials, and banking industries. Jack has served as a training and development manager at two Fortune 500 firms, senior HR officer at two firms, president of a regional federal savings bank, and management professor at a major state university. Jack is also the author or editor of more than 100 books and more than 300 articles. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Fortune magazine, among other outlets. Jack is the recipient of many awards, including ATD’s Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Development award, the Brand Personality Award from Asia Pacific Brands Foundation for his work as an international consultant, author, teacher, and speaker. The International Society for Performance Improvement gave him the prestigious Thomas F. Gilbert Award in 2018.

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