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Students are required to select an organisation then prepare and present a persuasive report to management explaining why the organisation would benefit from increasing its investment in ‘soft skills’ training. It is necessary to analyse key internal and external factors impacting on the organisation and identify any training gaps. Students should explain how this particular type of training could add value to an organisation and be explicit as to who will be trained and how. The logistics of training also need to be explained. The report should be logical and sequential and should clearly link an increased investment in this specific type of training with sustainable competitive advantage. The report should demonstrate that the student has read widely and be fully referenced.

Oral presentation = 10%, 10 minutes duration

The oral presentation will:

  • outline the major findings of your report
  • clearly demonstrate the value of the preferred training for the organisation
  • Presentation length: 10 minutes
  • Due date: eek commencing 17th October in class time (Schedule will depend on class numbers and dates will be confirmed by your teacher). You must be present during class time to deliver your presentation.
  • Value: 10%

Soft skills and their importance in the workplace

Soft skills are interpersonal skills and character traits that that influence individual relationship with others. Considering the workplace, soft skills are measured proficient to hard skills; these include person’s occupational skills and a person’s knowledge. Soft skills may include factors like Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Soft skills are essential for an individual at the workplace, it includes the development of sharp memory and enhances concentration, development of high self-esteem, enhances body language, that is improving person posture, style of walking and shaking hand with others, and behavior for which people will like that individual (Gibb, 2014).

Benefits of Soft Skills training also include, stress management through various techniques of controlling mind and handling stress and enhancement of influential communication skills. A person can excel in giving interview through enhancement of interview skills, excel in public speaking and presentation, enhance leadership skills of an individual, learning better time management, development of positive mental attitude towards people and work (Carvalho & Junior, 2015).

For understanding the relevance of soft skill training, the organization selected is “Unilever Australia limited.” Analyzing the company’s external and internal factors and identifying the influence of soft skills training on the organization will be discussed in the report. The relevance of implementation of this training for adding value to the company will be further included in the report.

The company was founded by William Hesketh Lever, and incorporated in Sydney, Australia. Lever brother initiated production of soap in Sydney in 1899 and in New Zealand in 1919. Unilever Australia Limited involves the manufacturing and trading of wellbeing and food products in Australia. The company offers various range of products, where consumer product includes olive oils, ice creams, teas, snacks, and meals. Personal care products like shampoos, deodorants, soaps, body sprays, shower gels, antiperspirants, and soaps. Home care products like cleaners, fabric conditioners, and laundry detergents. The company operates as a subsidiary of Unilever PLC (unilever, 2018).

STRENGTH

· Size of the company

· Geographical spread

· Human resource

· Sustainability and environmental

WEAKNESS

· Broad product portfolio

· Prices

OPPORTUNITY

· Social media advertising

· Research and development

· Rising health consciousness

THREAT

· Major competitors

· Premium brands

· Food prices

Explanation of SWOT

  • Size of the company- the company manufactures more than 400 brands
  • Geographical spread- the company serves around 190 countries, which also leads to brand recognition and brand loyalty.
  • Human resource – highly skills and knowledgeable human capital is a major strength of the company. More than 167,000 employees are associated with Unilever.
  • Sustainability and environmental – companies strategy involves sustainability as a major concern which is beneficial for company growth
  • Broad product portfolio- the company offers the consumer, personal care, and household products. Due to this a company would unable to focus on marketing efforts effectively
  • Prices – this could be the major weakness of the company. The prices are higher of the products as compared to their major threats; this could be due to high quality. Still, it can be one of the weakness
  • Social media advertising – the company invest a major proportion in advertising, social media can be an opportunity for the company to gain an advantage, due increase in the use of social media platforms.
  • Research and development – searching opportunities can be conducted through investing in research and development for new product development ideas(Rajapakse, 2016)
  • Rising health consciousness-, this can lead to an opportunity for the company to introduce new product considering health issues(Yam, Nichols, & Lindberg, 2017).
  • Major competitors- Nestle and Procter and gamble are major competitors of Unilever, it can be a threat to the company in the future.
  • Premium brands- a premium brand of Unilever is focusing over disposable income change in income structure or financial uncertainty can lead to a threat to the company(Hasan, 2015).  
  • Food prices- food prices are increasing worldwide day by day, this cost can threat to current profit margins of the company
  • Stable and safe political system - Australia is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II. The queen at the federal level represents governor-general. Head of government is Prime minister of Australia(Findlay & Garnaut, 2017).
  • Australia is the sixth largest country worldwide, which can be beneficial for Unilever to gain the opportunity
  • United nation has criticized the country for the undesirable protection of indigenous rights, human rights, and lack at refugee’s treatment. This could be a concern for Unilever to perform in the country
  • Thirteenth largest economy worldwide is of Australia. In 2017, the economic growth was 2.4 percent, which was below expectation (Ma, Rasul, & Liu, 2016). In 2018, the expected growth was 3% that indicates the gradual growth of the business as well. This could be beneficial for Unilever
  • According to the Australian taxation office, Australia company tax rate is 30 percent, which Unilever has to consider while trading (Ma, Rasul, & Liu, 2016)
  • Top imports of the country include machinery, electrical equipment and machinery, vehicles, furniture, pharmaceuticals, precious metals, and plastic. It may impact Unilever’s cost of production(Ma, Rasul, & Liu, 2016)
  • Considering factors related to education, wealth, quality of life and health makes Australia as one of the favorable countries to live. This is beneficial for Unilever to conduct business and increase growth opportunity for the firm in Australia
  • The population size of Australia is 22.9 million, which is relatively small (Ma, Kent, & Mulley, 2016)
  • Life expectancy of 80 years for men and for women it is 84 years, which is a plus point to trade in such an environment (Ma, Kent, & Mulley, 2016)
  • Working-age people are few in number, which can be concerning area for Unilever
  • It is one of the most multiracial and multicultural country worldwide
  • The policy of mass immigration is adopted by Australia, however, migration in Australia is a politically complex issue
  • Residents of Australia are usually hardworking, outward looking, and lively. That will benefit Unilever in the human capital enhancement(Ma, Kent, & Mulley, 2016)
  • Australia is a technologically advanced country worldwide.
  • When compared to other developed countries, Australia is considered to be, new technology adaption at a faster rate. Which is beneficial for Unilever to producing and development of new products
  • More innovation and designs are likely to introduce due to the increase in artificial intelligence, software, equipment, and computers. This could be beneficial for the company to operate with upgraded technology in Australia(Aas & Rubin, 2015).

Through soft skill training, employees are trained to build a relationship with coworkers, customers, employers, and other stakeholders at the workplace (Pandey, 2015)

Through soft skill training, managing time is taught to the employees, which will result in effective time management method for the organization, and timely completion of projects and tasks.

Communication plays an important part at every level of management and employees, learning an effective way of communication is beneficial for individual and company as well. This is especially necessary for the sales and marketing team, who are in direct link with the customer. To explain the product and convince the client to purchase the same, communication skills must be refined.

Benefits of soft skills training

Soft skill training include improvement in creativity, productivity, efficiency, and teamwork which will lead to the development of improved leadership skills to managers and team leaders

Soft skill training is helpful in developing presentation skills of the individual which is very useful in the planning process, and implementing a process like explain the project using different tools, enhancing sales, and relationship development. If the thoughts are not presented appropriately, it is of no use.  

Through soft skill training, change and transition strategies can be effectively implemented. Change management is a challenging task at the workplace, due to resistance to change. This can be managed through soft skill training  (Pandey, 2015)

Soft skill training includes brainstorming activities; it leads to collaborative outcomes, creativity, and most importantly a strategy for problem-solving

Soft skill training includes exercises to diminish stress for individuals. In the large corporates like Unilever, the stress involved is very high, which can be bad for the health of an individual and reduce productivity at the organization. Stress management becomes essential at such workplace, which can be done through soft skill training  (Pandey, 2015)

The training will be provided to all employees of the company. There can be various ways through which training can be provided with the following steps:

Through the method of Seminars and Programs, the need for soft skills is identified. To improve emotional intelligence among the employees, training programs and seminars are offered to employees at the conventions and local events. For making employees interact with others to improve communication, sociable and improve inherit characteristics. It is a realization for the employees that they require to learn soft skills to convince people and communicate with them (fosteredu.pennfoster.edu, 2018).

After assessing the need for training, the skills required to reach a definite goal is identified. The impact of the training program is identified at this stage. The soft skills, which will be included in the training program, will be defined.

The decision regarding the delivery method is taken at this stage. Either classroom training can be conducted or through e-learning  (fosteredu.pennfoster.edu, 2018).

At this stage, the requirement of resources is identified that are needed for training program implementation moreover, who will teach the soft skills are also decided at this stage, and teaching material too  (fosteredu.pennfoster.edu, 2018).

At this last stage, keeping a track over outcomes of the training program, it is important to check if the performance planned is realistic and approachable through the training provided to the employee. In case of any variations, controlling is processed to ensure if the results are positive and as per planning  (fosteredu.pennfoster.edu, 2018).

Background of Unilever Australia Limited

Through enhances the soft skills of employees and managers, customer relationship management is also improved, providing additional value to Unilever

Productivity will be increased through more managed work, time management, and stress management. Which will eventually lead to the growth of the company and profit gains to the company (Groh, 2016)

Customer satisfaction is a major goal of the company, which can be achieved through soft skills of employees.

Through soft skill training, employees remain motivated and the turnover rate is reduced. This will eventually provide better performance of the organization and result in value addition to Unilever.

Customer service is improved with soft skill training, as communication is improved, and the team become more helpful to the customers (Groh, 2016)

Through soft skill training, the company can gain a competitive advantage over its competitors like Proctor and Gamble in case of Unilever

Soft skill training leads to strong leadership and strong team management, which will result in the effective and efficient completion of the project. It will create value addition for Unilever as a whole.

The knowledge is improved with soft skills training of support and service strategies, technologies, and process. It will result in effective implementation of the project and timely completion with accuracy (Groh, 2016).

Conclusion

From the report, it can be concluded that the soft skills are inherent characteristics in an individual. These have due relevance at workplace, Unilever case is taken for study of this topic. Unilever Australia limited is taken specifically, for which internal and external factors were analyzed through SWOT analysis and PEST analysis. The major benefits of investing in soft skill training for Unilever included time management, effective communication, change management, problem solving, stress management strategies, and relationship enhancement. There are five steps in soft skill training program logistics. Soft skill training has added value to Unilever, that includes Increased credibility with Customers; More productive employees; Increased customers satisfaction; Reduced employee turnover; Established dedication to customer support and service; Strong team and leadership. Therefore, it is recommended to Unilever to invest in soft skills training of its employees for more efficient work, and growth of the company. Seminars and periodic feedback should be included in this training.

References

Aas, T., & Rubin, T. (2015). Knowledge flow in technological business incubators: evidence from Australia and Israel. Technovation, 11.

Carvalho, M., & Junior, R. (2015). Impact of risk management on project performance: the importance of soft skills. International Journal of Production Research, 321-340.

Findlay, C., & Garnaut, R. (2017). he political economy of manufacturing protection: Experiences of ASEAN and Australia. London: Routledge.

fosteredu.pennfoster.edu. (2018). Five Steps to Develop an Employee Soft Skills Training Program - Part 1 . Retrieved from fosteredu.pennfoster.edu: https://fosteredu.pennfoster.edu/five-steps-to-develop-an-employee-soft-skill-training-program-part-1

Gibb, S. (2014). Soft skills assessment: theory development and the research agenda. International journal of lifelong education, 455.

Groh, M. (2016). The impact of soft skills training on female youth employment: evidence from a randomized experiment in Jordan. IZA Journal of Labor & Development, 9.

Hasan, M. (2015). Marketing Analysis of Unilever. Total Quality Management, 13.

Ma, L., Kent, J., & Mulley, C. (2016). Transport Disadvantage, Social Exclusion and Subjective Wellbeing: The Role of Built Environment-Evidence from Sydney, Australia. In Australasian Transport Research Forum.

Ma, W., Rasul, M., & Liu, G. (2016). Climate change impacts on techno-economic performance of roof PV solar system in Australia. Renewable Energy, 430.

Pandey, M. (2015). Global employability of unemployed youth through soft skill. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies, 73.

Rajapakse, P. (2016). Contamination of food and drinks: Product liability in Australia. Deakin L. Rev, 45.

unilever. (2018). Our History in Australia & New Zealand. Retrieved from unilever.com.au: https://www.unilever.com.au/about/who-we-are/our-history-in-australia-new-zealand/

Yam, C., Nichols, T., & Lindberg, R. (2017). The Healthy Eating Agenda in Australia. Is Salt a Priority for Manufacturers? Nutrients, 881.

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[Accessed 29 February 2024].

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