THE LACK OF SOFT SKILLS
In survey after survey and conversation after conversation, employers, recruiters, educators and economic developers report workers in all professions and at all levels lack the needed “Soft Skills.” These Soft Skills include but not limited to problem solving, conflict resolution, communication, customer service and teamwork.
While not an entirely new term, “Soft Skills” commonly refer to personal attributes that enable one to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Soft Skills contrast to Hard or Technical Skills, which are generally more easily quantifiable and measurable. I would be the first to say the “Hard Skills” are the most important. We wouldn’t be in business if weren’t for the products we produce and the services we provide. But now more than ever, even the most technically focused managers are realizing those products and services are being minimized and slower to market absent the much needed “Soft Skills.”
In fact, at a recent conference, the president of one of the Big 3 automotive companies outlined three reasons his company is having difficulty hiring and retaining employees: (1) They can’t manage/comply with a basic work schedule (2) They can’t/won’t show up to work on time and (3) They can’t get along with others and work effectively in a team. He said, “While today’s employees are technically competent, they often lack the “Soft Skills.” They’re good at the “What” but no so good with the “Whom.”
A recent Chamber of Commerce report surveyed approximately 500 large and small employers asking their opinions of the state’s workforce. Twenty-seven percent said they have trouble employing people with good “Soft Skills,” which include personal responsibility, communication, and an ability to work well with others.
Most are familiar with rigorous certification programs (Certified Work Ready Community) allowing states and their communities the opportunity to demonstrate workforce readiness. Those criteria include high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, community commitment, educational attainment, Soft Skills development and Internet availability. Most are left scratching their heads asking: (1) What is Soft Skills? (2) How do I provide this to my community?
My responsibility; My Calling
With “Soft Skills” serving as the foundation for my 25-year training & development career and having been exposed to the best models on personal and organizational effectiveness, I naturally felt a responsibility and a calling to provide a solution to what employers were saying was a very serious problem: Employees, new and existing, are lacking the Soft Skills needed for individual and organizational success. Additionally, the lack of Soft Skills is impacting our ability to recruit new business/industry.
After hundreds of interviews with employers, employees, economic development professionals, chambers of commerce, local/state government and numerous others, three issues emerged:
- We haven’t defined “Soft Skills.” Most have a general idea of what is meant by “Soft Skills” but many lack the specifics needed for improvement, performance feedback/coaching and community transformation.
- We haven’t built the business case for “Soft Skills.” Specifically, how much do “Soft Skills” actually benefit our local industry? Of course, the next question is – from another perspective – how much is the lack of “Soft Skills” actually costing our community in recruiting new business/industry?
- Most importantly, we haven’t done the best job training employees, local communities, school systems and those responsible for economic development by providing easy to understand, non-academic and immediately usable tools guaranteed to enhance “Soft Skills.”
The Solution: Greg Coker’s Softskills Boot Camp
Based on the above issues, I developed a powerful workshop to accomplish three things:
- Define Soft Skills.
- Build the business and life case for Soft Skills.
- Provide easy to understand, non-academic tools that are guaranteed to enhance Soft Skills.
Topics include, but not limited to, the following:
- Leading, Managing & following
- Employee, Board & Community Engagement
- Emotional Intelligence
- Organizational Dynamics
Softskills Boot Camp is 100% customized to fit you and your organization’s needs and offered in both half-day and full-day sessions. My newly released book, “Soft Skills Field Manual” accompanies the workshop. My keynote, “The Hard Facts about Soft Skills” could be perfect for your next conference, chamber banquet, annual meeting, community event, etc.
Contact me today and start your community’s transformation!