Last week I read an article in the e-BBC News, Education and Family section that brought music to my ears!
It read, “Soft skills” need to be taken much more seriously as factors for business success, says a campaign by employers. These are skills such as communication, initiative, interacting with customers and team working. Research commissioned by the campaign suggests such skills are worth £88bn to the UK economy.
As far as I am concerned, this is a real breakthrough and at long last this topic is being aired and talked about, it is one of the areas that has been swept under the carpet in order for large employers to, as they perceive it, protect their reputation and I am pleased that McDonalds are keen to challenge the whole concept that soft skills is a wooly concept with no clear economic value. As the research discussed in this article has proven this is an antiquated and unproven myth.
Employers in this current climate should take heed and as a call to action invest in taking a skills audit of their staff in order to ensure that they have bespoke training and development for the future.
I am absolutely passionate about the role of soft, or as I would prefer, essential life skills in the workplace and I have invested in literally thousands of hours and as many pounds, developing programmes and content to get this message across. It is great to see that major employers such as Barclays and the CBI are backing a campaign and can also see the value in making sure that their staff have the soft skills as well as the core training to meet their job specification and business objectives.
These days with the internet, social media, computer games and text messaging we have forgotten the basics of how to communicate on a 1-1 basis and those of us in business know how important 1-1 or face to face human interaction is in securing and generating income. It isn’t always young people that lack the soft skills. People who may have been out of work for a while, returning after childbirth or a period of illness; or perhaps those who have been through redundancy and lost confidence in what they are doing; in fact all of our employees should be offered the chance to develop such skills and be able to build their confidence.
Every employer should be working hard to develop their workforce and to support their employees in progressing to the next stage of their employment; it not only helps them in doing the job well but will undoubtedly improve their output and performance at the same time, not to mention improving the happiness factor within the team. It is so true that a happy positive team with a basic plan will outperform a miserable team with a brilliant plan, every time and you don’t need me to tell you that a happy and cohesive team will increase business turnover.
So, what are you doing to make sure that your staff are properly supported and skilled in the softer side of life?