Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success
If you have been in business any length of time then you know that a large percentage of young people preparing to enter the workforce and employees currently working for you are significantly lacking in the “soft” or applied skills — such as teamwork, decision-making, and communication — that will help them become effective employees and managers. In addition, in a Job Outlook survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), the top characteristics looked for in new hires by 276 employer respondents were all soft skills: communication ability, a strong work ethic, initiative, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. Lastly, the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) found that while credentials (degrees and certificates) are important, it is the development of soft skills (those that are more social than technical) that is critical to developing a strong, vibrant workforce.
Interestingly, research also suggests that soft skills are not just important for first-time employees. According to a poll released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), many workplace soft skills have become more important for the experienced professional. These skills include critical thinking/problem solving, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork/ collaboration, and adaptability/flexibility.
According to the National Collaborative for Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), the development of soft skills is identified as a critical component for success in activities such as civic participation and youth leadership in addition to school- and work-based learning experiences. During the discussion, participating companies identified the following competencies as key to the success of workers: Communication; Networking; Enthusiasm and Attitude; Teamwork; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking; and Professionalism.
The Kentucky Career Center – Cumberlands can provide assistance to employers and employees through materials and classes taught by professionals to assist them. Below are two programs that can of assist you and contact information for a One Stop near your location:
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills — Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success — U.S. Department of Labor
Fast Forward to Work — Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP)
Kentucky Career Center - Campbellsville
1311 East Broadway
Campbellsville, Ky. 42718
Kentucky Career Center - Russell County
2384 Lakeway Drive
Russell Springs, Ky. 42642
Kentucky Career Center - Somerset
410 E. Mt. Vernon St.
Somerset, Ky. 42501
Kentucky Career Center - Corbin
310 E. Center Street
Corbin, Ky. 40701