Working Smart in the workplace: Soft-skills training solution on the way

October 17, 2014 |

Recently ABB, the power and automation technologies company, added the following “Main Responsibilities and Accountabilities” to its job profile:

People-related skills

  • upholds ethics and values; demonstrates integrity; promotes and defends equal opportunities; encourages organizational and individual responsibility towards the community and the environment
  • demonstrates an interest in and understanding of others; adapts to the team and builds team spirit; listens, consults others and communicates proactively; supports and cares for others
  • able to follow directions; sets appropriate standards of behaviour; motivates others; seeks development opportunities and coaching
  • speaks fluently; expresses opinions, information and key points of an argument clearly; responds quickly to project needs

Paula Marks, ABB human resources business partner, says, “It’s critical to find candidates with a good sense of core values that align with our corporate values.”

At times, such candidates may be hard to find. Through surveys, focus groups and interviews, employers such as ABB continue to express concern over the lack of soft skills among job applicants and new hires. In response to their concerns, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Partners have produced an extensive five-module soft-skills curriculum, Working Smart: Soft Skills for Workplace Success.

The course (16 lessons taught over 24 hours) presents work- and life-skills to enhance employee productivity. After laying a solid foundation of self-awareness and self-management skills, Working Smart covers topics such as employer expectations, workplace ethics and accountability, communication and problem-solving.

Several local organizations that work to equip job-seekers for new opportunities are now using Working Smart with their clients, and employers will soon see resumes that include the Working Smart certification. This lets an employer know that the candidate has been better-prepared to meet the demands of the job beyond the technical requirements.

While employers will benefit from seeking Working Smart-certified applicants, they can also realize great value from the program in another way: improving the soft skills of current employees through in-house training can lead to greater employee productivity and turnover reduction.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Partners stand ready to assist employers by providing soft-skills training. Employers can select specific modules or lessons to be presented based on organizational needs. They can also have their own staff trained to deliver the Working Smart curriculum to train new hires, as ongoing professional development for staff, or as an intervention when performance improvement is needed.

If you’re interested in learning more about Working Smart, contact James Merrick, program coordinator, at 704.206.1379. (Note: Charlotte Works will host an interactive, informational workshop for employers in the next few months.)

 

Meeting employer needs: closing the soft-skills gap (April 2014)