Much has been discussed of late about graduates starting their careers with a perceived lack of “workplace ready” skills. But it’s not just the younger generation of workers that need help. If we take a look around the office it is generally quite easy to find examples of poor soft skills even in those who are experienced and highly qualified.
Good basic business skills come in a variety of forms such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, communication and team work to mention a few. And it’s not just soft skills where gaps have been identified. Britain’s digital skills gap is also a concern and could potentially be stifling growth, particularly in SMEs.
Soft skills fascinate me, mostly because they make the biggest impact in our success, yet they are the hardest to measure. We previously published an infographic on the common core skills managers needed in todays workplace. It covers areas such as delegating, where good organisation and communication skills are needed, conflict resolution to ensure individuals and teams are working together to achieve the right goals and problem solving.
Sometimes the problem isn’t that staff haven’t been trained or coached in the right areas, but that bad habits have simply taken over. Take time management for example, it is an area that a lot of people can struggle with, and in some cases find it hard to hold their hands up and ask for help.
Having attended one of our own webinars recently (Mastering your Workload Schedule), I realised just how easy it can be to develop bad habits. Many years ago I attended a time management course and learnt the importance of using Eisenhower's Urgent/Important matrix.
Each evening, before the next working day I would draw up my tasks and separate them into the four quadrants of the matrix. Whilst watching the webinar I glanced down and what did I see? A “list”, a big long list of important and urgent tasks jumbled together. It was something I knew I had to rectify immediately.
It also highlighted a significant point to me that not only should all staff have a strong grasp of basic business skills, but that it is essential that businesses and L&D teams support and encourage staff, regardless of their experience and level, to continually re-evaluate and develop in these important areas.
Naturally, some will be new to these skills and will need formal training, support and time to acquire them, whilst others will benefit from access to short sharp resources such as videos, webinars and even eLearning games, to help remind them of best practice and behaviours that are needed for their success.
Want to know more about business basics and how to ensure your people are up to the challenge? Get in touch with us now.
Stuart Ford, Learning Solutions Sales Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I will talk through my thoughts on some of the key challenges facing Learning and Development professionals, along with useful tips and advice.
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