Abilities such as communication, interpersonal skills and conflict management are a few of the essentials, and as performance is rooted in behaviour, it all comes down to the individuals of a workplace to march forward with the skills to better the organisation as a whole, (with top-level sponsorship, of course). Giving people those skills to own and run with is where we fit in.
Generally speaking, to get and keep your job you need to have a measured level of some sort of skill. Accountants need to be certified, for example. Tell me though, though they both know their stuff, which accountant do you keep when faced with having to make cuts within an organisation – the one who has a positive attitude, great work ethic and encourages colleagues, or the one who is inflexible and has a hard time admitting they’re wrong?
Whilst technical skill can and does unlock doors, soft skill ability wedges them open and slips you the keys to the house at the same time. Yet the soft skills gap is huge – many organisations assume either that soft skills come naturally universally, whilst the opposite is true, or that they aren’t a significant factor of success and growth in organisations.
Back in January last year we heard former Dragon and entrepreneur James Caan CBE talking about a new coalition, lead by McDonalds UK and supported by learndirect, calling for the re-evaluation of soft skills across UK businesses. It had been revealed, according to findings of recent research by The Development Economics group, that soft skills are “worth £88bn per year, particularly in businesses that rely on face-to-face human interaction“. The economic impact is based on factors such as increased workplace productivity and looking at what would be lost with a lack of soft skills. The study says that unless such skills are improved, over half a million UK workers will be “significantly held back” in their job opportunities by the end of the decade.
The report following the extensive study, released last year on behalf of Mcdonalds UK and found here, champions “the hard value of soft skills,” and outlines core recommendations for integrating and developing them in the workplace. Working with people is not simple, and knowing yourself, and in turn how to get along with others is crucial for success. The workplace has evolved an interpersonal dynamic that can’t be ignored. The acts of listening, presenting ideas, resolving conflict, and fostering an open and honest work environment all come down to knowing how to build and maintain relationships with people. As a leader, problem-solving, delegating, motivating, and team-building are all much easier if you have good soft skills.
Whilst McDonalds isn’t necessarily a name TCW would usually support, we are fully behind anyone who is making waves in the world of enhancing human behaviour and relationships in the workplace – we’ll be watching this with interest!
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