By Katy Schulz
We hear a lot about “soft skills” and “work readiness” these days. What does that really mean? It’s partially interpersonal people-skills like getting along with others. It also includes behaviors like dependability and punctuality. Honesty, integrity, reliability, commitment and respect are also very desirable attributes for all workers.
We often see similar terms in job descriptions, like “transferable” skills or “employability” skills. These types of skills are closely related to personality and behavior and are universally in high demand for almost all employment capacities. Your “soft skills”, or lack thereof, are with you everywhere you go, but especially at work. This can be good or bad for your career growth.
How good are your skills in the following categories?
Communication (listening, understanding, writing, speaking)
Willingness to learn new information
Work ethic (dependability and honesty)
Teamwork (how you interact with others)
Even if a worker has fantastic technical skills, tardiness and absenteeism will cancel out any career-growth possibilities and possibly cause job loss. Most employers say that they can train a person on the technical details of doing a job, but they need and expect employees to have good work-ready skills when they walk in the door. These characteristics are intangible and difficult to quantify. Some people even say that they can’t be taught in a classroom or measured on paper. Or can they?
These days, many high schools, colleges and local training programs are adding classes to prepare students with the critical Work-Ready skills to increase success in the workplace. The WERN staff can direct member companies to a training provider and curriculum to enhance the skills of their workforce.