I just hung up the phone with a business executive who’s a dear friend of mine. He was angry about a recent hire he’d made — not so much with the young professional he hired, but with himself. In his determination to find a recent graduate with some hard skills (technical competencies), he overlooked a major soft skill that was now negatively affecting his team. Just a month after making the hire, he regretted it... and now, he has to host a difficult meeting with his young employee.
As he reminisced about the initial job interview he’d conducted, it was clear that the questions he’d asked were focused on “hard skills”. Unfortunately, none of his probing or searching (on social media sites) took into account the soft skill typically known as a positive mental attitude. “Ugh!” he muttered. “How could I be so blind?”
Students today may have mastered the classroom or figured out how to achieve a 4.0 GPA, but there’s a good chance they’ve never entered a workroom or a boardroom. This means they’ve built the hard skills, but without real world experience, many lack the soft skills that lubricate relationships and office culture.
Are Soft Skills Like Attitude That Big of a Deal?
According to Leadership IQ, attitude accounts for 89% of hiring failures. Employers who hire young professionals must understand how to assess candidates’ attitudes (including their coachability, emotional intelligence, soft skills and motivation), as well as how to equip them with the right habits and attitudes so they can flourish on the job.
It gets worse. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report, just 30% of employees are actively committed to “doing a good job.” A full 50% of employees are merely putting their time in, while the remaining 20% act out their discontent in counter-productive ways: negatively influencing co-workers, missing days on the job, or even driving customers way through poor performance. Gallup estimates that the 20% group alone costs the U.S. economy around half a trillion dollars each year.
How Do We Fix This?
To address this problem, I recommend you start at the TOP and the BOTTOM of your organization. This means investing in “soft skill development” for your top influential staff and your newest, young professionals.
The emerging generation is much too large for us to ignore investing in them, and it’s a win/win when we do: profits go up, the culture becomes healthier, and employees contribute to their own (and, as a result, the organization’s) success.
Simple Steps You Can Take to Develop Your Young Professionals:
- Select a group of influential young professionals to meet with weekly
- Host an initial meeting with them to cast your vision for developing them
- Give each a copy of Habitudes® for New Professionals (a new resource we designed specifically for businesses)
- Discuss one image each week, igniting conversation on vital soft skills
- Review the assignments at the end of each chapter to insure application
- Celebrate the training’s completion, and invite each employee to mentor new staff themselves
Habitudes for New Professionals is a complete kit designed to develop young staff members. It includes personal workbooks, an in-depth facilitator’s guide PowerPoint slides, and posters you can put up around your office. It also includes a bonus four-part video series that will enable you to better understand and connect with your Generation iY team members. If you’d like to know more, CLICK HERE.