When I first began teaching second grade inclusion, something surprised me. The activities I anticipated being the most fun and enjoyable parts of the day ended up being the most challenging. Learning games, independent literacy stations, recess, and PE were the most challenging parts of our day. I found that almost every day, students would return from recess yelling at each other, hitting each other, and crying.
As a talent development consultant, when contracted to develop "onboarding" or "new hire" programs for fresh-to-the-workforce hires, I'm most often asked to create learning experiences that will teach business communication, relationship management, conflict resolution, professionalism & etiquette, time management, research & analysis, listening skills, and solving problems as a team.
"They are intelligent, capable, and technically savvy," one client said of his new sales hires, "but they show up not knowing how to behave and engage professionally in the workplace. They have to be told not to curse when speaking to clients, that ripped jeans are inappropriate work attire, and that e-mails need to be written in complete sentences. "
Professional organizations and businesses alike are all lauding this new crop of employees as highly qualified, innovative, ambitious, and skilled; however, their shortcomings in soft skills are impeding their success in the workplace.