At last! A company that is taken seriously is taking the lead to promote soft skills.
McDonald's is heading the campaign Backing Soft Skills to raise awareness of the massive impact of soft skills on the UK economy, but also to enlist more companies and individuals in developing soft skills within organisations throughout the nation.
Partnered by other leading companies and individuals , including primo entrepreneur James Caan OBE, Backing Soft Skills has undertaken detailed research which is a boon to soft skills training companies like Impact Factory.
For years training organisations (Impact Factory included) have often had uphill battles trying to convince companies that investing in soft skills will improve their bottom line. Inevitably they ask for hard evidence, which has not been that easy to obtain.
Not any more.
Hooray! Go on to the Backing Soft Skills website and download their comprehensive research undertaken by Development Economics) on the validity and necessity of soft skills to improve the economy.
The research sums up: "Today, soft skills are worth over £88 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy each year, underpinning around 6.5% of the economy as a whole."
Impact Factory has been running soft skills, interpersonal skills training for nearly 25 years and we know the efficacy of developing people's people skills. We actually call what we offer Professional Personal Development as it develops the whole person, not just the work person.
Pretty much every organisation invests in hard skills before investing in soft skills (if they ever do), and yet the best processes, systems and techniques will never achieve their full potential if the people in charge of them don't reach theirs.
Everyone reading this blog will have had an experience of poor customer service or an appalling miscommunication with a salesperson who couldn't be bothered or a frustrating conversation with a call centre, any one of which would most likely have ended differently if the 'villains of the piece' (which is how we see them when we aren't treated well) had had professional development training.
Soft skills training gives individuals a huge range of behaviour choices so that when they use these skills they are able to transform their relationships, whether they are with customers, colleagues or strangers at the end of a phone.
They provide people with increased confidence and self-esteem and insight into what works about themselves but also how communication works. When individuals understand how a thing works they have far more choice in the way they use that 'thing' be it face to face customer communication or driving a car.
And as the report points out and Impact Factory has been highlighting for years, interpersonal skills aren't just for the workplace; they have an equally potent impact on families, friends and communities. Everyone benefits.
We celebrate McDonald's for launching this campaign. We encourage companies to join the campaign and become part of the Backing Soft Skills movement.
If soft skills can have such an impact on the economy at the level it currently does, can you imagine what that impact would be if the use of soft skills doubled?
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory