All posts tagged: leadership

Top Soft Skills in the 21st Century Workplace

By Hannah Henry, Manager of Marketing & Public Relations, Brand
Junior Achievement USA

City & Guilds CEO, Chris Jones, once said, “Unfortunately, some people believe that soft skills aren’t that important. However, almost every employer I’ve ever talked to about this disagrees. In a world where job roles are changing rapidly, soft skills will be one of the few constants…” When you think about all of the new colleagues you have met over the years, the teams you’ve worked on, and the challenges you’ve faced within your business, soft-skills are at the heart of it all.

While some might argue that soft skills hold lesser value to a business, a report from International Association of Admin Professionals, OfficeTeam and HR.com reveals 67% of HR managers reported they would hire a candidate with strong soft skills, even if his or her technical skills were lacking. Why might this be? Employees with strong soft skills have the ability to grow and flourish in any environment due to the fact that they have experience and interpersonal skills that make adapting easier than those who lack such skills.

Soft skills include communications, listening, and emotional perceptivity, such as empathy and sympathy. These skills tend to reside in personal attributes, personality, and character traits, and social cues picked up throughout one’s life. These skills allow people to connect with one another by effectively “reading” those they interact with. These are not skills that are learned in a short period of time, instead, they are acquired, tuned, and even perfected throughout experiences and time.

Building Soft Skills in the Workplace

Research from the Hay Group identified managers that incorporate a range of “soft talent”, those with soft skills, in their leadership approach have been shown to increase their team performance by about 30%. Through the survey work of LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates, it was determined: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management were the 5 most in-demand soft skills sought by companies in 2019. How can a company harness these skills in their workplace? The answer is not to find new candidates to fill positions. Training in these areas is available. In fact, research from MIT Sloan determined that soft skills training may improve productivity within an organization. Findings also included that such training returned roughly 250% on investment within eight months post-study.

Finding Candidates with Soft Skills

Hard skills or technical skills are easier to identify when meeting a potential employee. For the most part, the candidate will include their experience and hard skills on their resume, as well as mention them in an interview. Soft skills are not so easy to identify. When you’re looking at a possible candidate for a position, most employers are looking to ensure a person can do the job at hand. They want to have the reassurance that this individual can handle the complexity of the workload and complete crucial projects. But by focusing on only this skillset, also known as “hard skills”, employers are overlooking the underlying skills that determine how a candidate will interact with those around them, be able to connect with their peers, managers, and even clients. Not everyone develops soft skills at the same pace, but experience assists with the development. More experience can equate to building stronger skills at a faster pace compared to those who have not stayed within a position or a company for long.

Interview Questions to Ask

LinkedIn revealed that only 60% of hiring managers agree that screening for soft skills is tough, but crucial as it will determine how new hires will be able to interact with your team. The professional networking platform identified 6 key soft skills and questions to ask to decode how a candidate’s level of soft skills.

1.  Adaptability

Ask the candidate to discuss a time when they were asked to do something they haven’t done before, how they reacted and what they learned.

2.  Culture Fit

Explore what the interviewee is looking for in a job by asking what three things are most important to them in a position or workplace environment.

3.  Collaboration

Have the candidate give examples of when they had to work with someone who was challenging to work with, how they handled working with this particular individual, and what the outcome was.

4.  Leadership

Ask the interviewee to discuss when something significant didn’t go according to plan at work, what was their role in the project or task, and the final result.

5.  Growth Potential

Have the candidate discuss how they handled a crisis or problem when their manager was unavailable and who they consulted with to determine the solution.

6.  Prioritization

Ask the interviewee to tell you about a time when they had to juggle several projects at the same time, how they were able to manage their time and the final result.

To learn more about how students can develop their soft skills to prepare for the workforce, check out JA Career Success®!

In addition, Junior Achievement of South Florida offers its program JA Career Bound to high school students in South Florida. JA Career Bound is a cutting-edge, skills-building leadership program where participants learn the skills necessary to succeed in today’s workforce.

After an opening retreat, students meet once a month for program days focused on specific industries. Students visit some of South Florida’s premier businesses to learn firsthand about the career opportunities and what companies are looking for in future employees. Students learn from top executives who share their journeys to success.

We use interactive JA curriculum to teach key work skills, including communication, critical thinking, goal setting, interviewing, personal branding, problem-solving, public speaking, resume building and teamwork. At the end of the year, students will have the opportunity to put their skills into action by participating in various paid internships with job shadowing. For further details, including registration, CLICK HERE

Top Soft Skills in the 21st Century Workplace
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Latinos In Action Students Enjoy Volunteer Experience

Junior Achievement of South Florida is honored to have more than 7,000 trained volunteer role models and mentors from the local community to help teach our core principles – entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. These dedicated individuals consist of working and retired business professionals, members of a corporate team, parents, college as well as high school students.

Recently, Monarch High School’s Latinos In Action group volunteered at JA World with the 5th graders from Liberty Elementary who participated at JA BizTown. This is a school that they typically tutor, which is why they came to help them throughout the simulation. Our team then asked their teacher, Christopher Machado, if there was a possibility that these students could come back and help other schools that have a huge need for volunteers. This is how the partnership was formed and has grown extensively in the course of a month.

The group’s mission is “to empower Latino youth to lead and strengthen their communities through college and career readiness.” It aligns perfectly with JA’s mission of inspiring and preparing youth to succeed in a global economy.

“We are always excited to have large volunteer groups, especially corporate teams, spending a day mentoring students at JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion,” said Alexa Diaz, Director of Community Outreach. “But it’s even more special when high school students take the initiative to volunteer. They are our future leaders.”

LIA has volunteered twice in JA BizTown, our engaging, hands on program introducing 5th graders to economic concepts, workplace skills, personal and business finances all in a simulated city built for young students. And, based on their reactions, it will not be the last time they volunteer at JA:

“My experience was fantastic and sensational. I felt great helping the kids getting their tasks done. I would volunteer at JA Biztown anytime.” -Steven Arbelaez, Grade 12

“I had a really fun time meeting the kids and getting to know them, leading them in life was exciting and adventurous.” -Tiffany Melo, Grade 12

“I had a great time at JA BizTown. I loved working with the kids because they were excited to do stuff and show up on ‘TV.’ It was a great experience for me and I made sure to make it a great experience for them as well.” -Angel Delgado, Grade 12

“My experience at JA was amazing and my kids were great! Whenever they needed help, they would come to me and they were really excited about ‘working’ and I made sure they had a good time (one of them gave me chips he was so nice).” -Heyleng Castro, Grade 11

“My experience as a high school volunteer at JA Biztown has been inspirational. I have been lucky to experience this in 5th and 8th grade, and now I get to experience how young children understand the real world. It brings a smile to my face when I see a child able to succeed and I feel very honored to be able to be a part of this wonderful experience.” -Stephanie Vargas, Grade 12

“My experience as a high school student and going to JA BizTown was great! This visit brought me so many memories, I had a good time and I would love to go again and volunteer.” -Michelle Zuniga, Grade 12

Thank you Latinos In Action students from Monarch High School for making a difference in the lives of the students we serve!

CLICK HERE to become a JA volunteer.

ABOUT LATINOS IN ACTION:

Latinos In Action (LIA) offers an asset-based approach to bridging the graduation and opportunity gap for Latino students, working from within the educational system to create positive change. Our program operates as a year-long elective course taught by a highly-qualified teacher at the middle school, junior high, and high school level. The end goal of everything we do is to empower Latino youth to lead and strengthen their communities through college and career readiness. We accomplish this by focusing on four pillars: leveraging personal and cultural assets, excelling in education, serving the community, and developing leadership skills.

Because of this unique combination, the LIA model has proven effective throughout the United States. Our students go on to successfully complete post-secondary education and earn a livable wage at a higher rate than the national average while continuing to lead and strengthen their communities. In 2015, LIA was awarded the White House Bright Spot for Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Excellence in Hispanic Education.

For more information about Latinos In Action nationwide, visit www.latinosinaction.org.

Latinos In Action Students Enjoy Volunteer Experience
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Junior Achievement of South Florida Partners with LB Class XXXVII

Junior Achievement of South Florida is honored to be selected as one of Leadership Broward Class XXXVII’s Community Projects. A team of local dedicated leaders will work with JA to create an alumni network. We are looking forward to connecting with  people in our community who participated in JA programs as youth, so they may share their story and the impact this experience had on their lives and careers.

We warmly welcome our LB team (above) Stephanie Marcoux, Jim Hammond, Angie Stone, Kesha Davis, Alex Ernest-Jones, Jarred John, Brian Seidenberg and Carolyn Rose to the JA family!

Leadership Broward is a premier leadership development program, designed for adults who currently hold leadership positions and are involved in their community. The 10-month long program begins with an announcement reception in August, followed by a two-day opening retreat in September. The monthly day-long sessions expose participants to the multitude of issues and resources related to our community.

During the program, each participant will be given the opportunity to develop a wealth of knowledge about Broward County, to build a valuable contact network, to learn facilitative leadership skills and to experience the feeling of making a positive difference in our community through a team community project.

About Leadership Broward Foundation

The Leadership Broward Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, is Broward County’s premier leadership development training organization with a 36-year history of helping emerging and established leaders to expand their leadership skills, enhance their knowledge of local and state issues, and leverage their individual passions to initiate positive change in the Broward County community.

Its mission, “to develop and inspire individuals to serve our community,” is accomplished through a range of programs starting with its signature Leadership Broward program, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at issues affecting the Broward County in the areas of government, education, business, media, transportation, criminal justice, history, environment, culture, arts, recreation, and health and community services. Youth Leadership Broward and Women Leading Broward round out the organization’s program offerings. For more information, visit www.LeadershipBroward.org or call 954-767-8866.

About Junior Achievement of South Florida

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) inspires and prepares youth to succeed in a global economy. JA provides real-world training in financial literacy including budgeting, spending, investing and the use of credit; offers cutting-edge skill-building opportunities that enable young people to explore meaningful, productive careers; teaches students how to start businesses; and introduces entrepreneurial values that strengthen workplaces. Last year, with the help of over 7,000 trained corporate and community volunteers, JA delivered over 20 various programs to almost 50,000 students in classrooms throughout Broward and South Palm Beach Counties and at JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion on the Broward College North Campus, a first-class facility housing JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. For more information about Junior Achievement of South Florida, visit www.JASouthFlorida.org.

Junior Achievement of South Florida Partners with LB Class XXXVII
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