2020 provides an exceptional opportunity for this year’s graduates and school leavers to change the nature of the workplace. There’s a lot of concern about the difficulties they will face securing jobs post-pandemic. In an economic dip it’s going to be tough but consider the other angles.
The covid impact has enabled working from home to become possible on a huge scale. Combine that with our first generation to grow up digital from birth and we have the opportunity to make a seismic shift in the nature of our workplaces.
For those entering the workforce in 2020:
-Flexible working (in terms of location and hours) is no longer “for discussion” but a reality.
-Digital know-how is inherent.
-The benefits that diversity brings to a team are understood and respected.
-There is an expectation of a reasonable work/life balance and of employer support to enable long-term well-being.
Combine these attributes with the unprecedented accessibility of good quality, online learning platforms, all low-cost or free, to upgrade skills before and during employment. Both hard and soft skills for the workplace can be learnt, practised and tested online and in short time frames.
That’s good news for those employers and job-seekers who can be adaptable and open-minded about how to achieve their core aims.
Soft skills focus
As experts in conflict resolution, mediating successful outcomes in workplace cases, we see the impact of the gap in specific soft skills and the enormous cost it puts on UK businesses. Lack of training, or a breakdown, in interpersonal skills (particularly communication and empathy) directly impacts productivity and management time with conflicts frequently lasting for months or even years.
Early, low-cost training in these skills, together with basic conflict resolution tools, would make a significant difference to this business cost, as well as to the workplace well-being of many employees.
Who should provide that training….employers or educators?
By the time our 2020 job-seekers join the recruitment sites, those with these specific skills will already have an advantage. Indeed.co.uk (250million visitors per month) writes:
“The ability to resolve conflicts is often seen as a leadership trait. People who are able to identify conflicts, acknowledge different opinions and build a consensus are valuable to many organizations. They make it more likely for personal differences to be set aside so work can continue.”
That would suggest that these skills need to be taught first in school or university, a view supported by Bloomberg in Building Tomorrow’s Talent: 2018 which identified: “The most significant area in which graduates were lacking was soft skills – with 34% of corporations and 44% of academic institutions reporting that graduates possessed hard skills but lacked the necessary soft skills to perform at a high level in the workplace.” The report reflects that “this soft-skills deficit is problematic as it suggests new hires are ill-prepared to tackle some of the most difficult and common challenges they will face in today’s workplace”.
The class of 2020 have the opportunity to access, learn and apply these soft skills while they seek employment and when they join the workforce. Those of us with experience of the workforce pre-2020 can embrace these recent developments which will benefit us all, for the long-term.
For an interactive and engaging presentation, providing a “Toolbox” of conflict skills for your colleagues OR for support with an on-going conflict in your workplace, no matter how entrenched, get in touch.
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