High Five – Bringing Soft Skills to the Forefront

-

Kim Patrick

Career Ready Lancaster, through the hard work of educators, business partners, and community leaders,  has created the  High Five. The  High Five represents five critical soft skills that lead to school and work success:  Communication, Resilience, Integrity, Problem Solving, Teamwork.  These skills will continue to be highlighted much like character traits have been promoted within school districts for many years, but the High Five will go beyond school billboards and newsletters.  

Lessons are being created that will align with the High Five, reinforcing their importance in developing career readiness. The High Five presents an opportunity to deepen discussion and learning around soft skills and how they impact successful employment.  These discussions and promotion of the High Five will continue to evolve and permeate the Lancaster County education and employment landscape, connecting the classroom to the workplace in meaningful and progressive ways.   

According to the dictionary, soft skills are “the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.”  Indeed, one of the most popular job search sites in the US, expands on the difference between hard skills and soft skills this way: The key differences between hard skills and soft skills are how they are gained and used in the workplace. 

  • Hard skills are often gained through education or specific training. They include competencies like how to use a certain machine, software, or another tool. 
  • Soft skills are more often seen as personality traits you may have spent your whole life developing. They are called upon when you manage your time, communicate with other people, or confront a difficult situation for the first time. 
  • Put another way, hard skills could be defined as your technical knowledge whereas soft skills are your overall habits in the workplace.

How do we learn soft skills and how do we teach them?  Soft skills are learned as we mature, and as we face new challenges, and seek new ways to solve problems.  Soft skills are reinforced at home, at the dinner table, at church and in the classroom and workplace.  Soft skills can be learned and most importantly practiced. The High Five creates the foundation for this work and moving the High Five from the theoretical to the applied is the goal of CRL!.

According to the Top 5 Recruiting Trends for 2021 | SkillSurvey Blog, hiring for soft skills will be an essential tactic for recruiting qualified candidates from any industry, as soft skills reflect more on an individual’s personality, character and behavioral traits — things that make for a good employee — than on measurable hard skills. Soft skills are so important that they are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote an employee.  

How well do you communicate?  How resilient are you when faced with disappointing results, how do you demonstrate integrity?   How have you used your problem-solving skills successfully?  What makes you a good team player?    Think about it… your soft skills could be the very thing that gets you a new job or a promotion. Or, if your soft skills are not developed, you may have trouble keeping a job or getting hired in the first place.  Career development from beginning to the end requires both hard skills and soft skills.   As you gain your technical knowledge in whatever field you decide to pursue or whatever career path you travel down,  take the  High Five with you.  They will serve you well. 

The Bench Mark Program – A Powerful Mentoring Model