FWC Business Retention & Expansion Interviews Identify Workforce/Talent as Top Challenge

While talent was the main challenge identified by companies last year in FWC Business Retention and Expansion conversations, 90% of the companies identified soft skills as a top hiring challenge in the current workforce climate. As job activities become automated, soft skills have become increasingly important. Deloitte conducted a study around soft skills and projects that “soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030."

Companies identify the following soft skills as being crucial success factors:

  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Empathy
  • Going above and beyond
  • Social intelligence
  • Relationship-building
  • Leadership skills

Eighty companies participated in the FWISD Industry Meeting and found soft skills to be listed among the most crucial skills considered in hiring. Companies can train for technical skills, but soft skills need to be taught and developed at an early age. Lou Ann Richardson, Commercial Banking Leaders at Wells Fargo, who attended the meeting, shared:

“At Wells Fargo, we are a ‘people business’ with relationship banking being who we are. It is critical that we can build trust and relationships with our customers and fellow colleagues, and this is done through great interpersonal skills as everyone is unique, and we have to be able to adapt and build relationships with everyone.”

Mike Coffey, President at Imperative Information Group, shared his thoughts:

“Although we call them soft skills, they are really the most critical skills. And they are hard to develop. I hear from employers all the time that their younger employees who are new entrants to the workforce, don’t have the basic people skills like thanking others for assistance, looking other people in the eye, accepting work instructions with grace, actively showing interest in doing a good job, or having a conversation in-person, over the phone, or on zoom.

Employers are often willing to invest in training for job-related skills—the technical things you need to know to do the job. But training someone to behave in what previous generations considered simply courteous and respectful is much more difficult. The young applicant who demonstrates those soft skills will often be preferred ahead of even more technically qualified candidates who lack the soft skills.”

As soft skills continue to rank as high priority across membership and company focus, FWC is actively working with FWISD to continue research options for effectively teaching soft skills. If you are interested in being involved in FWC’s efforts with FWISD, please contact Netty Matthews, nmatthews@fortworthchamber.com.

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