While the maritime industry is only starting to value the importance of soft skills, many leading global companies across various industries have already incorporated this concept into their core human resource management processes. In this article, we are going to see how these organisations are doing it and how it helped them to build a better performing workforce.
The 2018 Millennial Survey by Deloitte Global indicates that the top four skills employers seek to ensure long-term success are interpersonal skills, confidence/motivation, ethics/integrity and critical thinking. These happen to fall under soft skills, often referred to as essential for recruiting or evaluating and training existing employees.
While reputable companies like Deloitte conduct very important surveys to further substantiate the demand for soft skills, many organisations are already using soft skills to build high-performing teams. Let’s take a look at some of the largest organisations in the world that have already benefited from this and what they have to say about their experience so far.
What the company “saw” in soft skills was that they helped not only the company, but the employees themselves as well. Their people work remotely from many different countries; consequently, excellent communication skills are vital to the company’s successful operations. Additionally, this is an industry which values interpersonal skills such as relationship-building and believes soft skills contribute to the exceptional internal relations of its employees.
In order to define soft skills, the company conducts assessments during hiring processes and afterwards helps its employees to strengthen them. This tactic has helped the employees to consequently help the company to evolve.
In the aviation industry, soft skills are even taught in specific workshops. This applies to Lufthansa Airlines, the largest airline in Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of passengers carried.
Lufthansa researched soft skills and introduced online assessments for hiring, as well as for training. In this way, the company focused on the most valid candidates for the job, while ruling out the ones less likely to succeed.
During training, the company conducts workshops, aiming to introduce the company and its processes as well as “valuable soft-skills” as they define them. The workshops include training in regards to positive attitude, cultural diversity, communication skills, self-management and leadership tools.
One of the biggest fast-food chain companies, McDonald’s, supports and implements the soft skills concept for its workforce.
The company even carried out a campaign titled “Backing Soft Skills Campaign”, to emphasise the economic importance of soft skills. Tesco, the British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer, the third-largest retailer in the world measured by gross revenues, supported McDonald’s on this soft skills campaign.
“We believe soft skills have a vital role to play in any workplace, helping individuals to realise their potential, building great teams and helping us deliver great service for our customers”. – Ms Judith Nelson, Tesco UK Personnel Director.
Additionally, McDonald’s released findings of its Workforce Preparedness Study where teamwork, customer service and responsibility were found to be overwhelmingly important.
A relevant research study titled “The Value of Soft Skills to the UK Economy” points out: “McDonald’s is one of a growing number of major employers and other organisations in the UK that recognises the value of soft skills as a key component of the overall skill set of the UK workforce, and of its own 100,000 UK employees. These skills are vital to people’s success in their careers and lives. They are also essential to creating high-performing and successful organisations”.
“As employers, we should re-examine which skills matter most, especially for the next generation entering the workforce. We should lay that foundation for employees to build the soft skills they need that will serve them throughout their career.” – Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s USA Chief People Officer.
The maritime industry is not so far behind but is only gradually beginning to gain momentum on incorporating soft skills into the core crewing processes.
Reputable organisations such as Intertanko and OCIMF have already embraced the concept of soft skills by including psychometric assessments as a requirement in the TMSA. Many of the world’s Ship Owners, Ship Managers and Crewing Agencies are also starting to follow this example, and their pro-activeness will most certainly pay off in the very near future.
Companies such as Safebridge, have carried out extensive research into identifying the soft skills which are of utmost importance to the seafarers and the industry as a whole. Psychometric assessments such as SafeMetrix give maritime companies the ability to benefit from soft skills by offering a tool to assess and address specific skills of their seafarers.
It is quite clear that soft skills are starting to take over the world by storm. It comes as no surprise as these skills are the underlying factor in building the teams that are equipped to tackle the challenges of the modern and technologically advanced working environment. Companies that have already taken this step have gained a strong and competitive advantage and the rest should only follow the prime example that they have set to ensure success of their operations and the well-being of their employees.