McDonald’s HRD: take action on ‘soft skills’ now

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All too often, ‘soft skills’ – like communication, teamwork and time management – are unintentionally demoted and given a second-rate status. McDonald’s chief people officer says that needs to change.

“We need to do more to recognise the importance of so-called soft skills,” asserts Jez Langhorn. “Soft skills are crucial to both individual and business success and will become ever more important in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

Almost any workplace relies on some form of soft-skill, whether that’s communication, collaboration or customer interaction – everyone from the CEO to the student in a summer job will have to utilize their soft skills at some point.
“You need these skills to work to your full potential and help make the business productive and high-performing,” says Langhorn.

“Soft skills can really impact a customer’s experience with us,” says Langhorn. “We serve three million people every day and we want to make sure each of them enjoys great service. That’s why we recruit on qualities, not just qualifications, and give people the opportunity to gain and improve their soft skills while they’re working for us.”

 So why aren’t they valued?

“We’ve spent time talking about soft skills with employees, employers and a wide range of other organisations,” revealed Langhorn. “What we’ve heard loud and clear is that employers struggle to find tangible ways to promote soft skills, and many employees lack confidence in articulating and selling these skills.”

Now, Langhorn has launched a soft-skills campaign and is calling for a re-evaluation of the value of soft skills. “Working together, we can take action to recognise, promote and improve soft skills,” he argues.

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