Do Organizations Need to Get Back to the Basics?

Posted on January 18, 2013 by


Unplugging from technology


In spite of social media misuse and overuse becoming more common, as well as the move toward virtual communication within organizations, many companies have let old-fashioned continuing education in communication skills and interpersonal development fall to the wayside. This doesn’t mean that everyone agrees. Experts and some companies see the importance of revisiting the basics. The fact that it takes solid written, verbal, and social skills to effectively interact, even through phone calls, e-mails, and social media, is often overlooked.


In an article titled “Skills Gap? Employers and College Point Fingers at Each Other” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Samuel J. Palmisano and A.G. Lafley, former CEO’s of IBM and Proctor & Gamble respectively, were cited as having initiated much needed makeovers within their companies. Both organizations became well known for their corporate training programs. The author noted that in other businesses, corporate training has become a thing of the past.


The author stated, “Those who hire complain that they often find today’s college graduates lacking in interpersonal skills, problem solving, effective written and oral communication skills, teamwork, and the ability to think critically and analytically.”


The way to fill this gap is through skills training that focuses on the qualities that companies believe employees, particularly those who have grown up in a virtual world, are missing. The article also argues that colleges need to prepare students for transitioning from school to the workplace. This includes putting them in environments where they can continue to learn the foundations.


A piece for GP Strategies stated that by conducting training, “companies can reduce costly employee churn, boost productivity, and strengthen the overall brand. In recent months, many employee development advocates have stressed the importance of soft skills training for leaders, as many companies are beginning to falter in this department.”


However, the article also noted that there are companies that conduct more soft skills training for employees. Organizations increasingly see the need for communications skills for success, “especially when considering the speed with which information travels.”


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management published a report concerning organizational learning strategies and the need for solidifying employees’ fundamental soft skills, in spite of the popularity of online dialogue. The report said that there should be a system of continuous learning that uses different methods including classroom training, mentoring, experiential learning, distance learning, and attending conferences, seminars, and workshops.


The report stated that training can, “allow participants to practice and receive feedback on critical skills,” such as communication and interpersonal skills, and, “communicate highly complex and changing information.” Giving professionals the opportunity to gain proficiency in a variety of different aspects of the business world, creates confidence, engagement, and ultimately primes an organization for success.


What do you think? Do you believe in the importance of revisiting communication and interpersonal skills in a technology-reliant culture?

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