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Soft Skills: supporting personal qualities in the workplace

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They do not integrate school programs however soft skills are a real corporate asset. The World Bank has conducted studies to prove that soft skills can and should be taught in schools. As the bank advises ministries of education and labor in developing countries, it has the opportunity to prove (or refute) the merits of personal qualities in the workplace, as well as in education.

Measure results

They matter for education and labor market outcomes,” said Samantha DiMartino, Mind and Behavior Economist and Development Unit of the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice, in our interview. La Banque mondiale a mené des recherches dans des pays tels que les Philippines, l’Indonésie, la Géorgie, la Moldavie, l’Inde and le Kenya – a grand nombre d’endroits différents où les indiquent employers qu’ils ont besoin de ces is a personal quality. It can be learned and improved throughout adolescence and even into adulthood.

However, identifying the soft skills required by employers is challenging. Not least because these skills are difficult to measure, in part because of their intangible nature in the world of work and education. Ms. DiMartino notes that much remains to be done to understand the impact of soft skills and how they interact with different aspects of the labor market. The Bank has been developing innovative methods for measuring the personality traits of unemployed youth, including task-based measures delivered by mobile devices, first in South Africa and soon in other countries. Feedback on the skills disadvantaged unemployed youth receive through such data collection helps improve their self-confidence and informs employers, ultimately improving employment outcomes.

While more studies need to be done on soft skills at work, more analysis is also needed to determine which soft skills are particularly useful in the workplace — such as self-initiative, dependability or a growth mindset — and how employers can focus on those skills. special skills.

Initiative value

As Paolo Bailey, World Bank Social Protection and Employment Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa explains: “It is essential to help people develop a spirit of growth, especially when working with marginalized groups who have experienced professional failures. It is important for these groups to see what success looks like, Through internships, vocational training programs, or new income-generating activities.”

Another World Bank study focuses on growth mindsets in the context of teaching self-help entrepreneurs. This study, conducted in Togo, examined outcomes on business profitability by comparing standard business training with psychology-based personal initiative training (with a control group that received no training). A group of 1,500 entrepreneurs (divided equally between men and women) was divided into three groups. The “Personal Initiative” and “Standard Business Training” groups received 36 hours of training, while the control group received no training.

Entrepreneurs who took personal training saw their business profits increase by 30%, and those who received standard business training saw their profits increase by 5% over two years, compared to the control group. The effect on profitability was greatest for women entrepreneurs who took personal training, with a 40% increase in profits.

The value of open data in assessing interpersonal skills

Much of the bank’s research is available through its open knowledge repository, but it’s also partnering with organizations like Cal Poly to work with students on big data analysis. For example, Ms. DiMartino and her colleagues were advised on a project that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to understand which soft skills correspond to different business sectors in different countries.

“The students learned about psychometrics and econometrics that they applied to real-world problems, while we learned about computer science and artificial intelligence tools that we applied to our data,” explains Ms. DiMartino. “This kind of partnership and cross-pollination is really crucial in breaking down barriers of understanding in our respective areas in order to make progress and ultimately improve outcomes for our clients.”

Examine the value of personality traits extensively

The World Bank is unique in that it has the resources and influence within national ministries of education and labor to make a difference at scale. With accelerating automation in the workplace, we need to act faster to ensure employees have meaningful jobs. The good news is that there is a growing consensus on the importance of soft skills. But if the World Bank continues to focus on large-scale interventions to assess and encourage soft skills, where appropriate, within the workforce, it could have a significant impact on the lives of many.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Charles Towers Clark

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