Leadership

Daily Buzz: Bridge Your Industry’s Soft Skills Gap

By / Feb 15, 2019 (designer491/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Your members’ employers no longer just prefer someone with soft skills—they’re a requirement. Develop a training curriculum to help members drive the industry forward. Also: the one trait missing from your content strategy.

Think soft skills aren’t worth developing? Think again. In the 2017 edition of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ CEO Survey [PDF], 77 percent said the biggest threat to their businesses stems from underdeveloped soft skills. Similarly, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report says the top priority for talent-development teams is training workers in leadership, communication, and collaboration.

This presents a special opportunity for your association to step up and bridge the soft skills gap in its respective industry.

“Employers in your industry need your association’s help,” writes the WBT Systems team in a blog post. “They can attempt to offer effective training in human skills or send their employees to generic training classes in leadership, communication, negotiation, or conflict resolution. But there’s a better option: Your association can partner with employers to design and deliver industry-specific training in human skills.”

So, find out what soft skills are important to your members and the organizations they work for. Then work with your team to develop curriculum to fill that skills gap.

“Human skills aren’t usually a part of an association’s certification or licensing curriculum, but they’re necessary for career advancement—and this type of training fits your mission,” the team writes. “A digital badge program in industry-specific human skills will help your association bridge industry skills gaps, strengthen relationships with industry employers, and provide essential training for volunteer leaders and association staff.”

Connected Content

Yes, your association has a content strategy. But how does it connect to the organization’s mission overall? “The concept of connection is at the core of everything an association offers,” says Hilary Marsh on Association Success. “Every association has a core set of topics it works on that transcend and cut across all offerings … Those topics serve to link the organization to the industry it serves—and if the organization operates effectively, they can be a lens through which the association sees all of its work.”

When developing your content strategy, Marsh suggests diving deeper into members’ needs and pain points. How can your content connect with these issues and act on your association’s goals at the same time? “When an association adopts a holistic, organizationwide content strategy, its content can become connected both to the organization’s strategic goals and to the audience,” she says.

Other Links of Note

For many members, the chapter experience brings the most value. The BillHighway blog explains how to share chapter value with your association’s C-suite.

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Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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