While there are many skills that employees need to demonstrate to be successful on the job, the Goodwill Work Services program has found that there are five key skills to being successful in a manufacturing environment. We established these skills by listening to our business customers connected to us through Goodwill TalentBridge and our Supported Employment program.
Those five skills are:
- Attendance—no skills can be gained and no work gets done if you’re not here.
- Punctuality—getting the most out of the day means getting back on time from break and lunch.
- Pacing & Productivity—at the end of the day results matter, and the work needs to be done to meet customer needs.
- Interpersonal Communication—whether you are working alone or as a team, professional communication is key to getting things done well.
- Positive Work Attitude—with the right attitude employers are always willing to teach the technical skills needed for a job.
The Work Services program challenged our participants to exhibit these five skills every day. “Focus on the 5!” is our new shorthand way of reminding everyone of the skills we are trying to build! This new push to “Focus on the 5!” has been pulled into our established recognition and reward program called “Be the Best YOU!” through which participants receive quarterly recognition of their accomplishments.
Work Services staff challenged our participants to “Focus on the 5!” and they responded! In the past three months 157 certificates of achievement have been awarded at our two locations. How do participants win awards? Staff observes participants to see if they demonstrate the soft skills (positive work attitude and interpersonal communication), have perfect attendance for the month, meet individualized production goals for a majority of their scheduled work days, or by consistently demonstrating good punctuality after break and lunch.
At each award recognition event, participants are randomly drawn to receive prizes such as T-shirts and sunglasses with the “Be the Best YOU!” logo on them. “Be the Best YOU!” played a big role in the past 18 months to change work habits and workplace culture. The early returns seem to indicate that “Focus on the 5!” will also have a significant impact on the Work Services program, and will be an effective way to raise workplace expectations and workplace performance, and prepare individuals for jobs in the community.
—Article written by Steve Hanson, Program Manager