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Be the best you can be—using the 5 key skills to success

Posted by Dan Depies on July 18, 2016

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Be The Best You Can Be Program at Goodwill-Using 5 Key SkillsWhile 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.


Many skills are needed to work successfully in a manufacturing environment. Goodwill focuses on 5 key skillsThe 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.

Participants are randomly drawn to receive prizes such as t-shirts and sunglassesAt 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

Written by Dan Depies

Dan Depies, Vice President of Workforce and Program Development oversees a large portion of Goodwill’s core mission of Transforming Lives through the Power of Work. Dan has been with Goodwill for 4 years, joining in June 2010. Previously, Dan spent 14 years in Management Consulting supporting clients in Manufacturing, Health Care, and Financial Service industries with IT systems, process, and new product launch projects. Dan is a board member of Wisconsin Business Growth Fund, is a member of Executive Agenda and the WICPA, and is an active volunteer in Boy Scouts, youth sports, and SafeKids Coalition.
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