Skills Aren’t Enough

By: Marti Benjamin, MBA
Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Champion for a Great Work-Life!

If your career management strategy is to focus entirely on technical or professional skills, you may be surprised to learn that the companies with the highest employee engagement aren’t hiring for skills.

I learned that from the winners of the local Best Places to Work competition. Every year, many local companies invite their employees to answer questions in a survey about their employer. The survey is anonymous and confidential so employees can safely share their opinion candidly. Participating employers receive a survey report providing feedback on how they’re doing with engaging their employees in the company’s success.

The three highest scoring companies in each employer size category (small, midsize, large and very large) are recognized and they share their success story with the human resources professional association. Today was the presentation by the 2012winners and there were lessons for every careerist and job seeker, as well as career coaches and resume writers.

Here are the lessons I took from the winners, from a 15-employee professional practice to an international company of more than 30,000 employees. Regardless of where you are in your career life, these tips can help you prepare for a position with one of the best places to work.

Skills Are Secondary
Personality and fit with the company’s culture is more important than skills. That makes sense when you think about it. Skills are learned but if an individual can’t get along with the rest of the team or isn’t aligned with the core values of the company, the difference can’t be erased by more training or coaching.

As you develop your career management strategy, include personal development as well as skill enhancement. Learn to communicate effectively, accept feedback and take action accordingly, demonstrate compassion and respect for others.

If you’re targeting an employer, do your homework. Understand what’s most important to the company. Talk with current or past employees; follow the company through social media, read their website.

Improvement is Continuous
The best companies understand that they can never rest on last quarter’s success. Their market is dynamic and customers’ expectations ever shifting. The best way to stay ahead of the competition is to continue to create a better customer experience.

Employees in these companies must embrace change because it’s a fact of everyday business life. Those who resist won’t fit a company culture of continuous improvement.

You have to decide whether it’s easier and better to learn to adapt to change or to work for a company that’s stuck in its own rut.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her business and career coaching practice. In this, her third career devoted to service to others, she applies the discipline of business while executing the mission of service. Since founding Business Energetix in 2004, Marti’s proprietary coaching systems have led fed-up professionals from frustration to a richly rewarding work-life.

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