Underscoring the Importance of Social-Emotional Skills on the Job
Illinois business leaders detail the workforce necessity of strong “character skills,” which are best developed in the first years of life
As the Founder and President of workplace staff and search in Rockford, Illinois, LoRayne Logan has 35 years of experience connecting employers with potential employees. So her take on workforce challenges is particularly insightful.
“No one intentionally sabotages their own career,” Logan said at a news event at Rockford’s Summerdale Early Childhood Center on April 18. Nonetheless, she added, failure on the job can be the result of poor social-emotional skills, which include communication, teamwork, and perseverance.
The inability to interact well with one’s manager and colleagues is among the biggest barriers to job retention and business success, said Logan. In fact, in a recent national poll by Zogby Analytics, nearly two-thirds of business leaders report knowing someone who’d lost a job or a promotion due to poor social-emotional skills rather than poor technical abilities.
The first five years are when kids are best-equipped to learn to problem-solve and work well in teams, in ways that will serve them well throughout school, their careers, and their lives.
Einar Forsman, President and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce
Moreover, 88 percent of surveyed executives predict an increasing need for employees with what are commonly called “character” or “soft” skills. That reality reflects the changing nature of our economy, said Logan, who joined other local business leaders in detailing the findings of a new ReadyNation Illinois report that cites the survey.
“Good timing is key to success in any business, and I’m here to tell you: The first five years are when kids are best-equipped to learn to problem-solve and work well in teams, in ways that will serve them well throughout school, their careers, and their lives,” said Einar Forsman, surrounded by preschool books in Summerdale’s library. Forsman is President and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.
“This research really underscores the vital significance of preschool and related efforts to help our very youngest learners—the workforce of tomorrow—get off to the best start in life today,” said Patti Thayer, President of Thayer Lighting in Loves Park.
Illinois business leaders hope state and federal policymakers continue to invest in good preschool and child care programs. For example, two years of state-funding increases have allowed Illinois to draw down critical, new federal resources to extend half-day pre-K services into full-day options for thousands of at-risk 4-year-olds in Illinois—including many kids who attend Summerdale.
While at Summerdale, business leaders also took the time to read to preschool children in an event covered by local news.