Soft skills and communication in English

A people improvement plan using soft skills and English

Considering the unprecedented covid situation, thinking out a people engagement strategy turned out to be more challenging than it had been before. We turned towards a soft skills and communication in English strategy in order to make it work.

People were no longer interacting with each other over coffee or lunch. The 15’ minute break we used to have with our colleagues was gone. Moreover, the new employees we got on board and even new clients felt a little bit left out because of this. So the whole feeling of belonging and connection we’d cultivated for years in TEC was slowly falling apart. Something needed to be done. 

Luckily Diana, our English teacher/soft skills trainer, jumped in with ideas and restored these connections. We somehow took the transparency of the people to a whole new level. Even if people were no longer meeting face to face, we prompted them to put themselves out there in ways they had not done it before. 

soft skills article

First, we decided to get people to build their profile with Diana in a casual friendly manner, to leave breadcrumbs for potential genuine connections. It was a self-discovery journey where people opened up and spoke about their upbringing, role models, turning points in their lives, passions and dreams. The end result was to put one employee in the limelight each month by publishing their profile on the company’s blog. We had a lot of fun, and I am sure, many stories will go down in history. 

Second, we got together once a month and put an intriguing topic on the table. The trainer propped us with a big bank of vocabulary and opened up the arena for discussions. Somehow we have tried to recreate the talks we had in the lunch room. Diana hosted these meetings and we set up a plan for every month, to outsmart the problems of the world and step up our game in terms of English vocabulary. Let me walk you through some of the topics we’ve discussed so far.  

Working from a state of flow was the very first topic we touched on. Most of us have occasionally experienced the feeling of making things happen effortlessly but not many know how to get to that state consciously and make it permanent. Apparently, this is something we can learn if we reconsider some aspects of our life and follow a set of guidelines. Ask around to find out who participated if you want tips and tricks.   

Drawing the line at the end of 2020, we had a retrospective of the year talk, one of the most challenging years for all of us. The meeting in which we recapped 2020 was quite positive. 2020 wasn’t such a bad year after all. At a company level, we had a few milestones.

We started the process of obtaining ISO Certificates (9001, 14001, 27001). 

We signed and registered a collective labour agreement with all employees.

We developed and improved our own performance review process, we start working from home and even tried hybrid work.

At a personal level, people discovered new hobbies, had babies, took new certifications, read amazing books, had epiphanies and changed important aspects in their personal lives. The past year was all about acknowledging  what really matters in life and learning to see the bright side of everything. 

Then, at the dawn of 2021, we discussed New Years resolutions. Some of us were quite enthusiastic when it came to plan 2021. Out of the most intriguing new year’s resolutions that people discussed about we should mention: spend more time with parents, give undivided attention to one thing at a time, start rock climbing, take a pottery class, talk about what was like growing up with friends. Something you should have in mind, when it comes to setting up resolutions is to have at least one goal for each aspect of your life (Career, Friends & Family, Holidays and trips, Health & fitness, Hobbies, Investments, Optimizations, Housing, Personal development). 

Another topic that made a lot of waves was  Seeing the bright side of things. Obviously the discussions revolved around the pandemic that has affected all of us. However, we came to realize we had more time to clean up our houses, to do away with irrelevant things, to cherish people we really love and are not physically close to us, we saved time spent on commuting, many workouts were easier done from home (yoga / aerobics / pushups / pullups), food sharing between neighbors was a good way to avoid food waste, we all questioned our need for personal space and boundaries, we were deeply grateful for the delivery services. 

The meeting we had around the topic of Lifestyle left us with a lot of tips and tweaks on how to live a longer healthier more prosperous life. We realized we can do this easier with the help of others, we just have to surround ourselves with like-minded people, observe people around and tag along the ones with good habits. 

We have a lot to learn about ourselves and our colleagues and we will carry on this process with the help of Diana and while talking during breaks. This pandemic and everything related to it impacted our lives so profoundly, even so we stayed the same #PeopleOfTEC. 

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