The Three Rs aren't cutting it for today's workforce, according to the American Management Association (AMA)'s 2010 Critical Skills Survey of 2,115 managers and other execs in AMA member and customer companies. Besides reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, employees need the four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation).
So it should come as no surprise that the majority of respondents said their employees currently are measured in communication skills (80.4 percent), critical thinking (72.4 percent), collaboration (71.2 percent), and creativity (57.3 percent) during annual performance appraisals. In addition, job applicants are assessed in these areas during the hiring process.
Three out of four executives said they believe these skills and competencies will become more important to their organizations in the next three to five years, particularly as the economy improves and organizations look to grow.
Are employees equipped to handle these challenges? According to the AMA survey, more than half (51.4 percent) of executives said their employees were only average in effective communications skills (versus 38.1 percent who rated them above average), and 46.9 percent of respondents said their employees were only average in creativity and innovation (compared to 37.4 percent who rated them above average). But more than half (51.9 percent) of executives said their employees were above average in critical thinking, and 46.7 percent of respondents rated their employees above average in collaboration and teambuilding.