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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 07, 2019 1:00 am

Colleges improve staff communication skills

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Continuous learning.

Relearning.

Whatever it takes.

Cheers to better communication in the workplace.

Employees who need to get better will likely find employers are willing to help.

The answer is training, says Steve Miller, president of The Video Factory in Fort Wayne.

“Universities, colleges, and schools all offer classes to teach effective communication skills,” Miller said in an email in late June.

“It would be a wise investment for a company or organization to encourage employees to take such a class.

“Some educational institutions will even tailor a training program specifically for an organization.”

Miller's reminders came after he read an article in our June 16 Focus section looking at the impact of technology changes in the business world, specifically retail and industry.

Communication was cited as one of the missing or least perfected soft skills some employees exhibit in this tech-centered world. Problem-solving and emotional intelligence were also sought-after skills mentioned in the article, based on research by Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analysis firm.

“The wonderful thing about communication is that being an effective communicator can be learned,” Miller said. “Many people think that being an effective communicator is natural; that everyone can do it. But the fact is a lot of people are not able to express themselves effectively and a whole lot of people don't know how to listen.

“I suggest that employers looking to improve their employees' communication skills contact a local college or university,” he said.

Cutting jobs

U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 140,577 jobs from their payrolls in the second quarter of this year, down 26% from the 190,410 cuts announced in the first quarter.

Despite the drop, the latest report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said second-quarter cuts are 34% higher than the 104,800 cuts announced in the same three months last year.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas is a global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm based in the Chicago area.

Last quarter's job cuts were the highest for the second quarter since 2015, when 147,458 cuts were recorded, according to Challenger's report last week.

Employers this year have announced plans to cut 330,987 jobs, up 35% from the 245,179 cuts announced through the first half of last year. This year marks the highest first-half total since 2009, when 896,675 job cuts were announced.

“The second quarter is historically the slowest period for job cut plans,” Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement. “Companies typically have not determined staffing decisions by this point, either because they are in the middle of or are only approaching their fiscal year's end by June.”

Employers announced 41,977 cuts in June, down 28% from the 58,577 cuts in May. But June's cuts are 13% higher than the 37,202 cuts announced in June of last year, the firm said. This is the 11th consecutive month job cuts are higher than the corresponding month the year prior.

Job cuts are trending higher overall, especially in retail, but significant declines have occurred in industrial manufacturing and automotive.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/.