The makings of a good employee are easy to recognize, yet I find them nearly impossible to describe. I can spot these qualities from a mile away, and I know to look for them when identifying future employees. What makes pinpointing these recognizable qualities so challenging is that they are intangible in nature. It’s easier to “show” these skills than it is to “tell.” It’s in the way a person interacts with co-workers and customers. It’s their emotional response to successes and failures. It’s their social skills that determines whether an employee will flourish or fail in the workplace.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles, books, and blogs written about social skills and their importance in the workplace. Workplace social skills are important now more than ever due to the the evolving nature of work. When my parents were in the workforce, it was more individualized; the harder you worked the faster you moved up the corporate ladder. Now there is more emphasis placed on teamwork and collaboration. Being motivated and having interpersonal awareness are just some of the key requirements of being successful in today’s workforce.

Workplace Social Skills  – Intangible, But Not Out of Reach

Some of the most successful people have a learning disability of some sort. The list includes Richard Branson, Tommy Hilfiger, and the CEO of Kinkos just to name a few. Most of these individuals did poorly in school but had the social skills to be successful. Regardless of an individual’s disability they can still be successful in life after school, it’s just a matter of having the right attitude and getting your hands on the right tools to help you along the way. Whether it is learning the soft skills through our skill intervention and supports or through our video modeling on your iOS device, it is important to have the right tools for the job.

Proven Success

According to an article in Disability Scoop, new research indicates that teens with autism are capable of learning social skills and retaining them long-term. The study required that high-functioning teens with autism participate in a 14-week social skills program. The participants were taught to interact in real-world social situations. When a follow-up assessment was conducted 14 weeks after the program was over, parents and teachers reported that participants were having fewer behavior problems. The study was led by an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, Elizabeth Laugeson. Laugeson said, “It shows that teens with autism can learn social skills and that the tools stick even after the program is over.”

Our Personal Responsibility, Success Profiler or the Functional Skills System take participants through a pre-assessment, skill intervention and supports and a post-assessment just like the individuals who participated in the study above. The benefit to this style of teaching lies in the ability to see data and document change.

According to Autism Society, one percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder. The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. That’s because those who receive early diagnosis and intervention are taught the social skills to become independent and find their place in the workforce. Having Autism, an Emotional Disorder or other learning disability shouldn’t stop anyone from achieving success.