PepsiCo, along with its philanthropic arm and the International Youth Foundation, has launched an online, "gender-smart" course aimed at teaching students "work readiness skills," according to a Jan. 16 announcement.
Among the skills taught in the Passport to Success program are conflict management, communication, and critical and creative thinking — skills that are increasingly essential to company and employee success in today's rapidly changing, globalized economy, PepsiCo said.
Furthermore, to support young women, the program features scenarios with women in positions of authority and non-traditional professional roles. It also targets societal barriers impeding gender equality, according to the announcement.
As PepsiCo noted, the skills employers need are shifting rapidly. As education struggles to keep up with this demand, companies have shifted their focus to soft skills, aiming to hire workers with solid communication and leadership skills, for example, and training them on technical skills as needed.
But as PepsiCo's program assumes, soft skills also can be taught, experts have previously told HR Dive, which may be good news for employers with talent strategies that include both hiring and upskilling initiatives. One-on-one coaching can be key to helping individuals pick up these characteristics — which can include curiosity, responsibility and positive thinking — as can on-the-job microlearning.
But above all else, the experts said, workers need those in leadership positions to practice what they preach. “The best way to do this is to lead by example,” Keca Ward, senior director of talent experience at Phenom People, said. “It comes back to C-suite living your core values and being a beacon of inspiration to your employees.”