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Heartland Community College

Essential Workplace Skills

Promote critical workplace behaviors and ensure incumbent workers are set up to succeed.

Ensuring Employee Success 

Promote critical workplace behaviors and ensure incumbent workers are set up to succeed, regardless of industry. Created with insights from over 140 employers and developed with industry professionals, Heartland Community College’s Essential Workplace Skills (EWS) provide an intentional and consistent approach to soft-skills training.

EWS Workshops

Each 3-hour workshop includes small group and individual activities, role plays, scenarios and discussions for an interactive learning experience. Participants leave with tools and individual action plans for immediate integration into the workplace. 

  • A true professional is one who adds value to their organization. In this session, cross check your professionalism against best practices. Learn how to positively influence coworkers and customers, relate to diversity, and adapt to various work environments. Understand how to use feedback to improve performance and be seen as a problem-solver. At the end of the session, you will have new tools that help you contribute to a healthy and positive workplace.

  • Communication drives workplace engagement. In this session, get more strategic about communication as a professional skill. Tune into your personal communication style and compare it to that of your peers, supervisors, and customers. Learn how to customize your approach and get the best results. Understand what to get right in managing in-person, written, and digital interactions to prevent conflict and promote productivity. Leave with new methods for connecting to others at work and contributing as a high-performing employee.

  • Boost your value at work by being seen as an effective problem-solver. In this session, explore the skills and strategies behind critical thinking — what it is and how to show it. Practice the ability to adopt multiple perspectives, analyze different data, and tackle complex issues collaboratively.
    Explore techniques for evaluating solutions and communicating them to key stakeholders. Walk away with confidence that you know how to generate improvements to benefit yourself, your
    team, and the organization.

  • Stressors at work create opportunities to rethink our responses and habits. In this session, identify challenges in your professional life and what contributes to them. Adopt strategies such as a proactive mindset and what-if thinking to anticipate problems before they arise. Grow your emotional intelligence to improve encounters with peers, supervisors, and customers. Explore how attending to your whole self affects your professionalism and career path. Leave with an action plan that promotes resilience in the face of workplace demands.

  • Inclusive and cross-generational workplaces are today’s professional norm. In this session, assess your customer-centricity and learn how to maintain and improve trust. Expand communication skills, including use of technology, to serve internal and external customers equally well. Learn recovery steps that rebuild customer loyalty. Leave ready to provide professional customer-service excellence regardless of title or industry.

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion are among today’s most critical commitments for employers and employees alike. In this session, learn how top-ranked organizations put those commitments into action in order to do likewise. Explore how to approach and improve interactions with others, so they feel involved and respected. Walk away with a plan to address implicit bias and contribute to an inclusive, high-performing workplace.

Open Enrollment Sessions

Typical open-enrollment sessions are three hours. They can be taken in any order, either individually or as a series for maximum benefit. Your employees will enjoy collaborating with participants across a wide range of industries and organizations by way of small group activities, role-playing scenarios, and discussions for an interactive, engaging learning experience.

Customized Sessions

We can offer your organization a customized EWS training when and where you need it. Sequence of topics, length of each session, and follow-up plans reflect employee needs and organizational priorities. Learning activities parallel those of open-enrollment, except your employees will learn alongside coworkers, reinforcing internal relationships and approaches.

What Employers Are Saying About EWS

“First year turnover can create organizational chaos and cause significant financial hardship for employers.”   
Tony Coletta, Vice President, HR, Carle Health
“The first thing every employer asks me for? Candidates with employability skills. My clients often say, 'I don’t care if the candidates have all the technical skills for the job. If they possess the essential soft skills, I can teach them everything else.'”  
Sam Lewis, Owner, Pridestaff   


  • Ensure that your organization benefits from sending participants to EWS to improve soft skills. Attend a free Supervisory Support Orientation. In this session, connect EWS topics to your organization’s mission and employee responsibilities. Learn to support participants’ ideas and action plans as they put them into practice back on the job. Walk through job tools that promote impactful and efficient follow-up conversations. Leave knowing what professional behaviors to monitor and feel confident that EWS will add value to your team.

    There is no cost for this orientation.

  • When you are ready to bring EWS into your organization as ongoing professional development (PD), consider our Train the Trainer program. Through a combination of on-site and virtual learning events, you will become a certified instructor for each of the 3-hour modules that comprise the series. Activate facilitation skills to ensure a participant-centered experience. Explore approaches to teaching that engage learners and inspire real-world application. Practice pieces of EWS with feedback from program facilitator and peers, and build a plan to integrate EWS as a primary onboarding PD tool. Leave confident that improving soft skills across your company will impact the culture and generate strong results.

    Call Christina Schulz at (309) 268-8173 to schedule your session. 

About the Program

  • The Society for Human Resource Management found it costs about 38% of an employee’s annual earnings to replace them. Proportionally, the financial impact of turnover is even larger with entry-level workers.  

    A 2016 study from the assessment company Wonderlic found 93% of employers rated soft skills as “essential” or “very important” in hiring and retention decisions. However, in a survey by Udemy for Business, 72% of respondents provided no direct soft skills training to workers. The lack of soft skills among employees was identified as a pain point for most area employers on the BN Advantage survey.  

  • A Community Solution

    Heartland Community College (HCC), COMPACT and BN Advantage have partnered to deliver an intentional and consistent approach to soft skills training - a powerful strategy for our community. Benefits include promoting retention and effectiveness while strengthening employability of current and future workers.

    The Essential Workplace Skills Workshop Series

    Five initial Essential Workplace Skills (EWS) have been developed* with industry professionals and expert coaches who will also serve as Heartland’s EWS instructors.

    The flexible design of these 4-hour sessions allows the content to support the operations, goals and cultures of different employers. The workshops are designed to be taken as an integrated series for maximum benefit and can be completed in any order. If an individual needs support in just one or two skill areas, that works too.

    Take-Away Tools

    Participants leave each workshop with four simple tools to help them apply their new skills on the job and in daily life. These include a:

    • self-assessment to help them understand what they know and can do related to the skill area
    • set of clear goals they plan to work towards with support from a supervisor or mentor
    • tool to help them take the specific actions required to achieve their goals
    • self-review to foster reflection and allow supervisors and mentors to track the learner’s progress
  • Each open-enrollment EWS workshop at Heartland Community College is $60 per participant. On request, Heartland instructors can also provide a customized training to meet the needs of different audiences, businesses and organizations. 

  • Heartland Community College can document and provide:

    • verification of workshop completion
    • a certificate recognizing individuals who take all five Essential Workplace Skills workshops at the College, or in a customized setting with a Heartland instructor
    • one credit hour for those who also turn in a portfolio for assessment that demonstrates successful application of the take-away tools and strategies across the five skill areas

Call Christina Schulz at (309) 268-8173 or fill out the form below to discuss your EWS needs.


*The ICCB EES Framework was used as a reference point in the development of these workshops.

Heartland Community College                  Compact                    BN Advantage

Contact Us

Continuing Education
Heartland Community College
Workforce Development Center, Suite 2400
1500 West Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8160
TDD: 309-268-8030
Fax: 309-268-7882
E-mail: Angie Coughlin

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