At this time of year schools and universities disgorge their students. Set free to join the world of work. Unless a person signs up for an apprenticeship scheme this might mark the end of formal education but it certainly should not be the end of the learning journey. The world of work has a whole host of unwritten rules that need to be assimilated along with new skills to compliment formal qualifications. What are these skills and rules? How can an induction programme help?
Essential skills… not on the formal curriculum
A survey of almost 3000 employers, carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce, found that “over half (57%) said that young people are lacking basic ‘soft’ skills, such as communication and team working, to succeed in the working world.”
According to indeed.com’s Director of Recruiting, Mike Steiner the top soft skills required are:
- Acting as a team player.
- Effective communication
- Problem-solving and resourcefulness
- Accepting feedback
- Confidence is key
- Creative thinking
Unwritten rules … just a few examples
- Dress appropriately. I remember clearly having to suggest to a staff member that leggings were not appropriate in a high-end retail store. It might not seem fair but it is the way it is.
- Arrive on time. It seems obvious, but it is important not to be late. To use another retail analogy, if the store needs a certain number of people to be able to open and it’s in a shopping complex with set hours then a member of staff arriving late can expose the company to fines.
- Be aware of your social media presence. Do you really want to share that moment with everyone at work?
- Make more effort to get on with people. They might not be your type of person and may never be a ‘mate’ but they are your work colleagues.
Induction programmes – how good is yours?
At Elgood we are firm believers in experiential learning, learning by doing, an approach that is ideally suited to new recruits coming out of the educational world looking for something more engaging.
Many organisations have a formal induction programme some of which will include a business simulation game explaining the organisation. These are a great way to motivate and induct new employees. They learn how the organisation works and how their role contributes to the overall organisation. I’ve worked on material for induction progammes where the simulation game goes further and includes information about the organisation’s values and overall strategy which is even better. Recruits gain an understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect in return.
How about going one step further and including material about the unwritten rules and the implications for the individual and organisation if they are broken? Back to my example of staff turning up late and the company being liable to fines. It’s not the same as turning up to a lecture late (or not at all) or throwing a sickie at school. A lot of unwritten rules can seem restrictive and unnecessary. Once they are put into context people understand their purpose and can start to engage with them.
The content of the business simulation game helps the recruits learn about the organisation they have joined and participation helps develop essential ‘soft skills’. Teamworking, communication, problem solving and creative thinking and all dealt with in a fun and engaging way. Feedback is built into the process and allows participants to experience real situations in a safe environment.