You may have topped your course, but can you work well within in a team structure, solve problems and communicate with others?
A survey from N.A.C.E (The National Association of Colleges and Employers) was recently featured in Forbes Magazine, and was quite revealing in terms of what managers and business leaders are actually looking for beyond academic performance.
N.A.C.E asked hundreds of hiring managers (from organisations such as Seagate, Chevron and IBM) to prioritise and carefully rate the skills they actually sought from graduates.
These are the top 10 results, and they appear here in the order of importance given to them by those managers hiring graduates:
1 - Ability to work in a team structure
2 - Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3 - Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organisation
4 - Ability to plan, organise and prioritise work
5 - Ability to obtain and process information
6 - Ability to analyze quantitative data
7 - Technical knowledge related to the job
8 - Proficiency with computer software programs
9 - Ability to create and/or edit written reports
10 - Ability to sell and influence others
The top 3 are arguably ‘soft skills’ but nonetheless, in an increasingly complex and risky world, future-proof skills. Conspicuously, the ability to ‘influence others’ also appears in the top ten.
Now you can’t instantly impart wisdom, but you can more or less instantly impart greater behavioural awareness with the right tools.
Enhanced behavioural awareness about self, and others, enhances an individual’s ability to operate effectively within teams, problem solve and also to communicate within and outside of their organisations.
When working with students and graduates to enhance their employability we make use of the Belbin Model to rapidly accelerate a person’s understanding of workplace behaviour, and where they may best fit in.
Belbin is not about putting people into boxes instead, it aims to provide practical and immediately employable insight into real behaviours being projected and also seen by others.
Since to varying degress, behaviour is also adaptable, students and graduates can gain valuable insights into how to best manage their own strengths and weaknesses at work.
Where do I best contribute and fit into a team?
What’s are my optimal approaches to problem solving?
What styles of communication best suit certain situations?
When this is done in an evidence-based way workplace behaviour may then be credibly adapted to suit the prevailing circumstances. Now Belbin is certainly not about being someone you are not, it’s all about being yourself, just a more aware and adaptable version of you.
For students aged 14 – 21 with little or no workplace experience we use Belbin’s GetSet profiles and reports designed and scripted specifically for this demographic. For graduates about to or who have recently entered the workplace we use Belbin’s workplace Interplace system.
A Belbin profile offers immediate insight and advice for better understanding and making use of behaviour at work.
This fundamentally addresses three of the top criteria sought by actual managers hiring graduates to commence their careers.