In our latest blog, Teamscapes Learning & Development Director, Lucy McGibbon discusses the importance of bridging the gap between education and employment:
From very early on in our childhoods, we’re encouraged to think for ourselves, have confidence in our own beliefs and work hard to achieve individual success. Which of us, as a young child, doesn’t remember completing an activity on our own and being praised for it with a ‘Well done! You did that all by yourself!’? Throughout our formal education - whether at school, college or university - it continues; we strive for individual success leading to qualifications that are awarded to us uniquely. But, the minute we walk into the workplace, the parameters change.
Becoming A Team Player
The confidence we’ve spent years building is in danger of being misinterpreted, especially amongst an existing and established workforce. We have to learn to be more open and sensitive to the views of others and become a team player. But being a team player doesn’t happen automatically, skills need to be developed to help us work more effectively alongside others and for success to be experienced as a group accomplishment. And so a new journey for the graduate begins, the journey into greater self-awareness.
As employers, it’s our responsibility to guide and support our new recruits on this journey, helping to make the transition from education to employment as smooth as possible. I believe one of the most important lessons we can teach our new recruits is that of humility. When graduates meet their new colleagues for the first time there can be a tendency for the two groups, which exist in different paradigms, to clash and work against each other.
Where Does Experiential Learning Come In?
Experiential learning can help overcome such clashes. With problem-solving activities and regular periods of reflection, individuals are encouraged to become more conscious of their effect on others and the impact they have on a team. By encouraging them to openly share their views and listen to each other, helps to trigger a creative movement, which I like to call the ‘ladder of ideas’. When everyone works together, ideas grow and innovation sparks, with everyone learning about themselves in the process.
As employers, it’s up to us to take our new joiners on this journey, providing them with the tools they need to help bridge the gap between education and employment themselves. For it is only ‘by doing’ that they can actually feel what it’s like to be an effective part of a team, for the good of themselves, each other and ultimately, your business.