Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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Working in diverse teams

2 A key employability skill

Listen to Rebecca Fielding of Gradconsult talking about some of the issues employers face with the ability of their employees to work in teams.

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REBECCA FIELDING:
If I may give you a specific example of somebody that I recruited many years ago who had a genuine issue in terms of teamwork, and they were what I might describe and has been described in a number of different areas as a fragile perfect, somebody who academically had performed exceptionally well throughout their career and had gone to one of the most distinguished universities in the UK and had consistently performed exceptionally. And when she joined my organisation, she was immediately presented with a task, a challenge that required them to work together as a team because there was too much for individuals to do, and they had to complete that task within the first week.
And about three days in she came to me and said, I'm really sorry. I can't do this. I can't work with people who aren't as bright or capable or intellectually able as I am, and I'm really struggling to rely on the quality of their work. And that, for me, was the first time that I thought, wow, we have recruited somebody who's going to really struggle and understands the skills that are required in not just working with other people but, most importantly, valuing the talents and the skills of the other people who were in her team. So I think that's one example of where recruiters can struggle with individuals demonstrating teamwork.
The second and perhaps much more common is when people are less confident in a team, and therefore people assume that they're not contributing. Actually, it's simply that they're thinking and considering about their contribution to the team. And those individuals can sometimes be overlooked within teams and overlooked in terms of their contribution of the work outside of an immediate team, particularly team-meeting environments. And so for me, there is something there about self-confidence, and there's something there about contribution to a team in its broadest sense as well.
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In 2016 the CBI (The Confederation of British Industry) released their ninth education and skills survey (The Right Combination). Nearly 500 employers were questioned during this survey ranging in size from small companies with less than 50 employees to large organisations employing more than 55 000 people. Responses were drawn from all parts of the UK and covered all sectors, from manufacturing and construction, to the creative industries and professional services. About 26 per cent of employers surveyed said that there was ‘room for improvement’ in what they described as one of the ‘essential capabilities’ they were looking for in employees, i.e. team-working.

A similar report published by the Department of Economics claimed that by 2020 over half a million UK workers would be ‘significantly held back’ by their lack of soft skills including teamwork (Clarke, 2016).

Next you will look at why it is important to market skills such as teamwork on your CV.

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