Discovering the Three C’s for Your Success
Part II : Collaboration
It is no secret that many of today’s graduates are lacking certain skills. As millennials enter the workforce, companies are finding that many of them lack skills in the BIG 3: Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking. Today, we’re going to look at collaboration the skill that builds teamwork, cooperation, and foundations for better business practices today and tomorrow.
Working Together Brings Big Results
Collaborative skills continue to top the list of attributes that companies look for. But what does it really mean to be a team player? Why is it so important for companies to have employees with collaboration skills? Here are five big reasons you need team players on your employee roster.
- Team Players Look at the Big Picture- A truly collaborative employee will look at the end results and not just immediate glory or success. They will be dedicated to what works best for the company instead of what will get them the most recognition. However, don’t confuse competition for self-interest. Many team players are also competitive and collaborative, they are driven but also put the needs of the team ahead of themselves, knowing that the end result will be success for everyone.
- Collaborators Save Time and Money- Assigning roles to the individual strengths of your employees will actually save you time and money. With individualized goals for each team member, you will get focused results for each part of the project. In the end, you will have fewer mistakes, get the project done much quicker, and create better results. Collaborating really saves a lot of time and money.
- A Cooperative Spirit Produces Harmony- Projects often require many different departments or even different companies in different fields working together. A person with strong collaboration skills will be able to work with other people to find the best solutions to any issue and/or create positive innovations during projects. These individuals will not only help the company internally but also create great marketplace relationships with other companies and clients.
- Team Players Increase Creativity and Confidence- A true team player accepts the ideas of others and is confident enough to present their own. When you foster collaboration in your company with team players in every department, you will find this skill set will actually grow across all departments. Individuals with collaborative skills have a confidence that is not defined solely by rewards or success. They recognize innovation as a process that needs different ideas and their attitude will inspire their co-workers to contribute more freely.
- Collaboration Skills Strengthen Company Roots- Above all else, working together grows relationships, both within departments and among departments. Employees with strong collaborative skills will develop roots inside your company and create connections that will increase loyalty among co-workers.
Why Are Millennials Lacking Collaborative Characteristics?
Many recent grads have been involved in team sports or collaborative play all their life. However, they have often missed out on learning true collaborative characteristics. Living within the digital bubble most of their lives have taught them to rely more on technology than on personal relationships or social skills.
Millennials have also witnessed more turmoil in the marketplace than most of their predecessors. At the same time, many of them grew up as the central focus of their parents, more than any other generation. While this would seem positive, it has actually created lower responsibility and a lower community centered generation. New graduates see themselves as completely unique and individualistic, something that doesn’t always work in a team setting. These issues are creating problems for employers looking for people who can contribute to cooperative projects.
Spotting the Collaborative Worker
Collaborative, team players are still out there in the workforce. You simply have to know how to spot them. Here are a few ways to attract and find great collaborative candidates.
- Look for Communication Skills- A team player is going to be able to get their point across in a way that doesn’t offend people while still being firm. Look for individuals that can answer difficult questions and issues with confidence and consideration.
- References, References, References- Don’t hesitate to look into references provided on the resume. What past employers and coworkers say and what they don’t say actually provide a lot of information about possible candidates.
- Examples of Past Collaborations- Does the candidate have concrete examples of past collaborative projects? Ask how they ended, what they enjoyed about the experience, what they disliked, and what they might do differently. One of the greatest things about teamwork is what you learn from it. If they have no response to what they’d do differently, they might not work well with others.
- How Do They Deal with Conflict?- Team projects and collaborations often have conflict. Sometimes people disagree on approaches or feel slighted. Give your candidate a scenario where conflict occurs and ask how they’d approach the issue.
- How Do They Fit in Your Team?- Even the best team player can be a detriment if they don’t fit in with the other members of your team. Their personality and style of work need to mesh with your other employees. Observe interactions with other team members as you introduce the candidate. Ask yourself how this possible hire would fit in with your company culture. The very best candidate will be someone who can do the job and mesh with your team.
Collaboration Strengthens Company Foundations
One of the top skills every company looks for is a collaborative attitude. Everyone wants a team player. Oddly enough, even though millennials are used to working in pairs or groups, they don’t always do well with collaborative work. However, if you look carefully, you can find new graduates with the ability to collaborate and contribute in the building of a stronger future for your company.