Effective career readiness for college students requires the acquisition of excellent skills in terms of academic knowledge, technical experience and a collection of set competencies, referred to as employability skills (US Department of Education 2016). Employability skills can be defined as work competencies, which can drive success across all levels of employment in the labor market.
The skills include the ability to assess personal responsibilities and evaluate your performance, ability to improve interpersonally, ability to understand the dynamics of work relationships, and the ability to develop effective strategies for solving work related problems. However, the question is about how one can acquire or develop effective employability skills. The objective of this paper is to discuss the most efficient strategies for developing employability skills.
1.1 How to determine own responsibility
As a Practice Educator in Gold View Hospital, my duties are planning objectives, and monitoring team performance. In addition, I am tasked with the role of coordinating various departments, organizing meetings, and providing an enabling environment for employees to work better. Generally, my duty is to enhance performance objective.
How to enhance performance objective
Performance objective can be enhanced by improving one’s capabilities such as communication skills, problem-solving skills, work and team management skills et cetera.
Effective Communication skills: As a practice educator, my strategy to effective communication involves good listening skills, use of verbal and non-verbal messages. In addition, I should be able to relate well with issues and know when to speak.
Problem solving techniques: The best approach of solving problems includes: problem definition, problem analysis, developing options for solving the problem, selecting the most suitable option, implementing the option, evaluating the outcome, and learning from the problem.
Decision making skills: Before making a decision, it is important to learn and develop your decision within the work requirements. This often calls for embracing intuition approach by applying experience and personal values. Furthermore, the process should encourage reasoning and comprehensiveness of ideas without attaching emotional aspects to decision.
Organizing work: The best approach to handling any given assignment is by writing down every detail needed as well as any related information that you think might be useful to you. Develop a time schedule to ensure that all tasks are prioritized and accomplished within the set timeframe. Consult your friends, tutor, or anyone who might provide important information regarding your assignment.
Embrace leadership skills: Observe good relationship with coreworkers and the institution at large. Make use of negotiation, influence, and persuasion techniques in the case of divergent views.
Team management skills: This is equally an important aspect of increasing performance objective. The skills include effective communication, establishing team virtues, effective decision-making approach, and developing suitable conflict resolution techniques.
Work Ethics: Virtues such as credibility, honesty, industriousness and respect for others are also important factors to developing performance objective.
However, the above-highlighted skills are to some extent too general to bring out an efficient objective performance. Therefore, they can be effective or not depending on a person’s nature and state of mind. However, the efficiency of this skills can be enhanced by addressing several factors considered to be obstacles to their effectiveness.
For instance, to promote aspects of effective communication skills, one should develop effective stress management skills (Robinson, Segal &Smith 2016). Stress and emotions can lead to misinterpretation of other people or project. According to Robinson, Segal &Smith (2016), to deal with stress while communicating one is required to:
- Take a moment of calm before you decide whether to continue the conversation or postpone it.
- Carry out stress managing activities such as taking some deep breaths, relaxing and clenching muscles, and recalling a sensory image, which is soothing and rich in your memory.
- Using humor in the conversation to ease tension and release emotions
- Be able to appreciate the concerns of others even though may not appear so big to you
On the other hand, problem-solving techniques can be made better by applying the psychological theory of problem-solving such as the Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory (Cooper 2014). Team management, building, and work ethics can be enhanced by introducing motivation and morale boosting factors.
According to Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory, it is believed a happy and motivated person is more productive as compared to an unsatisfied person. Some requirements such as incentives and rewards to recognize people’s efforts will motivate them to be more committed to their work.
1.2 How to monitor and evaluate performance objective
Mind Tools (2016) outlines that the best approach to monitoring and evaluating performance objective is by embracing the SMART technique, which is an acronym for:
Specific: This describes a project or work regarding what should be done, how it should be done, and the project outcomes in the most observable manner.
Measurable: It describes the objectives of the project in terms of quantitative and qualitative measures, frequency, project costs, and timeframes among others. This is to ensure that the project meets the expectations.
Acceptable/achievable: The aspect of ‘achieving’ involves ensuring that the team is in a position to carry out the assignment, and has the necessary experience and technical skills. In addition, it evaluates whether the objective can be attained within the given timeframes, opportunities, and resources.
Relevant: The techniques applied in carrying out the assignment should be relevant to the objectives and the implementation plan.
Time-bound: This determines the way of achieving the objectives within the set timeframe. It evaluates the progress of the project at specific time intervals. More often than not, timeframes are put in place to create a sense of urgency to help the team to complete the work on time.
Dubinsky, Jennings & Brans (2010) states that to improve the performance quality in work environment, the following recommendations should be implemented:
Adoption of performance appraisal techniques: Appraisal techniques such as 360-degree performance appraisal should be adopted to help keep employees on track towards their assignments. It involves the process of gathering feedback on individual performance from a variety of sources. It includes self-appraisal, management, appraisal, subordinate appraisal, and peer appraisal.
Self-appraisal enables employees to evaluate their performance, strengths and weaknesses, and achievements. Management appraisal involves the rating of employees’ performance by the senior management. Subordinate appraisal involves the evaluation of employees’ communication and motivating skills, their ability to deliver desirable results, and their leadership qualities.
Salary increments and bonus: This is a motivational approach of getting employees committed to their work. It improves the relationship between the employees and management.
Promoting strengths and minimizing weaknesses: This can be done through a S.W.O.T analysis. It helps to explore new efforts or problem-solving techniques. In addition, it helps in identifying threats, which is a mechanism of minimizing weaknesses.
Developing training programs: Regular training will help to improve the skills of team members.
Rating responsibilities: This includes introducing different ranks and carrying out paired comparison. The aim is to motivate the employees to put in more efforts in order to attain a higher rank.
1.4 Quality improvement through motivational techniques
Motivational theories- Abrahams Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory
Hierarchy of need theory is essential in understanding motivational factors, human management, training programs, and employee development. Maslow’s theory helps in creating a working environment, which encourages self-actualization (McLeod. 2014). The hierarchy is summarized below;
Fig 1: The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory.Source: studyob.com
Developing a conductive work environment
This includes motivating employees by providing necessary tools and means of performing duties. In addition, management should encourage teamwork, sharing ideas and amicable problem-solving.
Management should help the junior officers to establish and develop professional goals and objectives. The goals should be idealistic and attainable to prevent people from getting disillusioned.
Incentives motivate employees and make them appreciate the nature of their work. They include financial incentives such as cash prizes and rewards as well as non-financial incentives, which include vacation days, or choice of working offices and parking spots.
Employees’ achievements should be celebrated through issuing of awards such as employee-of-the-year awards. Achievements should be appreciated by issuing certificates of exemplary performance. Team accomplishment should be celebrated as well.
Motivate the team by providing bonus resulting from the accrued profits. This encourages a sense of ownership and pride.
2.1 Developing solutions to work-related problems in a health care environment
Hicks (2016) recommended the following steps of developing a suitable solution to work-related problems: identifying and defining the problem and appreciating the problem as an opportunity, and using a checklist to identify particular aspects of the problem. In addition, explore the root cause(s) of the problem -analyze the root facts of the problem to find out the most relevant information regarding the problem.
Develop options for solving the problem- create several options for problem-solving by being mindful and inclusive of other people’s ideas. Moreover, decide on the most suitable approach- evaluate options and decide on the most appropriate approach to statutory requirements. Implement the technique- follow the project management guidelines while keeping in mind the consequences of the outcome. Finally, evaluate the outcome and learn- evaluate the effectiveness of the solution and recommend which areas are in need of improvements
To effectively apply the above steps, one should develop and employ the following interpersonal skills:
- Personal effectiveness- one should embrace leadership qualities such as being impartial, mindful of other people’s ideas, nonjudgmental, influential et cetera
- Team player- it is crucial in identifying unique characteristics of an individual. It is significant in choosing the kind of approach of handling work related problems.
- Uses of negotiation skills- this involves engaging parties in a negotiation process. Dialogue should be embraced to reach an agreement. This is a win- win outcome for all parties.
- Assertiveness – it involves being confident, aggressive and assured that you can effectively manage the problem.
2.2 Effective communication in a health care environment
Verbal and non-verbal communication-Verbal communication can be enhanced through the use of effective communication skills such listening skills, assertiveness, mindfulness, and responsiveness. Non-verbal communication involves the use of electronic means such as e-mails and the use written messages in a professional manner to convey the message (Robinson, Segal & Smith 2016). Using body language -It includes, posture, maintaining eye contact, body gestures, tonal variation, and facial expression to enhance effective means of conveying important messages.
Sending and receiving formal and non-formal feedback from colleagues- this will serve as a reminder to keep the team updated on the activities to be done. Use of ICT as an effective medium of communication – ICT is the most effective way of passing information to a large group of people within the shortest time possible. In a Hospital setting, use of informatics facilitates sharing data, ideas, and conveying important messages within the working environment.
Organizing regular team meetings-Regular meetings provide a medium to discuss the emerging issues, evaluate work progress, and foster the unity of the team.
2.3 Employing Time management strategies
Prioritizing workload- prepare a working schedule of accomplishing duties. Apply the working schedule in a systematic manner.
Setting up work objectives- set up clear objectives to guide the team from straying away from the real issue. It creates a sense of focus by allowing team members to work towards the set goals; thus, reduce time wastage.
Developing appointment schedule- appointment schedules help reduce interference during working hours. Working in a steady as opposed to an erratic manner is essential.
Setting time for learning enables one to improve working skills; thus, improving the quality of work as well as reducing time as a result of uncertainties (Mind Tools, 2016). A reliable estimate of the project creates a sense of urgency and assists in keeping the team focused on accomplishing the assigned duties.
3.1 Working together through team and team building activities
Assigning specific roles to every team member- working together is an inclusive process requiring the active participation of every member.
Mixing skills and styles- this is the best opportunity to explore new skills and styles of developing quality work. In this case, members have an opportunity to showcase their skills.
Identifying roles for the team- team roles and objectives are emphasized to keep members focused.
Stages of team development such as loyalty, dedication, identity, common practices, and health assessment- these stages are essential in reminding members of the best protocol to follow in developing career skills;
- Action planning- include time schedules for every activity
- Monitoring and feedback- it involves team progress evaluation and results analysis
- Exchanging constructive feedback- members give their views on how the process has been conducted
Successful teamwork calls for the development of leadership skills, which includes setting direction, setting the pace and standards, being influential, practicing effective communication, being a motivator, innovative, reliable and consistent. In a healthcare environment, effective leadership involves provision and justification of objectives and contribution; motivating teams and team members to exhibit exemplary commitment; and pay attention to developing quality system performance (Cooper2014).
Based on health-care, an effective leadership recommends:
- Providing and justifying clear aim and benefits
- Motivating teams and individuals to work effectively
- Concentrating on enhancing performance of the system
3.2 Team dynamics in Children wards
- Communication barrier– children are unable to express themselves. Embrace good listening skills to understand explanations by parents
- Informal and formal setting- the children ward consists of both professionals and civilians. Interpersonal skills are encouraged to meet the objective
- Objectives of teams and groups like long-term purposes/strategies
- Problem-solving and temporary projects
- Flexibility- must be willing to assist whenever called upon. Children need a lot of care which requires one to be flexible to handle them
3.3 Alternative ways of accomplishing tasks in a health care environment
According to Borrill, West & Dawson (1998), tasks in a healthcare environment can be accomplished by;
- Setting clear objectives , active participation by individual team members, highlighting on quality patient service through innovation
- Develop stress management techniques for team members
- Embracing quality meetings, effective integration and communication processes to develop improved service of patient care
- Adopt clear leadership skills to enhance the relationship with patients
- Observe work ethics
Good leadership skills include setting the course, standards, inspiring, innovative, response, open communication, trustworthy, and reliable (Messum, Wilkes & Jackson 2011).
4.1 Evaluate the tools and methods of developing solution to problem
According to Hicks (2016), the general problem-solving techniques include the following
- Identity and define the problem- appreciate the problem as an opportunity. Use a checklist to identify particular aspects of the problem
- Explore the root cause(s) of the problem-analyze, the root facts of the problem, to find out the most relevant information regarding the problem.
- Develop options for solving the problem- create several options forproblem-solving by being mindful and inclusive of other people’s ideas
- Decide on the most suitable approach- evaluate options and decide on the most appropriate approach to the statutory provisions
- Implement the technique- follow the project management guidelines while keeping in mind the consequences of the outcome
- Evaluate the outcome and learn- evaluate the effectiveness of the solution and recommend on which areas need improvements
4.2 Problem solving techniques apply to different scenarios.
Consider the following settings:
A member of the team is involved in an accident and that causes him to take some time off for several months. How would the team react initially and how would they handle it as the months go by? As a team leader, I will take the responsibility of informing the team members about one of us getting involved in a road accident. I will organize a compassionate pay visit and encourage all members to participate. During the visit, I will find out doctor’s recommendations involving the anticipated date of recovery and communicate to the team on the expected date of return to work.
I will reassign some of his/ her responsibilities to a relevant group member. At first, the team members will feel remorseful and easily accept taking up of his/her responsibilities. However, as time goes by, the member assigned the duties might start feeling overburdened by the workload. Therefore, I shall design makeshift roles to ensure that his or her responsibilities are shared out to several team members. For the duties that need his /her personal presence, I will reschedule until further notice. Upon recovery, I will lead the team to welcome back our member.
4.3 The potential impact of the problem on the business of Gold view hospital on the implementation of the strategy
The problem wills definitely affecting the quality of service provided. The interim team members will not be able to deliver the most desirable results for lack of enough experience in that particular work. Similarly, some services which require his/her physical presence will not be provided. Furthermore, the members selected to step in will have increased workload as well as less focus on their designated duties. I can say that the solution was partially solved and therefore recommend that we have more members of staff within one docket such that in the absence of one member, team operations are not affected.
Based on the issues outlined in the paper, it is evident that employability skills depend on determining an individual’s responsibility and ways of enhancing performance to meet the objectives. To this effect, performance objective must be monitored in line with the SMART model, motivational methods such profit sharing and bonus et cetera.
In terms of developing solutions to work-based issues in health care setting, it is necessary to define and identify the problem; establish the main causes of the problem; choose the appropriate alternative; implement the alternative; and assess the results. In the long run, communication can only be effective through the use of not only verbal and non-verbal techniques, but also through good listening, assertive, mindful and responsive skills.
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Dubinsky, I. Jennings, K &. Brans, B. 2010. 360-Degree Physician Performance Assessments for quality improvement Healthcare Quarterly Vol.13 No.2 2010 71
Mind Tools 2016, Effective Scheduling Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time. Available from: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_07.html, [24th May 2016].
Messum, D., Wilkes, L. & Jackson, D.E., 2011. Employability skills: Essential requirements in health manager vacancy advertisements. Verified OK.
Mind Tools 2016, Golden Rules of Goal setting. Available from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm, [24th May 2016].
Robinson, L., Segal, J., & Smith, M 2016, Effective Communication, Help Way Guide. Available from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/effective-communication.htm., [24th May 2016].
The U.S Department of Education 2016, College- and Career-Ready Standards. Available from <http://www.ed.gov/k-12reforms/standards>, [24th May 2016].
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