Workplace Insights Essay

To compare and contrast insights from the guest speakers, this essay will draw upon workshop topics, questions and views raised during the talks. While, each workshop topic identified such traits that make up a successful internship, these included networking (demonstrate your value and establish a common connection at conferences), personal branding (Linkedin, curriculum vitae and interview skills) and acquiring mentors (whether colleagues or inspirational community leaders). “We argue here that the internship supervisor can maximize one’s effectiveness when operating within a strong college or university educational infrastructure facilitated by an engaged and competent faculty advisor.” (Sosland & Lowenthal, 2017, p.1) This process in effect makes the process more relevant and effective for the intern – aligning learning outcomes to career objectives.

Andrew Campbell the Founder of Go Catch and CEO of SlingShot Accelerator, presented his lecture on Startup Insights. In which Mr Campbell (2017) replaced the old perception toward work motivation (career, meaning and money) that focuses on the need to feel acknowledged and rewarded toward a new model (change the world, create value and learn in-demand skills). This new model clearly allows us to provide key business solutions – taking the pitch of a startup from the original price based model to a value based model. Three things to consider when creating a startup: “analyse trends, have an idea and interview customers.” (Campbell, 2017) Doing these three steps can help to create value in the startup. Such prominent startup examples include: Fishburners, Ticket Squad, Airtasker, Chewsr, Gramurs and Car Next Door – all of which found a gap in the marketplace. Mr Campbell (2017) explained that such start-ups are part of the fastest growing business archetypes and how internally they reduce expenses such as hiring desk spaces rather than office rooms, employees also have the option to work away from set office locations. This can be helpful when one is considering setting up a new business, as one must evaluate the viability and practicality of its operations through financial planning. Planning is an important stage in a business which was mentioned throughout the talks – ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.

Always consult with each other. While it is as important to have a good support network (family, friends and mentors) that one can fall back on if anything goes wrong or who can provide invaluable and continuous review/feedback. A business must find and engage with the right people capable of doing the job/task (employees, business partners and investors) – such meeting places and social situations are evaluated at later depth below. Where employee roles can range from: design, technology, sales, developers and product managers. (Campbell, 2017) These connections are expanded upon by Brad Eisenhuth Co-founder of The Outperformer (2017) in his lecture on networking in the employment market, that will also later be expanded upon. Also, for someone who is considering a new startup idea, it is important for one’s career options that they do not burn the bridge with the previous employer, as there can be uncertainty in whether one would need to go back to work at some stage during the initial phase of the new business, in order to earn more capital that can fund the startup in its early stages.

Mr Campbell (2017) went on to cover (i) technology trends, (ii) career options and (iii) the changing business world. Following from Mr Fitzpatrick’s (2017) talk that stated how the economy is becoming more globalised – in which technologies role in the workplace is ever increasing. Despite, the role of technology increasing in the workplace, to argue that innovation, machines or foreign workers replace jobs, is in essence wrong due to there being an infinite amount of work to be done. Another wrongly stated issue impacting upon graduate employment rates would be that “there are more students than there are internship positions (Internship Imbalance Problem).” (Wilson, 2013, p.174) This assigns an unknown quantity to the statement and therefore draws attention away from the real issue that is students graduating with the same skills and degrees, with little or no real world experience. Mr Campbell (2017) defined this as a shift from recruitment to talent acquisition.

High performance is subjective as Brad Eisenhuth (2017) said in his lecture on Career Development – meaning that career choice is dependent upon the behaviours and goals of the individual and not the employment market, age, recruiters or network as absolute factors. “For instance, Rodolfa et al. (2013) identified six clusters of competencies [in successful individuals in their internships that are]: General Knowledge, Evidence-Based Decision-Making, Interpersonal and Cultural Competence, Professionalism/Ethics, Assessment, and Intervention/Supervision/Consultation.” (Rodolfa in Riccio, 2015, p.998) Mr Eisenhuth (2017) then went on to formulate a system that shows key stages to advancing throughout a successful and rewarding career, in an acronym called the ‘CHIN System’.

The first step is ‘Clairy’ that works as a way to identify an intern’s assets and to reveal what an intern values as important to themselves and that align a career with these mission statements. This career compass employs a strong degree of self-awareness, emotional intelligence and values alignment. “Many stakeholders, including the potential employers of our students, are advocating values-based recruitment and the utilization of [emotional intelligence] measures and training as a tool for selection of staff and for senior staff/leadership development.” (McKenna & Webb, 2013, p.560)

The second step is ‘High Performance’ – Eisenhuth (2017) referred to this as being subjective. In order to evaluate ourselves, to be perceived as a high performer and to provide value to customers. Firstly, in order to evaluate ourselves one must ask questions as without questions one would have arrived at no answers. A good question needs to be clear and concise to the prospect from its meaning, content and implication. It must frame or set the scene for your product or service. One must build prospect credibility by asking superior questions. To separate oneself in a highly competitive climate one must ask questions that the competition never thought to ask. Build rapport through prospect focused questions on achievements. Use yes questions to spark a response from the prospect drawing toward the close. This follows on to being perceived as a high performer as the idea of asking questions is the heart of a sales presentation. In turn, these answers form to create and distinguish your brand – customers buy your value or service because they anticipate enjoying a value that they would not have had in the absence of your product or service. Until someone can show value to someone else, neither parties can agree on what they want. In addition, without the sales that result from creating value, one would not create wealth.

The third step is ‘Influence’ – Eisenhuth (2017) referred to this as a key leadership principle and is often the difference between results and frustration. Large organisations do not want to waste valuable time and resources to teach a new employee – managers would rather invest in someone that wants to create opportunities for the organisation. This refers back to the changing business world as one must be able to adapt quickly to new business methods, procedures and systems. Therefore, one must learn to establish a level of rapport with the prospect and be able to convey a message to create a desired result or direction – as this forms an intern’s immediate influence in the specific work related context.

The final step is ‘Networks’ – Eisenhuth (2017) referred to networks as powerful tools for acquiring jobs, capital and investment opportunities. “Networking involves establishing and using contacts for information, support, and other assistance in order to achieve career goals.” (Puetz, 2007, p.577) However, networking does not mean interacting with someone for them to become a mere means to your end (an undeveloped network), rather good networking is mutually beneficial. Having a good network allows one to cooperate both externally (to recieve perspective, support and opportunity) and internally (being connected, valued and completing objectives/results), which connects and builds trust with and within an organisation. There is huge untapped potential and opportunities waiting for an employee who can build a well known reputation within a particular specialisation, industry or interest. Whether, the employee are seeking employment, business partners, or simply ideas/skill acquisition. To conclude Eisenhuth (2017) said for the ‘CHIN System’ to work successfully all steps must be equally balanced, in perfect flow and always be improving upon one another.

Aaron Bambrick and Ross McLelland (2017) spoke on the transitioning phase from planning to interviews, as well as industry trends. Aaron (2017) stressed the importance of communication skills in interviews and how employers focus on behavioural cues of the interview candidate. “In a survey conducted by Peterson (1997), almost 99% of employers surveyed stated that verbal and nonverbal communication skills affected their hiring decisions, and only 60% indicated that their job applicants in the adult workforce were able to display effective communication skills during their initial interviews.” (Olszewski, Panorska, and Gillam, 2016, p.1) Therefore, being prepared before the interview can show suitability for a role and be the difference between a follow up meeting or immediate rejection. Aaron (2017) went on to present examples and ways in which a graduate job seeker can practice for tough interview questions, and the importance of having pre-prepared responses. A job seeker that knows their strengths and weaknesses applicable to the role are as a result much better off than their competition when it comes to the interview. In addition, it is important to present work experience and career goals that are aligned to the job being sought after and that are adaptive to new industry trends.

However, drawing back upon Eisenhuth (2017) mention of ‘networks’ as powerful tools for acquiring jobs, capital and investment opportunities. There is much evidence that networks can actually allow and offer more opportunities than can going for standard interviews/meetings and which was referred back to during the talks. As meeting with someone over an informal lunch rather than a formal interview/meeting is where most of the speakers gained the right common ground, connection, and opportunity from another person without asking directly. It is possible to be direct when asking for something, however when one works on a relationship then it is more rewarding and long lasting. Most often in this so-called ‘coffee/lunch’ meeting, you can bounce ideas back and forth and learn about the organisational needs, the ask is made a lot easier and surprisingly it does not have to come from yourself, rather the client who recognises your dedication and passion for your industry and set skills will do the asking. As someone is more likely to do business with a friend, and such a meeting can make oneself the clients five minute friend.

Networking can be a proactive approach to meeting people to learn with the prospect of helping them. Andrew Campbell (2017) spoke about how to approach strangers (possibly be the next business employer/investor) and introduce yourself at business functions. Mostly these consisted of people at functions being either singles, triples or closed pairs, explaining how and which group to target. Concluding that those in triples and singles are more likely to accept you into the group upon introductions. Where positive body language and creating value for your services offer a higher chance for rewarding and open social interaction.

Ultimately, after comparing and contrasting the different speakers and topics raised in these workshops it has provided invaluable insights from networking skills to startup lessons. To summarise, students and graduates today should be focused on quickly adapting to the changing face of the workplace, with new technology and startups making business more tailored and affordable. Graduates must be job ready to create valuable networks and grow their personal brand, in order to be best prepared for present job opportunities amid the highly competitive climate. To conclude with a personal learning outcome from the workshops and guest speakers: it is the student’s responsibility to take control of their own career and must actively create opportunities by sitting down to engage in discussion with a prospect. Hopefully, they will go on to change the world, create value and learn in-demand skills.

Reference List

Brambrick A., McLelland R. (2017, March). Week 2 Business Internship Seminar (2017), Presented at Seminar 2, BS390: Business Internship Unit, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Australia. Seminar given on 10/03/2017.

Campbell, A. (2017, March). Week 3 Business Internship Seminar: Startup Insights (2017), Presented at Seminar 3, BS390: Business Internship Unit, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Australia. Seminar given on 17/03/2017.

Eisenhuth, B (2017, March), Career Development, Presented at Seminar 1, BS390: Business Internship Unit, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Australia. Seminar given on 03/03/2017.

Fitzpatrick, Darren, (2017, March). Week 1 Business Internship Seminar (2017), Presented at Seminar 1, BS390: Business Internship Unit, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Australia. Seminar given on 03/03/2017

McKenna, J., & Webb, J. (2013). Emotional intelligence. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(12), 560-560. doi:10.1177/030802261307601202

Olszewski, A., Panorska, A., & Gillam, S. L. (2016). Training verbal and nonverbal communication interview skills to adolescents. Communication Disorders Quarterly, doi:10.1177/1525740116678095

Puetz, B. E. (2007). networking. Public Health Nursing, 24(6), 577-579. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1446.2007.00671.x

Riccio, C. A., Cook, K. T., Fenning, P., & Harris, A. M. (2015). Determining readiness for internship: A complex process: Readiness for internship. Psychology in the Schools, 52(10), 998-1007. doi:10.1002/pits.21872

Sosland, J. K., & Lowenthal, D. J. (2017). The forgotten educator: Experiential learning’s internship supervisor. Journal of Political Science Education, 13(1), 1. doi:10.1080/15512169.2016.1165106

Wilson, G., Meyerson, D., Meyerson, L. & Bolson, A. (2013). A legal “case” against the internship placement system and a proposal to fix the system and the internship imbalance. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 7(3), 174-184. doi:10.1037/a0033449