MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes

“Exploring professionalism … Workplace behaviours in practice … Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice”
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Summaries

  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > What is professionalism?
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > Graduate insights into professionalism
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > Student insights into professionalism
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 2: Workplace behaviours in practice > Employer insights into professionalism
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Advice from employers on preparing for placements
  • MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Student placement experiences

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > What is professionalism?

  • ANNA These may be slightly different depending on the industry, organisation or role, but as a rule of thumb, every employer will expect certain behaviours from you.
  • You are expected to begin work demonstrating certain aspects of professionalism from the get go.
  • There may be specific expectations in your field which are part of professional standards of the occupation or the culture of the organisation.
  • REA So what are these behaviours and attitudes? They generally cover the following things: attire and presentation, language, punctuality, and how you work with others.
  • These 4 points are behaviours which reflect your work ethic and your general attitude towards your job and your workplace.
  • If your organisation does not provide you with a uniform, you still need to be dressed and presented professionally.
  • You will also need to dress in a way that reflects the culture of the organisation; this is something you will need to work out for yourself by observing your colleagues.
  • ANNA Some industries are more conservative than others, with a range of clients with their own expectations of how people in the profession should look.
  • If the culture of the organisation is such that conservative dress is a requirement, then it is important for you to comply.
  • On the flip side, there may be organisations where how you dress and present yourself is not so important and you have the freedom to express your individuality.
  • Basically, this comes down to how well you manage your time in general – in getting to work and in finishing tasks so that you are present at meetings on time.
  • So what about our final point, and how you work with others? Working with other people can be quite challenging at times.
  • At work you cannot usually choose who you work with and it is important to maintain good working relationships with people even if you don’t like them.
  • Being professional is part of those personal attributes as your approach to your work impacts on your ability – and your colleagues – to perform well in your job.
  • ANNA We’ve also told you about how your employability is not just about YOUR career – it’s about how you contribute to the productivity of your organisation.
  • If you are unable to get along with your colleagues, you could potentially stall the progression of work if conflict interrupts the smooth running of the organisation.
  • How you present yourself should be a reflection of the organization’s values and if you don’t embody these values in your attire, presentation and communication with others, then this may also have an impact on the organisation’s success and be career limiting for you.
  • Professionalism is about demonstrating that you take your job seriously, respect your co-workers and clients, and that you embody the values of your organisation and your professional field.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > Graduate insights into professionalism

  • EMILY I think professionalism, it very much, I guess, depends on the context.
  • In nursing or in any job, I think being punctual is incredibly important.
  • I think making sure that you look professional is essential to any job, I believe, as well.
  • Making sure-I think professionalism is really about doing the things that you’re comfortable with, in a way that you’re comfortable with it, and being aware of how other people react to the things you say and the things you do, I think, is very important, so always considering how what you say might affect other people.
  • In nursing, I think that all comes down to making sure that you’re considering confidentiality, and you’re considering the patient, and what will make their experience comfortable, and make them comfortable with you, and trust you in that environment.
  • As a professional, that’s something that’s really important.
  • I think a lot of that contributes to professionalism.
  • I think there is a difference between speaking professionally to a colleague who might be on the same level as you, and speaking professionally to a boss or to someone who isn’t in the same department as you.
  • LUCY I think what professionalism means to me is being able to work in a team really well and be creative and collaborate, that’s something that’s probably quite specific to public relation, especially the creativity side of that.
  • There’s still-skills like team work, I think, are really applicable probably all across the industry.
  • Being able to maintain good relationships, whether that’s with your colleagues or for instance maybe with journalists or clients as well, I think that’s really important for professionalism.
  • I think my main example for me of times I’ve had a bit of a professionalism gaff is something that I’ve only realised in hindsight.
  • The way I sort of pitch out client stories to them, and even give task to my colleagues, I think, sounded sometimes a bit too presumptuous or a bit entitled, which I think is something you really want to try and eliminate as a grad, because it’s so important to be a bit of a sponge in your first few years of work and just learn from the people around you, and take all the advice you can get.
  • I think communication’s a big one and an important one to consider in professionalism.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 1: Exploring professionalism > Student insights into professionalism

  • I want to work in the community sector, so that also looks incredibly different depending on who you talk to.
  • If you’re out on the ground working with the local community group you would dress really differently and talk really differently to what you would if you’re meeting with government or a business representative.
  • STEPH For me, for example, respecting the job means really basic things like turning up to work on time, respecting the position that you’re in, and dressing appropriately.
  • It doesn’t mean wearing tight skirts or the most expensive suit, but showing the company that you’re working with that, “Hey, I respect what you do. I respect that sometimes I might actually be a representative of your company as well. If you have clients coming or people I’m interacting with, and that I can be the face of your company. I can take that on.” Then also respecting the people that you work with and doing things, like, asking for help, staying back late if they need it, always being ready to take on a new challenge, and also somewhat basically as well doing the really boring stuff.
  • They’re going to work really hard, so that they can ultimately get a paid job and be able to survive in DC. The rules, again, were pretty basic.
  • They, I guess in a sense, saw their time as more valuable than those of the people they were working with.
  • On one occasion-well, actually, on multiple occasions, one of the interns was turning up late to work.
  • He would complain that he wasn’t getting the work from the legislative directors.
  • It’s because, at the end of the day, he couldn’t even turn up to work on time, so they weren’t going to reward him, in a sense, with other things if he couldn’t do the most basic tasks.
  • I’ve had experiences where, working with other interns, they, I guess, respect their time and their position more than that of other people, and ultimately treat their coworkers and, oftentimes it’s secretaries, without respect.
  • It just shows that you’re not someone who other people will want to work with.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 2: Workplace behaviours in practice > Employer insights into professionalism

  • REBECCA It’s more respect to other people, respect your team, respect every member of your team on a different level.
  • It’s really like a personality, a cultural fit more than this, more than a degree or wearing a tie and suit.
  • CLAIRE If I’m interviewing people and I’m looking for those professional attributes, it’s fairly easy to spot when people aren’t telling you the truth because they start blushing.
  • I can ask them test questions just to see how people feel about particular things.
  • I normally manage to, sort of, flush out those people who I think are just winging it a little bit too much and don’t actually have what we need, which is a really good, healthy dose of those three things.
  • CRAIG I think the big one is being able to just read the people you’re sitting around the room.
  • Often it’s just a case of a cultural faux pas, or kind of missing cues, and those sort of things, and as a result they’ve sort of put their foot in front of the client, or put their foot in front of a perspective employer just because they haven’t done it.
  • Really sort of simple example in my capacity as sort of employer, someone comes in for interview, and they’ll start with the, “How’s it going, mate?” type of introduction.
  • That’s the type of thing where if you read that room wrong, that person is put off by that sort of thing, you’ve sort of gone too colloquial too soon, and then all of the sudden you’ve sort of crossed the line.
  • I don’t think it’s necessarily-sorry, I think unprofessionalism necessarily is purely related to this sort of classic examples that you might think of in terms of, say getting drunk at a function or those sorts of things.
  • In terms of the rest of how we communicate and things like that, it definitely differs depending on what role you’re in.
  • Some areas you are expected to be a little bit more professional, a bit more formal in how you speak to each other, especially things like e-mails.
  • In terms of other areas, we are quite strict on sort of how we like things to come across.
  • It is something that we really do take it to heart that people are really on the ball at all times, and they are really staying to Harrods’ guidelines.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice

  • REA What do employers value above ABSOLUTELY ANY other development activity? You guessed it! Employers value WORK experience.
  • It’s, true, there is no better way to prepare for work than to actually work! If you have the opportunity to gain work experience – because a placement is part of your degree or you have secured an internship – then it is vital that you make the most of it.
  • These experiences may be called different things in different disciplines and parts of the world.
  • Here in Australia we call these experiences practicums, pracs, clinical placements, industry placements or internships.
  • We’re talking about any kind of degree-related experience working in a workplace or professional environment whilst still a student.
  • Treat the experience as if it were a paid, professional job.
  • Get the most out of the experience as it is a really valuable learning opportunity.
  • A placement can help consolidate your knowledge and skills in your field and provide you with opportunities for REAL rather than simulated experience.
  • As we’ve said, placements and internships are practice for the real world of work – so dress and present yourself as if it were an actual job.
  • Secondly, as we’ve said, practicum placements and internships are valuable learning experiences.
  • You need to be proactive about making the most out of the experience by looking for any additional learning opportunities and being willing to take constructive criticism and listen and observe.
  • In my own experience as a teaching student, I feel the most valuable learning in my degree happened on placement – observing other teachers and from actually being in front of a class of children myself.
  • Just remember, the whole experience is part of your ongoing employability development.
  • Use the SEAL method of self-reflection to evaluate your experiences and consider which skills and attributes you have developed and how you will take this learning forward.
  • Take note of the challenges and new experiences and reflect on how the actions that you took have enhanced your employability.
  • Documenting your learning can also help you with associated assignments or reporting to supervisors that you need to do if the placement is part of your degree course work.
  • A practicum placement or internship can provide you with a quality learning experience in terms of your profession and expectations in the workplace generally.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Advice from employers on preparing for placements

  • APRIL The advice I’d give to students who are about to commence their clinical placement is that they’re coming into a professional workplace, where they potentially want to gain employment later on.
  • They need to display all those behaviours that their employer or potential employer would want to see.
  • BRANT Some advice I would give to an intern looking for an opportunity would be to really investigate the companies that you are wanting to potentionally work for.
  • Just ensuring what is the work that they do, is aligned with what your wanting experience in and what you want to do in your future career.
  • I think if you’re looking for an opportunity in a big company, but their not providing you with the opportunity to actually do hands on work and not just sharpening pencils and making photocopies, but actually doing meaningful productive work.
  • Because you want to be able to put that on your CV and show that you are having some direction with your career and that the opportunities that you are picking out in terms on internships are leading you down that path.
  • REBECCA The best advice I can give to the interns or our future interns is just take this time really to develop yourself, to show your personality, to be motivated and engaged, because after these four weeks, we can make you a great offer if you are and if you want it, as well.

MODULE 5: Workplace behaviours and attitudes > 3: Internships and placements: Pre-professional practice > Student placement experiences

  • Some organisations might contribute to charities, contribute to community with development projects, or something that really gives it an edge over another organisation.
  • If you can understand the holistic organisation and everything that it can offer, you’re going to be much more of an asset to them during an internship or volunteering process, because you can speak on behalf of how great the organisation is, and also see where you could move and get new opportunities within the same organisation, if your passions or understandings align with maybe another sector of the organisation or a specific person that’s acting within that space.
  • STEPH Preparing, say, for a role in a commercial firm will be very different from preparing for a role in a volunteer organisation or in an overseas organisation as well.
  • If you’re working for a volunteer organisation, research what type of work they’ve been involved in recently, what type of people you might be working with.

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