The best fit…

Yes, education is a part of the journey in life.  Formal or informal, education allows us to understand ourselves and what we want to achieve.  Our purpose.  How we want to live, work within the time that is given us, and contribute.  Mapping that out is hard, especially if you are student and an employer.

In my PPC class, we are entering into several chapters focused on finding the best employees for  companies or finding the best fit for you as an employee.  The other professors and educators on my floor heard me grumbling, and swarmed out of their offices.  We are like that here in the north of center.  We tend to help each other and brainstorm well.  On average, we bring at least 120 years of tourism and hospitality industry experience if we added up all of our working time.  We bring that breadth of knowledge to the halls of our department.  Our playground is an eclectic landscape, full of individual nuances and intelligence.  Even with all of our difference, we have a good fit.

But what do we need to do for our students?  How do we aid them in understanding this process?  How do they know if they are the best fit for a company? Or even if the company is the best fit for them?

Mr. Jay Jones, Program Director of HRT, Lecturer ~ UW Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership.
Mr. Jay Jones, Program Director of HRT, Lecturer ~ UW Stout, School of Hospitality Leadership.

As an educator, it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the working environment–Jay Jones, MSc Program Director, HRT UW-Stout

And that means discussing this aspect of their careers.  We have an open dialogue with our industry partners and advisory board to understand the needs of the industry. To know what corporations want from interns and graduating seniors.  We know from experience that labor costs are one of the chief expenses that could make or break a business.  It does cost money to hire someone.  And if that person isn’t a best fit, that investment is wasted.  People are an investment.  Planning is paramount in steering students towards their goals.

I have worked in jobs I hated, because of the mindset instilled by my parents that I needed a job.  Find a job.  At a young age, like my students, I didn’t understand the full complexity of the hiring process.  The career process.  I didn’t see the complete picture.  Nothing against my parents, they were of a generation that took jobs for life.  I entered an industry that had high turnover and job jumping was standard.  Average length of time in any one place was seven years.  Possibly less.  Yet, that job jumping could have been within the same company or different companies.  Our feet were never fixed in one place long.

Just like our students.  We only have them for a short amount of time, not even four years of study.  Job offers are coming during their third year, even first semester of their senior year.  Our students are in high demand for their skill sets developed during their tenure.  This means that education is changing just as the employment horizon.  We need to map out the landscape to meet their needs.  We need to understand them, and challenge their intellect in new ways.  We need to be asking the right questions.  Not just to understand their mindset, but also deliver on our promises.  We need greater insight.

Hence, why cultural intelligence (CQ)  goes beyond a global workforce.  Employing the principles of cultural intelligence even at this level aids us in asking the right questions.  We ascertain and acquire much-needed knowledge.  Educating the students to CQ can aid them for their chosen careers.  What is cultural intelligence?

Definitions of cultural intelligence
From the Cultural Intelligence Center, the definitions of cultural intelligence.

The definition has both a domestic and global perspective.  Simply, within a domestic working environment, we all come from various socio-cultural backgrounds.  As leaders, we need to realize that diversity and ask the right questions, to establish working relationships.

Domestic CQ can best be described as working and relating effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds in your own country. The culturally intelligent person who understands domestic diversity is able to work effectively with peers, colleagues and customers from different cultural backgrounds at home. ~ Cultural Intelligence Center, What is CQ?

From a global point of view, global CQ is:

Global CQ can best be described as working and relating effectively across international cultures. This may occur during international travel, when interacting with a global, virtual team, or when talking with people from other countries. The culturally intelligent person who understands global diversity is able to work more effectively with peers, colleagues and customers from different nationalities. ~ Cultural Intelligence Center, What is CQ?

Both are important in the hospitality sector of the tourism industry.  We are driven by tangible and intangible services.  What sets one tangible product apart from others is the human element.  And understanding all of our stakeholders and their needs, wants is important.  Not just customers.  Employees are stakeholders.  If we don’t have a best fit, resources are squandered, and long-range implications can result.

So, finding that best fit means asking a host of questions beside arming students with a skill set.  Both professional and personal.  Digging deep into their needs and wants.  Their point of view on relationships and work.  Communication is key.

This is a journey for all of us.  Sometimes, we must get lost to find focus.  This is life’s journey and just one aspect.  To find fulfilling purpose, the more we understand ourselves, understand our path, the greater potential for success.

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