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Recent Grads More Likely To Have Hard Time In Workplace


WBAL 1090AM.  JANUARY 31, 2013.  Sometimes it’s just hard to work with other people. And young adults seem more inclined to be loners than any other group.

According to a recent University of Phoenix national survey, 36 percent of young adults (ages 18-24) would rather work alone-- all the time—than work with people at their jobs.

The survey highlighted several key factors that may contribute to their reluctance to engage in teamwork, including verbal and physical confrontations, scapegoating, and spreading rumors.

But University of Phoenix Maryland Campus Director Josh Chumley said it is more important than ever that young team members in different offices, in different zones, and of different generations work together effectively.

“It is very important for young people to start off being able to work in groups because the workplace is so virtual,” Chumley told WBAL. “Today’s teams must be adaptable to working with members globally, and need to be able to effectively work and communicate with each other quickly and efficiently.

Interestingly, Chumley admitted that working in a workplace with many different generations can not only be difficult for young adults, but it can also be difficult for older people.

Nearly seven out 10 of all adults interviewed for the study said that they had worked on a dysfunctional team. Moreover, 40 percent of those who have ever worked on a team in the workplace said they had witnessed a verbal confrontation among team members, and 15 percent said a confrontation actually turned physical.

“There are at least four generations in the workplace and collaborating with different personalities can be challenging,” Chumley said. “But the work environment is more team oriented than ever before. Employers look for workers who can work well both independently and with others. Not working effectively in teams can limit an individual’s ability to grow and to move within their organization.“

Most workplaces require all workers to have team-building skills.

In fact, 65 percent of Americans say they believe that collaboration and team-building skills are among the necessary attributes that employers looked for in graduates. Conflict and team management were also listed

“It is important to be a team player,” Chumley said. “A team is made stronger by the collective experience of its members. It is important that team members share ideas, but the way those contributions are made can significantly affect a team’s performance.”

For those young adults who may be in a dysfunctional work environment, Chumley encourages them to get to know their coworkers outside of work. He also suggested that young adults find a mentor.

“One of the best things a young worker can do to better understand a workplace dynamic and to become more effective in the workplace is to find a mentor.“ he said. “A mentor can provide a different perspective and an outside opinion.”

He believes young adults who greatly recognize the benefits of team-building will be able to significantly progress in their future career success.