Teamwork. Communication. Goal setting. Problem solving. These are all things that are clearly important both in and outside the workplace, but they can be hard to learn and teach. Unlike “hard skills”, like learning how to drive or learning first aid, there’s often no classes in learning teamwork and communication.
This is something Mission Possible recognized, and has made it a priority to teach these important “soft skills”. The process of developing these skills starts in the 3 day Employment Readiness Workshops. Participants are led through several exercises in identifying and cultivating soft skills.
After the workshop, participants who continue the Employment Readiness Program get to use these newly honed skills on the job during their 6 months with an MP Enterprise.
Our associates come from many different walks of life. However, no matter what their past experience, everyone finds they have something to learn when it comes to teamwork. In the words of one past associate, “teamwork means working together, helping each other, and communicating”. As the team works together over time, one associate noted she saw a difference in the way she was treated; “I saw that people became more patient with me over time.” Teamwork is an essential skill in any work environment, and by working on close-knit teams, Mission Possible encourages a “family ambiance” where associates look out for each other.
In order to keep the day-to-day operations of Mission Possible running as smoothly as possible, effective communication is vital. Supervisors model this everyday for associates through being honest, patient, and transparent. One associate shared, “the supervisors are supportive… they’re patient, they explain things over and over again until I understand, and they’re so positive at the same time.” Likewise, another associate said supervisors demonstrated the ability to listen without judgement. Through being shown that care, she says that she developed her skills in exercising patience with others and being empathetic as to “understand where they’re coming from… you gotta understand it’s not always about you.”
Many associates credit the ongoing, one-on-one coaching as helping them set and achieve goals. During coaching, associates receive assistance in identifying and prioritizing goals that will help empower them in their lives. Through having someone to remain accountable to, associates have the chance to see the “big picture” and set long-term goals that will help them steer their life in the direction they want it to go. One associate notes that without coaching, they might not have gotten out of survival mode and been able to start thinking about other things.
Despite ongoing support throughout the program, it’s inevitable that associates will encounter some bumps on the road. However, it is through these opportunities where they really receive the chance to utilize problem-solving skills. For example, one associate was discouraged when he found out he was ineligible to complete his security licensing. Using the skills he learned, however, he bounced back with a plan to take courses that he was eligible for in order to improve his resume. At the time of this publishing, he continues to take this set back in stride, and shows his resilience in being able to solve problems as they come up.
All this work in the soft skills of associates pays off. The majority of graduated associates say that Mission Possible has not only prepared them for further employment, but that their personal life has been positively impacted as well. Whether the barrier is navigating other social services, overcoming shyness, or maintaining sobriety, Mission Possible’s associates prove they are capable of overcoming what is standing in their way. It is an honour for Mission Possible to help enable these amazing cases of personal growth.