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Jul 10, 2018 | Aidan Brass
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
What skills are most valuable for new Human Resources graduates? This is the question that Kwantlen Polytechnic University, located in the greater Vancouver area, put out to the BC business community when developing their Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management degree program.
Lesley McCannell, a Professor at the University, was part of a team who worked with industry representatives to develop a unique program ensuring graduates have the right skills to be successful human resources professionals ready to pursue their Chartered Professional in Human Resource (CPHR) designation.
The degree development team asked industry representatives, “What do we need to do in our classrooms to make sure that our students are prepared for you?” The most common response was to teach them to work with people at different organizational levels and with different personal styles.
To help students develop the personal awareness and interpersonal proficiency to work effectively with others, McCannell integrated the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument, a versatile assessment of personality type, and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument® (TKI®), an assessment that examines how conflict handling styles affect personal and group dynamics, into the Human Relations course outline.
The class begins the semester with the MBTI tool to provide students with a baseline for their personal development and goal setting. Introducing the MBTI assessment early on gives students the framework for understanding their own behaviour as well as others’ behaviour through personality type.
Based on the knowledge that the Myers-Briggs® assessment offers, McCannell integrates an ideology that she calls “The Dual Focus,” which involves using the information internally to improve personal awareness and set development goals; then applying it externally to improve relationships with managers and teams. McCannell believes, “the core of Human Resources Management is, really, working with people effectively.”
Next the class tackles one of the most common areas of development, conflict resolution, with the help of the TKI. “I find a lot of people struggle with conflict, but through the TKI we change their perspective on conflict; then by adding in specific conflict resolution skills, students start to develop the ability that it takes to be effective conflict resolution experts,” McCannell explains. “When they start to articulate their fallback approach to resolving conflict, and they start to recognize some of the challenges that that approach creates for them – for a lot of students, that is a powerful takeaway: to choose how you behave in conflict, and make it conscious.”
“The MBTI and TKI assessments give students different lenses to view and understand behaviour. And this perspective makes them more effective at working with all levels in the organization,” says McCannell.
Richard N. Sakaki, CPHR and Vice-President of Human Resources with Mainroad Group, stated, “I have been extremely impressed with the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s co-op students we have hired, specifically in their understanding of how to approach day-today activities and relationships in the workplace. Their knowledge of MBTI principles equips them to adjust and communicate effectively with diverse individuals and personalities, and is a key tool for them to build and leverage relationships at all levels in the organization.”
Lesley McCannell is a Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She holds a B.A.Honours in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration, and has worked in the fields of HR Management and Organizational Development for over 20 years.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (www.kpu.ca) is home to 19,500 students – 500 of whom are enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management program. The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Program in Human Resources Management provides full-time and part-time intensive study for students wishing to undertake studies in the human resources management field. Based on extensive consultations with business leaders, and explicit reference to the Required Professional Capabilities of the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designations, the degree is designed to prepare students to achieve the CPHR designation and for a range of Human Resources Professional roles.