Practice and more practice: its centrality to young people coping with the communication challenges of the workplace

28 Jul 2020

Both oral and written communication is influential and prevalent in modern societies. This research study focused on interpersonal communication practices in a business context. The aim was to determine whether youths between 18 and 23 years of age undertaking their six-month period of internship as novice employees were adequately prepared to meet the demands of the workplace. Data were collected from the employers at organisations that employed novice employees. This provided critical perspectives on the competency of young people to cope with the communication demands of the workplace. Quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were used. Sixty eight (68) employers completed the questionnaires. Interviews were also conducted with six randomly selected employers at the organisations where the young people were undertaking their respective internships. The findings show that workplace communication is complex and that many young people struggle to meet the challenges of communicating adequately in the workplace. Deliberate practice is fundamental to the development of communication skills and expert performance in the workplace. Recommendations are made to better prepare young people to face the challenges and demands of the dynamic workplace