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Six Tips for Working with Young People

Six Tips for Working with Young People
15 January 2019 John Moore

Millennials are rapidly becoming the largest employee demographic. In less a few years they will make up the majority, and by 2025, they will represent seventy-five per cent of the entire workforce. It is important to address the changes that come from having a younger workforce now so that employers are prepared for the wave of change as their senior staff starts to retire.

How Can Employers Prepare?

First, an evolutionary approach implemented now is better than waiting and having to revolutionise everything at one. Small and simple changes now can and will make a world of difference. Part of this process requires a mindset shift; the other part requires commitment from the leadership and management team. With those commitments in place, companies will see an impact almost straightaway.

Set clear expectations

Young people like to know what to expect at work, and what is expected from them. Having a clear picture of their day-to-day responsibilities helps young people to focus and prioritise tasks at work. This process starts with induction and onboarding. The clearer the expectations from the start, the better prepared they will be to successfully integrate into the company. Continuous rather than periodic check-ins are preferred by young people and they help to enforce accountability and help both managers and employees stay on track and manage expectations.

Offer guidance and support

This is especially early on in their career. Young people often need some extra guidance therefore let them know who they can go to for help. Make sure that this help is not just about telling them what to do and how to do it. Instead, make it about teach and training them them so that they can use the skills they are learning to solve other problems in the future. Balance out the times you help with times where you let them work through a problem on their own with minimal guidance. A top tip is to support them by helping them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills rather than solving their problems for them.

Deliver feedback more frequently

Young people expect a lot of feedback on how they are doing – much more than older employees. Remember that they have grown up with feedback, starting at school to now with the instant gratification that you can get from social media and their peers.

Regular, constructive feedback is important to young people as it helps them to stay on track with their goals and addresses problems as they arise. Make this a new work place habit and notice the impact it has on the young people you manage.

Provide ample learning opportunities

Young people are eager to learn new skills. Find lots of practical, non-traditional ways for them to learn. Address skill gaps by encouraging joint working and encouraging other employees and young people to learn from each other and by reflecting on results and thier experiences.

Show them where they can grow

Young people often choose to leave their job when they do not see opportunities for growth. Take time out to show them the potential career paths within your company and help them understand the steps they need to get there. Provide feedback to help them to track their progress towards advancement.

Give them a place to share their ideas

Young people just like everyone else, like to share their ideas. They want to be part of the discussion, not an afterthought. The disconnect comes from them not knowing who or where to direct these ideas to, so sometimes it seems like they are challenging things for no reason. Often, the reason for speaking up is to improve a process, propose a solution, or suggest a way that technology could streamline an existing process. Create an outlet where all your employees can go to share their ideas.

Here is some GREAT NEWS – these ideas help all employees to excel at work and not just young ones. Each of these actions show employees that their employer is invested in them and their development. To initiate the change, identify which idea best addresses the biggest challenge you are seeing at work. Begin by implementing the solution to that idea, then slowly introduce the others.


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John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.