Few weeks ago on a fine morning, I was sitting in the reception of an organisation that is reasonably growing in it’s employee strength. I was there to pitch my new program “YACHT – Young Associates Corporate Honing and Transformation” that’s specially designed for young employees who are just joining the corporate world.
As I was waiting for the Learning & Development Head to arrive, I was served a cup of coffee. Sipping the machine made coffee (I always love hand made filter coffee) I was quietly observing the young minds walking into the organisation and wondering how can an organisation turn it’s young employees into passionate professionals. In my experience working with young people is the most inspiring and rewarding job, at times it could also become difficult and demanding.
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With the global workforce undergoing a seismic shift with young Millennials constituting majority, attracting young talent, inspiring them to perform and retaining is critical to success of any organisation. As employ-ability skills among young people are hitting downward curves, it will become more and more challenging to recruit talent that organisations need. It will become even more difficult to make them passionate professionals who will perform at their best.
Here are 5 ways to build passionate young professionals:
1. Build a culture of participation
Relationship between the individuals and organisations is fast changing. Hence the work culture is changing too. Old time paternalistic model of an organisation that takes good care of an employee in return for work is no more relevant among the young employees today. They value transparency, flexibility and opportunity to make a difference and they want the same in return from the organisation. The more they feel like their voice and views are heard, more they feel responsible and committed to the organisation. Get your young employees involved in initiatives, discussions and even in strategic planning.
2. Empower, don’t micromanage
Young employees are from the generation of privacy. I call them “ear plugs generation” who are used to select their own songs and music only for them at their own will. Obviously they would not like to be micromanaged and look for more freedom to work in their own space and time. Research has proven that micromanaged employees become annoyed, angry and quit the organisations. Young employees want to find purposes within the job and freedom to discover new opportunities for them. They love to be trusted and valued for their independent decisions and the impact they create for the organisation.
When young employees are empowered, they suddenly become responsible and start taking ownership for the work given to them. At regular intervals put them into situations that will build their confidence and strengthen their belief about themselves and their abilities. They will soon become your great future leaders.
3. Help them understand the big picture
Millennials want to be part of something bigger than themselves, they want to contribute to betterment of the world around them. They are passionate about contributing to the large cause than just doing some disconnected activity. Younger people want to work for organisations that provide meaning and create social value. They want their work to mean something, to contribute in a larger way to society and the world. It’s very important for the organisations, especially managers to show them the importance of their role in the organisation and how their work contribute to making the world a better place to live. Channeling all their energy and motivation into more positive direction would bring great zeal in young employees.
4. Coach them, don’t train
Don’t keep complaining about their lack of seriousness, lack of sense of urgency, lack of professionalism etc. For most of them workplace is just an extension of their universities. They view job as a continuation of their education. They want instantaneous and honest feedback along with formal development programs that will enable them to develop knowledge and skills. Improving your firm’s ability to give honest, timely, and useful coaching will benefit employees of all ages, younger ones in specific. Managers need to systematically coach them, help them understand their responsibilities, assist them navigate their career paths.
5. Update your HR policies
Young talent is primarily hired for their fresh knowledge and new thinking, but managing them effectively requires different strategy than some of your older employees. Having outdated HR policies that’s about mandatory attendance and working hours, measuring performance on a bell curve, discipline system, strict dress code policy, etc will surely drive your young employees to leave. Companies need to design different HR policies to attract and motivate young employees to perform. Build policies that will suit both the professional and personal needs of young employees.
There are some new age companies who are allowing their employees to set their own goals and work towards them, sticking to a timeline which is also decided by them. Companies are tailoring health benefits according to the need of the employee instead of having a common blanket policy. Seamless job rotation across businesses, locations and functions are becoming the way of life in many organisations. Focus in identifying and grooming potential leaders with academic programs within the organisation and in leading institutions is largely increasing.
Yet with all these efforts you might not see an overnight transformation, but implementing these steps in workplace is vital to the success of today’s organisations those are filled with young employees. Organisations that lead and grow the talent of young employees, organisations that systematically build strategies to convert young employees into passionate professionals will get a great competitive advantage.
Sivakumar Palaniappan is a Professional Speaker, Author and Career Coach. He is passionate about Youth Development, speaks and writes for/about young minds. More about him at www.sivakumarpalaniappan.com