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Helping Young Professionals Transition Into The Workforce

June 25, 2024by Barbara Flynn0

By Monday.com


Many young workers these days feel so unprepared for office life that they aren’t even lasting long enough to receive their first paychecks. In a ResumeBuilder.com survey, 74% of managers and business leaders said they believe Gen Z is more difficult to work with than other generations, and 12% have fired a Gen Z employee after less than one week on the job. Several experts blame college campuses for this gap, claiming that universities have overly coddled students since the pandemic by lowering performance standards and being too lenient about remote attendance policies.


Regardless of who’s at fault, however, as a manager, it’s so important to help the next generation on your team find their footing and feel connected in order to maximize their potential and ensure they become valued contributors.


So, what should you do to help young professionals effectively transition onto your team?


Invest in their onboarding


According to Deloitte and PwC, recent graduates are struggling with communication and teamwork tasks, which is why the two consulting giants have been providing these new recruits with extra training on skills that may have been neglected during the pandemic – such as giving face-to-face presentations and participating in in-person meetings. Similarly, as a manager, in addition to the typical onboarding for younger workers that focuses on developing professional skills, finding one’s bearings in the office, and building connections across the team, for those just entering the workforce, it’s also important to help them with those more interpersonal and cultural-related office skills that are needed to succeed. So, be sure to add in additional onboarding sessions for recent grads that tackle those areas as well.


Acknowledge the challenge


Unlike at university where everyone is new together and going through orientation at the same time, when you’re newer to the workforce, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who isn’t an expert. That’s why, as a leader, it’s so important to invest in making young professionals feel included and assure them that they’re not expected to know everything from the get-go. This transition can be really overwhelming, so make sure to emphasize that everyone has been in their shoes before and that it’s completely understandable if it takes some time to feel adjusted.


Help build connections


A recent study by BetterUp Labs found that individuals with many connections in the workplace are 73% more engaged than their less-connected peers and that those experiencing higher levels of belonging reported 109% less burnout and have a 313% lower intention to quit than their less connected counterparts. So, a great way to help with the transition into the workforce is to give young professionals a more experienced buddy on the team who can serve as their go-to for any day-to-day questions. It’s best to choose a team member with high emotional intelligence who’s really patient to ensure they make space for this person to come to them without judgment or frustration. If possible, try to prioritize those on your team who are interested in developing into more managerial positions, as this is great practice for the qualities needed to be a great leader.


Additionally, help these younger professionals build connections with the rest of their teammates by inviting them to group lunches and coffee breaks, and over time, planning social activities like happy hours and shared meals outside the workplace to further get to know one another. Even in remote work settings, it’s still helpful to schedule non-work-related meetings with the team to create opportunities for more casual and light-hearted exchanges.


Prepare useful resources


From work communications to office software, make sure to really take a step back and identify what work-related concepts or skills may be more foreign to those recently entering the workforce, and do your best to create practical resources that can help ease the friction. Whether it’s links to useful websites that employees tend to use to speed up certain work processes, a list of who to go to for what – HR for this, IT for that – or a brief document with business-related terminology, do your best to prepare resources ahead of time that your younger professionals can easily reference.


Also, in order to create a well-rounded onboarding experience for those transitioning into the workforce, ask stakeholders whom you know have specific skills that could be useful to your new team members – from being great at presenting to larger groups to knowing how to connect with clients – to create resources or brief presentations that can be shared as well. Depending on their bandwidth, it’s great when these individuals can serve as points of contact that young professionals can turn to with specific questions or challenges going forward.


Promote collaboration


Help young professionals find their footing at work by designating time in group meetings for other employees to present what they’re working on to the rest of the group and encourage others to ask questions, share feedback and insights, and offer up ideas for ways to improve. This way, your team members can get the input and suggestions they need to deliver their best work, while these newer joiners can witness how effective feedback is given, understand team dynamics and communication styles, and learn from what others are working on.


On a similar note, young professionals often have helpful fresh perspectives to share, so make sure to create space for them to ask questions and share their insights as well.


Be a present leader


Do your best to really make time for your team members, especially those who are just entering the workforce. Even just 30 minutes a week for one-on-one check-ins can make a huge difference for young professionals as they get adjusted and provide them with the necessary space to voice their challenges, express what’s causing any stress, and get the guidance they need from you. Additionally, make sure to recognize their growth and small wins to help them build confidence and strengthen their sense of belonging.

Barbara Flynn

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