Recent grads or those entering the workforce with little experience are often very impressionable. They may have the skills and ambition to do a great job but have not yet fully formed an understanding about what it means to add value to an organization and what they can and should expect from their leaders and organization.
We’ve all heard the stories of the young, new graduate going through an “initiation” or being the dubbed the “coffee boy”. It may seem at first that aside from doing the daily coffee run, they have little else to offer. However, a young and impressionable, yet driven, employee can be a great advantage to an organization. While training and learning is required, the bad habits that may come from a more experienced employee don’t need to be un-learned. The leader has the opportunity to shape that employee to be a very successful part of their organization.
We’ve also heard the stories of the ‘jerk manager’ who conducts himself this way because he doesn’t know any better. We’ve seen the politician or business leader who behaved unethically/corruptly because they were shaped by a culture that let unethical practices slide as a young employee. While having a new employee that can be shaped is a great opportunity, it is also a lot of work and puts a great deal of responsibility on the leader.
How can a leader take advantage of this opportunity and do so in a way that will positively impact both the organization and the employee?
- Lead by example. The common saying “the life you live is the lesson you teach” is very applicable to the leader-employee relationship. Employees that are new to the workforce often don’t know what is considered appropriate behavior or conduct in various situations they encounter. They are watching to see how YOU, the leader, act and what they learn from you will likely impact the way they conduct themselves in a professional setting for the rest of their career.
- Explain the why. New employees also need to know why you make the decisions you make and why you behave a particular way in a certain situation. Explaining the ‘why’ will significantly expedite their learning process. It will allow them to apply what you said about one situation to a second similar, yet different, situation. Understanding the organization and the purpose and meaning behind their role will allow the employee have a much greater impact on the organization in a shorter period of time.
- Care. Keep their best interests at heart and invest time into coaching them to develop their strengths. If an employee feels as though they are of value to the organization and that their manager cares about them, they will enjoy coming to work and will put forward their best efforts.
See graduates and new employees with little experience as an opportunity. If they are eager and willing to learn they can be coached and developed to be a great asset to you and your organization!
For more information about Acuity’s Intentional People Leadership Training, click here.