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How to Use a Young Professional’s Mindset to Empower Them in the Workplace

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Nearly 40% of today’s workforce in the United States is comprised of Millenials and Gen Z employees. Are you ready to welcome these new generations to the team?

Between Gen Z and millennial employees, over 40% of them would leave a role if a better opportunity arose. As an employer, you understand hiring is expensive; employee turnover can cost the company not only in soft costs like time, but also an average of $15,000 in hard costs. Which means as an employer and manager, it’s much more cost effective to make an effort to understand where they are coming from. In turn, you will learn how to embrace their skills and mindsets so you can help them adapt to this new world of work.

Understanding the College to Career Shift

In order to retain these Gen Z employees, you first must understand their mindset. You must understand that they’re coming from a lifetime of structure. They’re used to receiving instructions on exactly what to do, whether by their parents or a syllabus, and being praised when they follow the rules.

Think about it this way. In the world of education, the focus is on learning and development. They’re used to the immediate gratification of receiving a grade that tells them they’re doing a good job. In the world of work, the focus is always going to be on business goals, reducing costs, and generating more profits. This is a shift that they aren’t accustomed to, so managers need to be prepared to help them move from the academic mindset to the business mindset for mutual success and retention.

Tips to Help Pivot a New Grad’s Mindset

The real key to helping a new grad’s mindset shift is preparing your young managers to lead. A lot of time these new hires are reporting to new, less-seasoned managers who are so bogged down with day-to-day tasks and trying to figure it all out that mentoring new employees is pushed to the back burner. But providing them with the tools, tips, and tricks to give new hires what they need is the key to mutual success.

Here are a few things to start with:

Schedule Post-Mortems – When you finish a project or when a new product release has been executed, do a team post-mortem. Take a look at what went well and what didn’t – this will help young professionals interpret their role in those successes and failures and see how they can do better. You can even offer a one-on-one manager follow-up session after the larger post-mortem for more personalized feedback if necessary.

Provide Consistent Feedback – The annual review is not enough feedback for this generation, and it’s in fact something many companies are moving away from in general. Over 65% of Gen Z employees don’t mind their boss checking in, but don’t want it to be for more than five minutes. So, they don’t need lengthy, infrequent reviews; they prefer consistent, quick check ins for feedback.

Act as a Coach and Mentor – Gen Z workers are looking for mentorship in a boss. They don’t want tasks to have explicit instructions and they don’t want handholding, but they do want someone to guide them and share experiences that will help them grow.

Let Them Know Mistakes Are Okay – Again, they’re coming from the world of education where perfection is praised. Let them know that it’s okay not to know everything, it’s okay to embrace a learning curve and admit you need help, and it’s okay to make mistakes when being innovative and learning new things. Changing this perfectionistic mindset will allow for more personal and professional growth.

This is a place to start, but it definitely is not the end of the road when it comes to bridging the gap between the college and career mindset.

You Can Ask for Help

As an employer, it’s tempting to want to tackle these challenges on your own. It is challenging to seamlessly balance business operations and people management perfectly; we’re human – isn’t that what we’re teaching the next generation?

Sometimes it can help to outsource.

Our NimblyWise training programs focus on helping young professionals who are new to the workplace to unpack those mindset differences and potential skills gaps. So, while your managers focus on developing their skills and integrating them into the team with productive feedback, young professionals are also self-analyzing and learning how to empower themselves in the workplace for mutual success.

Our team is ready to help your team succeed in integrating this new generation into the workforce. Are you ready to transform your team mindset for mutual success? Let’s chat!
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