Can you remember the people who influenced you the most when you joined the work force? How has the work place today differed from when you entered it for the first time? How would you motivate and encourage a young adult joining your team in their first career move?
These are interesting questions to consider. They are questions I have been reflecting upon as I think about how COVID-19 will impact economic development in the months ahead. Neuroscience research continually reminds us that the brains of youth are only fully developed when they are in their mid-twenties. This highlights how important it is for empathetic employers to guide and navigate new young employees entering the work force for the first time. Here is what I learned.Research
I spent some time researching employer and employee relationships, exploring what social researchers say and reading general articles in which employers share their experiences working with youth. I saw over the years how the advent of technology seemed to change the mindset of young employees.
In some cases I saw youth unafraid to be creative and innovative. In other situations I observed young people unable to empathize with others, severely lacking teamwork and often with questionable management of time skills. I saw others who took life so seriously, were unable to laugh at themselves, and whose perfectionist attitude led to heightened stress levels. And, I observed others who lacked a healthy and balanced lifestyle which had a negative effect on their output.
10 top motivators
Here are ten of the top motivators employers can reflect on as they employ today’s youth, always remembering that every employee is different and brings their personal life story to the work place.
- They value flexibility in terms of hours of work.
- Offer access to state-of-the art training opportunities which are preferably experiential rather than totally online learning. They often require ‘soft skills’ learning to build meaningful relationships with other employees, customers or clients – presentation skills, management skills, management of time skills, communication skills, and team-building skills.
- Encourage mentoring opportunities, whereby a wise guide moves alongside them, is non-judgmental and empathetic, and encourages them to chase their dreams and reach their potential. At the same time, mentoring is a great vehicle for values sharing and knowledge transfer.
- They respond positively to inspiring and motivation leadership from authentic and trustworthy leaders.
- Recognition and reward – genuinely affirm these young people when they complete a task well, most especially commenting on their efforts.
- Most enjoy the challenge of understanding cutting-edge technology. Explore ways you can use their skills to coach other colleagues, as this will create a wonderful collaborative team.
- They genuinely appreciate honest, regular and constructive feedback, though the timing of this feedback is also important in their personal development journey.
- Make sure that they have a clear understanding of their role in the big picture. They want to have meaning and purpose in their lives. Share messages of hope and coach them how to envision the future.
- Make sure you offer an inclusive, participative, non-threatening team environment where they feel able to contribute and their ideas and opinions are valued.
- Develop an environment which acknowledges their preferred style of learning: social, collaborative, interactive and fun.
As the global community recovers from the impact of COVID-19, the creative and entrepreneurial spirits should be encouraged and rewarded.Encourage them to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, to stay informed about the dangers of substance abuse, even to connect with others who are finding their way.
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be using their God-given talents. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Facebook or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website Robin’s free Mentoring Minutes daily podcasts (each podcast between 2 and 4 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here. About 45 blogs have been converted to short video clips, all of which are linked to encouraging youth to reach their potential. These are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.