Learning & Development

How to Engage Young, Fresh Minds

Some of those individuals who have just left school or college and are looking for work will be the leaders of the future in business terms. So, if a company wishes to add new blood to their workforce, it’s an ideal time to find the best ways of engaging these young, fresh minds; to analyze the learning and development processes that are in place; and to consider whether they are suitable for an influx of young staff.

There are always multiple changes to training processes over the years, and for young adults, generational experiences are vastly different than for those people who are in their 40s and above. Consider that the Internet will have made a huge difference in how younger people relate to the world because they are used to resolving issues at a touch of a button, finding out answers to questions by YouTube videos, or engaging in podcasts. Young adults take responsibility for finding out answers to issues themselves.
So, if you hire younger employees, you may well find that these traditional learning methods will stifle their learning ability rather than develop it. Younger employees have a different mind-set altogether. They want solutions, and they want them now. They also want to be able to develop their skills far more quickly than businesses may previously have enabled. The trick is to challenge the mind of a younger person, that they continue their thirst for knowledge and, with the right encouragement, could become an integral part of the workforce, overcoming obstacles with enthusiasm.
Although any introduction to the business environment can be somewhat of a culture shock for a graduate, a basic induction into the workplace is paramount. There will be some aspects of training that must remain the same, but providing management and professional training staff apply a flexible approach to other training methodology, it is possible to engage and to increase the learning capacity of those who have just joined the company.
Reverse mentoring can work quite well, and this is where the younger generation and the older generation begin to learn from each other. This way, there is a great deal of knowledge exchanged. Equally, the young prefer a collaborative nature. This is largely due to utilizing the best of online and offline communities. One area that is less well defined is the attention span of a young employee, so providing training in shorter sessions will work well in the long run. This may not be possible, though.
Training should fit around the individuals, where possible, as this enables them to develop at their own pace but will also encourage the continuation of learning. After all, many of these young employees will have come straight from school where they are still in a learning mind-set or will have come fresh from college, so it is important to keep this learning mind-set alive.

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