Learning & Development

3 Ways Managers Can Help Emerging Talent Succeed in the Workplace

In the world of work, your emerging talent—those with less than 5 years of work experience—is the future of your organization. And in an era of record turnover, global turmoil, and a constant shift in the way we work, fostering the growth of that young talent to ensure they succeed is as important to the success of your company, as it is the success of your individual employees. So, what role can managers play in that? Here are three simple strategies they can implement: 


Be Empathetic & Communicate Openly

Connection is critical to creating a safe and positive company culture where emerging talent will thrive. And that begins with being open, honest, transparent, and practicing empathy—putting yourself in your emerging talents’ shoes—daily to foster those new relationships. A Yale University study uncovered that those employees with self-aware and empathetic managers were more creative and innovative, as well as overall happier in their role.

Managers should be open about areas for development, praise success, ask how things are going, promote two-way communication, and ask for their feedback on management styles as well. These conversations and actions are critical to cultivating a personal bond and work environment where employees feel heard and supported. Weekly one-on-one meetings are an easy way to implement this!

Teach Them It’s Okay to Fail

Former IBM President, Thomas Watson, Sr. once said, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” Despite what we’re taught in school, failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s what sparks ideas and teaches employees how to better achieve the goals set for them. But if your emerging talent is shameful of their failures, they’ll never try to reach that next level. 

Managers must address failure head-on, framing it in a way that exposes the learning opportunity rather than focusing on the negative outcome.

Provide Opportunity for Ongoing Soft Skills Development

Colleges and universities are typically focused on knowledge-based learning experience. So, it should come as no surprise that 89% of recruiters say when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s often due to a lack of soft skills. These critical and highly transferrable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, interpersonal communication, conflict management, time management, ability to learn independently, emotional intelligence, or leadership, are not typically learned when studying subjects in a textbook. When emerging talent enters the world of work, they’re often thrown into scenarios like these with no practice. 

Managers need to ensure that when they see their employees struggling in certain soft skill areas, that they offer access to ongoing coaching—in-house or third parties—while working through real-time work scenarios will allow for soft skill development in a way that isn’t a one-and-done. These skills need to be learned, practiced, and adopted as a daily habit to navigate ambiguous workplace scenarios!

Managers Have the Power to Shape Your Company’s Future 

As you’ve probably heard before, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. As managers, it’s our job to cultivate growth in this next generation. Providing support, encouragement, development opportunities, and an empathetic culture where failing is learning, your young professionals will have the opportunity to adapt to the world of work in a safe space that will lead to mutual success. Your company will reap the rewards of their foreseeable growth with less turnover and a stronger team dynamic that will fuel your bottom line.

Mike Sweet is the Founder and CEO of NimblyWise, an education company pioneering the application of real-time learning to help young professionals navigate the world of work. NimblyWise offers online learning and coaching solutions for higher ed professionals, companies, and individuals.

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