With every generation comes a shift in professional attitudes and expectations from business leaders. Today’s young professionals value clear expectations for advancement, ongoing support and feedback, and opportunities for professional development.
As it turns out, young professionals and managers want the same thing: a clear path toward greater skill, better communication, and mutual growth. Meeting these needs is just as beneficial for businesses. Not only does it contribute to a sound business culture and a strong sense of community and loyalty, but it also ensures employees are enthusiastically engaged with their work and continuously improving their craft.
Clear expectations for advancement
According to research from organizational research firm Gallup, 87% rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important” and 50% of millennials state that “advancement opportunities are extremely important to them when applying for a new job.”
While this may seem like a given, the primary pain point isn’t that there aren’t enough senior positions available for everybody. Rather, it’s that expectations for advancement aren’t clearly laid out.
It comes as a surprise to many employers, but expectations actually vary widely from company to company, even from manager to manager. What you consider important isn’t necessarily what your counterparts at other companies consider essential. Employers take this for granted, and employees are left fumbling around in the dark without ever being told what they need to do to advance.
Setting clear expectations provides an incentive for employees to work harder and helps them better understand the overall business strategy and how they can contribute to it. It also provides an opportunity for employers to manage expectations and have honest, open conversations about advancement opportunities—all things that employees appreciate.
Task delegation remains an important managerial role, but feedback is also essential. Person-centered leadership is becoming the new norm, and young professionals crave honest feedback.
Regular communication is key, and whether it’s spontaneous or structured, younger employees have declared a willingness to take it to heart and learn from it. According to Gallup, young professionals are twice as likely to remain engaged if they benefit from regular feedback.
Framed constructively, feedback is one of the most efficient ways to improve employee performance and efficiency across the board. If employees are doing well, let them know. If there are ways they could improve, explain how and recognize when that feedback is put into action.
Opportunities for professional development
Young professionals are career-focused and committed to performing in the workplace. That’s why it’s essential to provide employees with opportunities for professional development at every stage of their careers.
There are many ways to do this, such as running regular courses and in-house masterclasses, providing opportunities for certification and higher qualifications, and offering services like career coaching.
While the role of a manager should include an element of coaching, career coaching from third-party organizations, like CareerPoint, can be more effective and provide leadership more time to perform other tasks. Dedicated career coaches help employees focus on improving their value to companies—a win-win scenario.
Put your people first
Meeting the needs of young professionals requires a personal approach. The notion that millennial employees have an issue with authority is a myth. Instead, the expectations have changed, and they prefer to work with their superiors, not under them.
Hungry for knowledge and acutely career-aware, young professionals want to feel a connection with companies and, when they do, are invested in seeing them succeed. Businesses willing to guide them through the process will be rewarded with loyal, engaged, and enthusiastic employees.