Many young people, early in their careers, voice their concerns about how they simply “Don’t know what they are doing?”. This is a universal conundrum and as we progress in our careers, we often forget how much anxiety this brought when starting out, when the determination to impress was great and the fear of not meeting expectations was very real.
As with many aspects of life, the longer we spend doing something the better we get at it. It’s difficult to remember a time when we didn’t know how to converse with clients, bring up issues surrounding commercialisation or voice concerns around matters of efficacy.
Does anyone teach us how to do these tasks? Were previous forms of education more geared towards developing these skills? Or, does everyone feel this pressure at some point during their careers?
We must remember that a lack of technical knowledge in our early careers doesn’t necessarily equate to being unsuccessful in our jobs; we all have needed to take the time to learn new things, and the most junior members of our teams are no different. Young workers, filled with enthusiasm and an unmatched desire to impress, are often so receptive to receiving guidance on how to develop these skills. So how are we attempting to aid in this development?
As managers what are the effective ways to assist young people in receiving the support they need? Engaging with the youngest members of our companies is almost always a positive. Whilst young people, beginning their careers, may lack knowledge and skill surrounding some of the most apparently obvious conundrums in business, they surely make up for this in their passion and creativity within their roles. Time spent exchanging ideas and skills between the young and more established members of our companies creates an opportunity for the two generations to coalesce. Evidence has shown businesses that prioritise open, approachable attitudes between junior and senior members of teams not only create more meaningful working relationships but also foster career development in younger members of the team. We are also seeing that when young people are looking for jobs, they are interested in how many opportunities they will have to work alongside senior members of companies and how their careers will be guided and mentored by individuals who have had the success they so eagerly crave.
The hospitality industry is moving to a time where we will be losing many of our most senior executives. This impending shift in knowledge has the possibility to harm corporate memory within companies if we are not effective in disseminating knowledge. Taking time to mentor younger workers, offer guidance and teach skills which appear second nature could be the key to a sustainable and manageable transition, as we see so many senior members of the industry moving to retirement.
It is time we invest in the development of young people;sharing knowledge and taking the time to guide professional growth is a necessary starting point.
Written by Lexie Cook, EP Business in Hospitality