Friday, 29 January 2021

Easing young people into the workplace

The transition from leaving school and going into full-time work can be a daunting prospect, especially for young adults who haven’t yet decided which career path they want to take. There’s an awful lot of pressure on children to have their future goals all mapped out by the time they leave school but in a more realistic world, they have barely got to grips with understanding themselves. 

Following a study published by the British Chambers of Commerce Workforce Survey, HRreview highlights the following findings:

“88% of businesses believe school leavers are unprepared for the world of work, in comparison to 54% of businesses that think graduates are unprepared for the workplace."

"More than half of businesses (57%) said a lack of soft skills, such as communication and team working, were reasons why young people were not ‘work ready’.”

What can you do to ease the transition?

As an employer, you have a duty of care for the wellbeing of all employees, regardless of their age. If you accept a young adult into your place of work, whether on a training scheme or in permanent, full-time employment, there are various ways you can help them adapt. 

Although the government does offer help to businesses that employ school leavers, and they will have been given career advice prior to leaving school, as an employer you can still contribute to their wellbeing.

Induction training

An induction is an essential part of the transition and gives the employee a better understanding of their role and what is expected of them. By being patient and allowing for mistakes during the process, they will feel comfortable enough to ask questions that will help them get ahead. 

Don’t micro-manage

As tempting as it may be to constantly check everything they are doing, try to give them some leeway to take responsibility for themselves. Hovering over someone and scrutinising their work on a daily basis can be intimidating and put them under more pressure. 

Offer training

As we saw from the BCC report, school leavers starting out in full time employment often lack soft skills so by offering ongoing training for their personal development, they will have the opportunity to develop skills such as communication and time management.

Make them feel valued

As an inexperienced employee, one of the scariest aspects is wondering whether they are doing their job properly, if their position is secure, and if their boss is happy with their work. By offering regular feedback, praising their efforts (even if they’re not quite up to scratch yet) and listening to how they are feeling will give them more confidence and motivate them to improve.

Offer incentives

One of the most difficult parts of the transition for school leavers going into full-time employment is getting used to working longer hours with less breaks and fewer holidays each year. To avoid absenteeism, lateness, and a lack of motivation, offer incentives such as days off in lieu or a monthly/annual bonus.


To make them feel like part of the team, plan social events so that they can get to know their colleagues on a more personal level.

Career progression 

Talk to your employee about career progression within the company, not only so they have something to aim for but also to make them feel more secure about their position in the company.

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