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How to Grow Young Employees’ Careers While Working Remotely?

How to Grow Young Employees’ Careers While Working Remotely?

5 helpful tips on how to maximise the potential of your junior staff when working from home

To many workers for whom the pandemic has instituted a new normal of working from home, the lifting of lockdown restrictions does not necessarily herald a welcome full-time return to the office.

In fact, according to a YouGov survey, 4 out of 5 business decision makers (79%) and 70% of the general public believe that workers will never return to offices at the same rate as before the pandemic. Moreover, more than half of British workers (60%) prefer to work remotely at least some of the time if they could choose.

The YouGov survey also highlights that many believe the new norm of remote / hybrid working is likely to disadvantage young workers. Seven out of ten business leaders (69%) and 62% of the wider public say those who are at the start of their career are likely to struggle to progress if they’re working remotely. This view is shared by young Britons themselves with 61% of 18-24 year olds saying remote working will disadvantage young workers.

Why do young workers worry remote working could impact their career success?

Universum’s survey offers some insights into why young workers are concerned about remote working. Younger people are concerned about a lack of leadership, training and networking opportunities.

Over half of young workers (57%) are worried about being isolated and missing out on social connections with colleagues – compared with only 40% of senior professionals. They also express concerns about employers being biased towards in-person workers (38%), being left out of important meetings (34%) and difficulties with onboarding into new jobs (30%).

In addition, while 70% of senior professionals are confident they have the appropriate skills to do their job, only 57% of young professionals feel the same. This indicates that young people rely more heavily on the feedback loop to bounce questions or receive casual, real-time feedback compared to senior professionals. 


How to help junior staff develop their careers in a remote/ hybrid working environment?

To find out what actions organisations are taking to mitigate the negative impact of remote or hybrid working on the career development of junior employees, we reached out to people managers and businesses from across different industries for their best tips.

Tip #1. Set clear expectations

While establishing clear expectations is essential when managing your employees, it is especially vital when managing young employees remotely.

Jacqueline Cripps, a business consultant and ‘millennial translator’ at Jacqueline Cripps Limited, gives some insights into how to communicate expectations to younger workers. Cripps says, “Being clear on expectations is a must. For younger generations, don’t always assume that what you say is understood. Having them relay back to you what you’ve asked, including when tasks are due, can mitigate delays, or tasks not being completed correctly or at all.”

Tip #2. Create online onboarding and training materials

When the pandemic hit, you might have found yourself creating online training materials on-the-go to meet employees’ needs. While those training materials could have been sufficient at that point in time, you can now apply all you have learnt during the pandemic to update or create new online training materials.

Sara Bandurian, the Operations Coordinator for Online Optimism, shares her experience of effectively training new employees for her hybrid workplace. Bandurian advises employers to develop a comprehensive suite of onboarding materials.

“Develop guides before the new employee starts,” Bandurian says. “First, the guide can review company policies, procedures, and culture. Be as detailed as possible and try to think of everything a new employee might need to know from requesting leave to Slack etiquette. Then, explain the role and responsibilities in detail. For any standard and recurring duties, include instructions for completing those tasks. This will be easy to refer to and help the new employee get acclimated quickly.” 

Meanwhile, Lynton Howes, Managing Director at Simplify LMS, offers tips on the nuts and bolts of creating online training materials. Howes says, “Ensure that the company's internal training materials are easily accessed online, including from mobile devices, and are engaging and bite-sized, with a focus on video content and live conferencing sessions, which has the greatest appeal for young staff (i.e. YouTube, Instagram, TikTok are the media they gravitate towards). This can be achieved by having education sessions via videoconference or recorded info sessions from business leaders.”

online training

Tip #3. Assign mentors to junior workers

Many companies we spoke to recommend developing a mentorship programme by pairing younger employees with more senior members of the team or organisation.

The reasoning is straightforward, as explained by Lester Mclaughlin, VP of Operations at Blue National HVAC. Mclaughlin says, “Mentorship remains an invaluable way to get ahead in your career, so one of the best ways to kickstart the careers of your younger employees is to match them with an experienced member of your workforce. Even though they’re working remotely, they can still have quarterly calls with their mentor to discuss their career.”

Tip #4. Involve young workers in group projects or discussions

An effective way to help your younger employees develop their network within the organisation is to assign them to team projects or discussions.

A tip from Maya Rotenberg, VP of Marketing at Stoke Talent, is to “create small semi-formal work crews. Young and new employees have fewer established relationships in the workplace and often no network. Identify pairs or groups of no more than three or four people who can form a small work crew. Create challenges for them to complete together. Mix different ages together if possible.”

In a similar vein, Gill Brabner, Director at Resound Training & Development Ltd, recommends “[Inviting] your remote workers to participate in discussion groups. These need to be small groups of 6 to 10 people where everyone can participate and be heard. Invite a good mix of participants from across the organisation as this helps networking, relationship building and problem solving.”


Tip #5. Encourage junior staff to share their learnings

Rotenberg shares another tip that can have immediate benefits for both your younger employees and your company. “As soon as young staff have mastered something new, get them to make a training video for the incoming group,” Rotenberg says. “Create employee-made corrective resources for difficult tasks and when things get challenging.”

This tip of getting younger staff to share what they have learnt not only produces useful training materials for their peers, it will also help them gain exposure and recognition across the organisation.

Final thoughts

While the ability to offer flexible working is attractive to many employees, employers should also do their best to ensure that those who are more likely to be negatively affected by remote working - namely, junior employees - have access to the resources and tools they need to progress their careers.

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About the author

Carol Pang is a Content Manager for Prior to this, she has 12 years of experience in the corporate and financial sectors. 

She believes that people are fundamental to an organisation’s success, and that effective training can create a motivated and engaged workforce.

carol pang

Last updated: 04 Nov 2021

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