Leaving school to join the world of work is a big step. When you’ve never had a nine to five job before, working long days in a new environment can be a shock to the system. From getting yourself up and in to work on time, to dealing with the expectations and demands of your new workplace culture, there’s a lot to learn.
Government policy around apprenticeships encourages more people into work at a younger age, whilst rocketing university tuition fees make further education inaccessible for many. All this leads to an increased number of young and inexperienced employees in the workplace.
In our experience, this influx of young talent can cause several problems for organisations. Without the correct training, new employees may find it difficult to adapt to their role and the right way to behave whilst at work.
Transition to adulthood is assumed
Organisations often take it for granted that a new recruit will understand their operation and culture. You may take new employees through an induction programme to tell them about your business, what to do in a fire drill, and rules around security and health and safety. But have you considered training around the unwritten rules of workplace etiquette?
It’s a sad fact that we’ve had to represent businesses at disciplinary hearings for employees who’ve only been in the business a matter of months. These usually stem from a lack of understanding around the behaviours that are acceptable in the workplace. At college name-calling could constitute bullying and lead to expulsion, but in the workplace it has even more serious consequences, which inexperienced employees might not be aware of. These include legal, financial and reputational risks.
These are some of the most common unwritten workplace rules we think organisations need to address:
It can take time to adapt to the rigours of the working day. Young recruits often don’t understand the implications of running late and what impact their tardiness has on the success of their team and the wider business.
Having spent years in the same peer group at school or college, young people may lack the social and communication skills required in a team of mixed ages. They might struggle with how to address colleagues in the appropriate way and how to communicate with people at a senior level.
The culture of being paid to perform
The closest young people usually get to appraisals in education is exams. But failure to perform in an exam doesn’t mean the rest of the class will fail. An inexperienced employee requires an introduction to how their performance affects the rest of the team and the business in general.
From dress code to manners and using emojis in emails – office etiquette is a common area in which we’ve seen young people fall down.
Social media is part of life, but snapchatting from work is unacceptable and in some industries posting about work or clients could breach confidentiality policies.
Bullying and Harassment
The horseplay and high jinks that often characterise social interaction at school, college and university cannot enter the workplace. Young people may not understand what acceptable workplace behaviour looks like and the actions and words that could constitute bullying. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for clients to request our presence at disciplinary hearings for young people who have gone too far with a joke.
Training for young people entering the world of work
To get the best out of young people entering the workplace, employers need to support the transition from full-time education to employment.
To this end, we’ve developed a tailor-made training programme for young employees. It’s designed for school, college and university leavers, ideally before they leave education, as well as trainees and new apprentices. The training fits perfectly into any business induction programme, addressing all the unwritten rules we’ve mentioned above, and more. Content can be delivered over a half or full day session. We’re also working on an online version and we’ll share details of this soon.
Our training is available to businesses, charities, youth centres, schools and colleges and benefits the employee and the employer. This face-to-face training supplemented by online learning achieves maximum impact in terms of embedding skills and knowledge and preparing young people fully for the challenges that lie ahead.
If you’d like to know more about this training and how we can adapt it to fit your workplace, download our workplace training information flyer contact Adelle Hutton for a confidential, no-obligation chat.