Throughout the United States, businesses are looking for excellent entry-level employees. An often-overlooked talent pool is Opportunity Youth – young adults ages 16-24 who are out of work or without a college degree – but who possess the 21st-century skills that employers need. There are more than 4 million Opportunity Youth in the U.S., who are eager to build a long-term career within an organization. Businesses that successfully hire, train, and support Opportunity Youth build an engaged corps of entry-level talent that are extremely loyal.
In order to engage and retain Opportunity Youth, supervisors must approach their work with their team a little differently than most managers do with entry-level employees. The most effective frontline managers of Opportunity Youth view themselves as a “coach” charged with helping team members grow rather than as a “boss” who simply tells people what to do. We call these leaders “Opportunity Managers” and they embrace the following four pillars of the Coaching Mindset.
- Build a strong relationship with each team member: Employees respond well to managers who show that they genuinely know them and care about them. Managers who embody the coaching mindset build relationships with every team member by: conducting regular and effective 1-on-1 check-ins, finding areas of common interest, and through numerous positive interactions over time.
- Focus on the growth and improvement of the team member over time: Managers who embody a coaching mindset focus on the employee’s growth and improvement over time and offer the employee opportunities to help the person grow. These managers know how to break down tasks into manageable chunks and help each employee take on increased responsibility (and complexity) over time.
- Be patient, kind, and supportive of the employee: Supervisors who embody the coaching mindset are kind, approachable, and build trust with their team members. As a result, the team seeks out their guidance and support and are willing to go the extra mile for their manager.
- Tailor coaching to the team member’s learning styles: Some employees learn by talking through an experience while others learn through doing something in a “hands on” fashion. Managers with a coaching mindset tailor their guidance to the learning preferences of each individual team member, thereby increasing the speed that they learn and apply new skills.
Opportunity Youth are an excellent and available source of talent for entry-level roles. We want to help businesses access this talent pool and help young adults pursue rewarding careers. A skilled manager builds and shapes the culture and the performance of their team.
That is why we developed the Opportunity Manager Training, an online program made up of short and actionable modules, each designed to help frontline managers learn how to embrace the coaching mindset and implement effective coaching to drive strong performance for each and every young adult that they work with.
Take our free Frontline Talent Assessment and see how Grads of Life can help your organization improve the engagement, retention and performance of your entry-level employees.