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5 December 2023

Empowering junior employees: A roadmap for success

The workplace landscape is evolving, and with it, the challenges faced by junior employees, particularly Gen Z, are becoming more pronounced. The stress experienced by these individuals is often compounded by the lack of preparation for new work norms, such as remote work, which they've never been taught.

In small teams with limited budgets, prioritising the growth and support of junior team members can be a daunting task. However, investing in the development of early-career professionals is not just a worthy endeavour; it’s a strategic one. Organisations that strategically invest in their junior workforce experience enhanced overall performance and higher retention rates.

  1. Cultivate a Supportive Company Culture, Starting with Onboarding:

Creating a company culture that fosters a safe space for learning begins with the onboarding process. Encouraging an environment where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for growth, questions are welcomed, and regular one-on-one sessions and feedback are prioritised sets the tone from the start. Essential for newcomers to build trust with peers and have a safe space to ask questions, our own 3-month program at Kokoon provides a structured approach, offering weekly masterclasses, mentoring sessions, and networking opportunities to guide and empower early-career professionals. This investment in onboarding goes beyond initial training; it lays the groundwork for a culture of continuous learning and support.

  1. Embrace Feedback:

Feedback is a powerful tool for growth. Establish a feedback culture that encourages both giving and receiving constructive input. To aid this process, we’ve linked a free guide for team members to reflect on their areas of growth and strengths.

  1. Promote Continuous Learning:

Outline the skills your business needs and collaboratively create a learning plan with your junior employees. Identify areas where they may lack expertise and provide resources for their professional development. Look for webinars, events, or other resources your junior team member could be interested in. At Kokoon, we often run sessions like our webinar on how to become a better communicator.

  1. Establish a Supportive Community:

Nurture a sense of community within your organisation. Consider implementing a mentoring program that pairs junior employees with experienced mentors. Newcomers benefit from a safe space to ask questions and build trust with peers. If you have limited resources, we send out a weekly newsletter answering questions from early careers with resources and events.

In conclusion, investing time and resources in supporting junior employees not only enhances their personal and professional development but also contributes to the overall success and resilience of your organisation. By prioritising a culture of continuous learning, feedback, and community, startups can create an environment where their junior talents can truly thrive.

Alice Ivanoff is the co-founder of Kokoon, a talent accelerator for early careers.