Munya Badze, Enterprise Co-ordinator
Munya Badze, from Kent County Council talks to GP Strategies' Design & Brand Manager Dawn Godfrey about inspiring employee engagement, coaching and mentoring, and learning within the millennial sphere.
Getting the best out of new talent
Q. Transitions are a big part of our lives: from nursery to primary school to secondary school to employment. The transition from education to employment is a major milestone – what can organisations put in place to ensure there’s a smoother transition and that they get the best out of their new recruits/new talent?
Transition is integral within our everyday lives. In addition to the transition points you mentioned, there are also personal points to note, such as the first time you drive, or when you move into your own house, and so on.
Organisations must begin to understand the impact that these transitions can have on their future workforce by getting involved with young people from an early stage, whether it be from a primary or secondary school level.
In so doing, young people will engage with their role models, and will therefore have hands on experience in the world of work, learning the behaviours that are expected within this environment.
We should then build these behaviours into the classroom and align them to the curriculum.
Organisations should also consider how the interview process could be used to learn about the individual, as well as to showcase the organisation and to meet future colleagues.
Once appointed, employees could then be paired with mentors to ensure that they have regular supervision.
The induction period should also include visits/experiences of departments within the organisation, and should show the potential transition to different departments as part of an employee’s career journey.
Q. Employee Engagement is a big deal for organisations. How do you think they could connect better with the young people that are joining? And how they can ensure they continue to inspire them?
Many organisations now sign up to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and must conduct a review of the impact of CSR activities on the community, the organisation and their own employees.
The Careers & Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network is one way of prompting schools to engage with employers at a strategic level, which effectively provides young people with access to wider networks of employers as role models (Enterprise Advisers) who deliver activities and projects linked to curriculums. Enterprise Advisers (EA) will bring their industry knowledge and experience into the school thus providing up to date labour market information (LMI).
Strong evidence suggests that employees who are given an opportunity to do different things from their ‘normal’ work tasks actually increase employee motivation and productivity. Furthermore, by taking on new responsibilities, it forms part of the employee’s continuous professional development for the employees.
On-boarding and recruitment
Q. Do you see particular industries or types of businesses that are more forward thinking in their on-boarding and recruitment of young people? If so, who are they and what are they doing that really makes a big difference?
The government’s Apprenticeship Levy, as well as their pledge to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, has seen more employers wanting to recruit apprentices. There are many organisations, large and small doing well in recruiting young people at different levels, including degree apprenticeships.
"Employers do recognise the skills gap in their sector such that they can see the benefits of engaging their future workforce from a young age."
Coaching and mentoring
Q. Coaching and Mentoring are elements of our service offering – how important do you think these are for young people?
Coaching and Mentoring are real game changers for young people, particularly those with additional needs. Kent County Council works with employers to provide supported learning for individuals with disabilities or additional needs, and this is working very well for employers and individuals.
There are existing projects working with disadvantaged young people that are making a huge impact on their lives, as well as the lives of the mentors too.
The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) recently launched a Mentoring project which aims to provide business mentors for young people in education.
Part of the Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) is to discuss opportunities for mentoring projects in the schools that sign up to the EAN.
Increasing business performance
Q. Our aim is to increase business performance for our clients. What do you think organisations could do better to ensure that they’re connecting with the new working generation?
As mentioned above, businesses should look at what they offer schools, as well as measuring the impact of such proposals. In the UK, businesses should contact the CEC and locate an Enterprise Coordinator who will link them with local schools and colleges.
There are many ways of business and individuals to getting involved with their local schools. We already have thousands of people who are school governors. We now need an additional focus on careers and employer engagement. Individuals and businesses can be involved in a wide range of projects and activities such as:
Going into schools to deliver talks about own jobs
Offer work place visits
Offer meaningful work experience including part-time work
Take on apprentices
Deliver projects and run competitions using company resources or to help develop company products
Support schools to develop parts of their curriculum linked to industry
Attending Careers Fairs is does not always provide inspiration unless the stand is interactive and the employees are confident and willing to engage with young people rather than just sitting down handing out goodies. With that said, some businesses may need training on working with young people if this is their approach.
Millennials in the workplace
Q. Millennials is a very over-used term – should we ditch this? What is it that young people want from their employers? From their careers? Is there a pattern that you see in your work?
I think we should just avoid stereotyping altogether. It compartmentalises people. Young people want support and opportunities to progress. However, what I tend to hear more of is that people want to be given an opportunity or chance. Thereafter, with support and training, people will be able to prosper in any career.
Is there a pattern? I don’t think so. I think as businesses adapts, so does its people. However, perhaps contradicting myself, people still rely heavily on job titles, though this should no longer be the case. Job responsibilities change all the time, meaning that job function is much more appropriate now.
Q. Do you think young people want more control over their careers/learning? Personalised/Adaptive/Self-directed learning are all things we’re hearing a lot of – is this the way forward across education and industry perhaps?
Simply, yes. Guidance is needed of course, as is ensuring differentiated, catered to individual learner needs.