Many entrepreneurs may be young professionals with limited business experience, or seasoned veterans with a staff of fresh workers. Because startups and burgeoning businesses have limited resources and lack a strong industry reputation, it is common for them to be staffed with recent graduates or professionals with limited expertise and hands-on experience. While it may seem as if youthfulness in an uncertain economic climate may be a noticeable hindrance to success and sustainability, fresh workers that have been immersed in a digital environment for most of their adult lives can offer unique benefits that more established professionals may lack.
In fact, employing professionals who show strong potential and passion, but have been removed from the business environment thus far, may prove profitable in the end. A fresh perspective on an aging market, for example, can be the source of innovative ideas and concepts that help a young company stand out from competitors stuck in a habitual pattern of delivery to clients. After working in an industry for decades, some professionals struggle to think outside the box when approaching new markets or ideas. Young professionals more in tune with evolving consumer demands may offer valuable insight or inspiration as to how a company can solve existing problems with never-before-tested technologies or approaches.
How does your firm optimize available youthfulness and fresh ideas?
The Youth Movement
Today’s young professionals have demonstrated strong interest and passion in starting their own businesses or make every effort to make their careers a success. Many young men and women are hungry for the opportunity to transform stagnant markets and discover new innovations to shake up the economic climate and rebuild what was lost in the economic downturn through more efficient business practices.
Young entrepreneurs and workers have also grown accustomed to operating online and are heavily reliant and comfortable with mobile technology and cloud computing solutions that are transforming the business world. Employing a staff of tech-savvy specialists in other departments such as marketing and sales can reduce time needed for training and increase data-driven insight to support decision making. Startups and burgeoning businesses expect staff members to fulfill many functions, as manpower is limited but duties are plentiful. Therefore, staff already well-versed with technology and communication demands and requirements can easily tackle many challenges for the company, making them valuable, versatile entities for a blossoming business.
Overcoming the Age Issue
No matter how valuable young professionals may be to a business, some partners and investors may struggle to acknowledge their worth or accomplishments as they are unable to get past that baby face or youthful smile. Thus, inexperienced professionals must overcome an age deficit to demonstrate they have chops when interacting with clients or partners. To shake off the stigma of a youthful face, professionals should focus on the way they present information and expertise during interactions. Entrepreneurs often have a natural ability to enter a room, engage in conversation and exude confidence right off the bat. Take the time to train young staff on how to present a similar air when approaching new clients to squash any questions surrounding their ability to do their jobs well and professionally. This does not mean young workers should be overpowering when unsure about what to do. Rather, they should carry a strong presence and not be pushed around by industry veterans.
Make Youth an Asset
To transform young professionals in the workplace into high-valued commodities, consider reframing the way they are utilized in daily activities and how you tap into the value they can contribute. Rather than allowing them to play into stereotypes or be bullied by supervisors, work with younger staff members to identify their unique skills that can be displayed and leveraged more prominently in the company. We are at a unique time in history, where four generations can be working side by side. Each generation has been shaped by different experiences and shares different values. While traditionally senior staff would mentor young professionals, large corporations are increasingly tapping into the knowledge that exists across generations by developing two-way mentoring programs where each party can learn from the knowledge and experience of the other.
Furthermore, tap into young professionals as sources of new ideas when you hit roadblocks throughout the development process. While an inexperienced business person may not provide valuable insight into the development of a financial plan to pitch to investors, he or she may offer unique ideas for how to generate interest or awareness of an offering, as well as how to test it in the market before fully investing in the idea. Having the ear of the up-and-coming consumer generation, young professionals will be more looped into the needs and preferences of clients in the future, helping a company gain a competitive edge by addressing these needs early and getting ahead of the curve.