Developing Future Talent in the Workplace

Ten steps to building a winning workplace

Attracting, developing and retaining future talent are central to the success of a business. Introducing and managing young people effectively is becoming more essential to organisations, irrespective of size and sector.

There are a number of steps employers can take to manage future talent in the workplace. While this list is by no means all-inclusive, it provides a good starting point from which to build and retain a successful talent pipeline.


1. Provide a relevant and robust induction programme

Inductions for young employees should be designed with the specific consideration of first-time workers. Providing a tailored and structured induction programme that responds to the particular needs of young people will help ease their transition from education to employment.


2. Assign a mentor

Having a mentor – a trusted and experienced colleague – is one of the most effective and beneficial development opportunities to offer young employees. A mentor’s guidance, support and reassurance can be hugely rewarding both personally and professionally.


3. Start with the basics

Understanding the basic principles of work and workplace etiquette, which many take for granted, can be alien to some young people. Spend time nurturing these skills and focusing on typical work conduct such as how to answer phone calls and communicating in a professional manner.


4. Have realistic expectations and set clear objectives

Set clear performance objectives early on so that young employees fully understand the expectations of the role and how it fits in with the wider goals of the business. Take into consideration the current competencies of the employee so that targets are challenging but realistic.


5. Continually monitor and measure performance

Engage and motivate employees by holding regular catch-ups and update meetings to review work, agree priorities, discuss developments and highlight achievements. Conduct formal and structured assessments and appraisals for a more detailed performance review.


6. Encourage feedback and two-way communication

Young people value frequent feedback and this should be a two-way process. Let them know how they are doing on a regular basis with real-time honest and constructive feedback – and recognition where deserved! Encourage them to share opinions, concerns or any other relevant feedback.


7. Manage the expectations of colleagues

Recognising and respecting a young employee’s contribution in the workplace can impact on productivity. Clearly define duties and skill levels to colleagues so that they can effectively work together, and promote the importance of having a young person on board.


8. Introduce training opportunities

Young employees are ambitious and want training and coaching so that they can gain more skills and become more knowledgeable, versatile and meaningfully contribute to the business. And where possible, look at rotating tasks more regularly so that they are gaining a variety of experiences.


9. Promote a happy work-life balance

Flexible working arrangements and other work-life balance initiatives can help general health and wellbeing, while increasing satisfaction and motivation. Embracing this is not only good for employees, it is good for the future by giving a business competitive edge when attracting young talent.


10. Build trust

A well thought out induction, a personable manager and great training opportunities will all help build trust. Simple and less formal work strategies such as social events and engaging them in conversations about their lives and interests will help them ease into the workplace, and make it a fun and friendly experience.


Developing future talent is key to driving business success. The policies and practices a business has in place, alongside the access routes it offers such as apprenticeships, internships and school leaver programmes, can have a significant impact on attracting and retaining talent.