In the last of our Working for Young Adults series, we showcased the type of people problems that Know You More solves for businesses.
We outlined 4 high-level areas where we support the development of the young workforce. They were –
- Transition and Readiness
We received a good response and the post started some great conversations. It also spawned lots of questions, with one, in particular, coming up frequently. How the question was asked was different each time, but it essentially boils down to this –
“OK, Tim, really interesting, but HOW does a coaching solution for the young workforce solve real business problems?”
It’s a good question, that deserves an answer. Over the next three posts, we’ll share some specific scenarios that will connect the dots between what we do, and how it helps organisations.
Transition & Readiness
What’s the problem?
Employers tell us that in many cases there is a lack of attitude and aptitude in the young workforce. New graduates and apprentices are taking longer to be ‘match ready’ and the time to transition from the world of education to the world of work needs to be accelerated.
Most are technically proficient in their area of speciality but it’s the soft skills where the gaps lie. Specifically, it’s in the areas of Communication, Critical Thinking, Decision Making and Emotional Intelligence that are missing from their tool belt.
In a recent report published by Google, they highlighted these skills as being the foundations of their most successful teams.
There is a focus being applied to these areas in schools and higher education. But, for now, it’s businesses that are having to find creative methods to accelerate their young workforce. They are investing over £69 million in graduate development alone.
How does a coaching solution help?
AA Engineering Scenario
John Clark, CEO of AA Engineering wanted to deliver a highly effective apprenticeship programme. The programme would lead to many of the apprentices receiving a full-time position within the company. The aim was to create a programme where all apprentices would finish ready for the next stage of their career, be ambassadors of the apprenticeship programme and speak positively about their experience with the company.
The number of apprentices keen to stay on after their apprenticeship programme was in decline. Often those that did transition into full-time roles at the company were not those they’d hoped would stay. Progress was slow and a greater level of internal support was required.
The People Problem
The managers of the new recruits were citing a lack of operational readiness in areas of soft skills – problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and decision making.
Colin, Engineering Manager summed it up like this “They’re great, they’ve got the skills, but I just wish they didn’t need me to do their thinking for them. It feels like they need to get my blessing for every decision.”
As for the apprentices, many found the transition into their full-time role challenging, needing extra support or sometimes leaving after only a short period in the role.
Claire, a recent apprentice has only been with AA Engineering for 8 months. Here are her thoughts. “I was so excited when I heard I was getting a full-time job here, but it’s been tougher than I thought. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this. I feel I’m asking the same questions over and over again.”
What we did
The apprentices had all previously received 6 months of mentoring from more senior individuals at AA Engineering. We built on that by delivering coaching through our Know You More coaches. It focussed on a number of key themes that were identified up front with the apprentice themselves in the goal-setting session with their coach.
The diagnostic completed at the beginning in combination, with feedback from Colin and his fellow managers, highlighted the following areas for skills development.
My Story (Know You)
Understanding my journey so far, my strengths, the skills they’ve already developed and how to best utilise them.
Values and Purpose (Know Why)
Identifying personal values and drivers. Appreciating and how they contribute to identity and fit with the organisational values
Grit and stickability (Know How)
Developing personal resilience, perseverance and patience to maintain focus. Building inner confidence so they’re present and engaged.
Building relationships & stakeholder management (Know Who)
Understanding how the organisation works and cultivating influencing & collaboration skills. Managing relationships across the team and throughout the organisation.
Each apprentice had a series of coaching sessions with a Know You More coach. Through a balance of challenge and support the coach was able to raise the apprentices awareness and deepen their understanding of these areas. They also encouraged them to take responsibility for their actions.
How this helped
Apprentices were able to develop a greater awareness of their strengths and development areas. They connected with their own values and that of the company. They had a clearer sense of identity within the business and could decide if it was the right fit for them. This built confidence in their direction and they were better prepared for the next stage of their career.
For the business, the development of critical soft skills resulted in apprentices being effective, productive and operationally ready. Recruited apprentices also entered the business with a positive reputation from the organisation due to their advanced skills and commitment to development.
What this really means
The company developed an apprenticeship programme that provided the best opportunity for its participant to achieve their potential. Apprentices would complete the programme prepared and motivated by the next stage of their career.
Whether they stayed or not, the quality of their experience would make them ambassadors of the company. This raised the profile of the programme and improved the quality of apprentice recruitment of future programmes.