A group of students in a workshop

How role models can inspire Early Careers talent

The importance of role models in the dynamic landscape of career development can’t be overstated. For emerging talent navigating the professional arena, role models provide inspiration and act as a compass in unexplored territories. Employers and role models can support in a multitude of ways that extend beyond the job role. They are the ones who can inspire an environment that not only recognises but actively champions the growth and development of future leaders.

This blog aims to explore the impact that role models have in shaping the careers of young people. We will also delve into the ways in which your company can take these ideas forward.

The importance of authenticity

As young individuals start exploring their professional options, they often find themselves at crossroads, contemplating their choices and setting meaningful goals, as explained by our young people. During this phase of uncertainty, role models can provide the guidance they need.

By sharing authentic success stories from within the company, employers can provide a clear and enlightening roadmap for career progression. These stories can help young people relate to life at the company, serving as inspiration and practical guides for success.

It is not just about showcasing a polished version of success but revealing the dynamic process – illustrating the challenges faced and the lessons learned. This openness not only humanises the concept of success but also imparts a deep understanding that every career is a journey marked by growth and development.

Finally, exposure to diverse success stories can foster a sense of relatability and inclusivity. Early Careers professionals, regardless of their backgrounds, can find resonance in the narratives of those who have shared similar paths. This inclusivity is crucial in breaking down perceived barriers and empowering individuals to envision themselves in roles they might have considered out of reach.

Role models (1)

Building confidence through informal work conversations

Role models play a crucial role in fostering confidence and self-efficacy among young professionals. Employers can actively contribute to nurturing the confidence of emerging talent by encouraging informal interactions between seasoned professionals and their Early Career counterparts. Such informal exchanges become channels for the transfer of practical wisdom and experiences. They go beyond formal mentorship structures, offering a space for authentic sharing of insights, challenges and victories.

In these casual settings, young people can gain professional advice and learn more about navigation of the professional landscape. The human aspect of success emerges and reveals that setbacks and challenges are integral aspects of the career journey. This awareness builds professional resilience and also provides a realistic view of what success really entails.

Creating an environment that welcomes questions and encourages openly shared experiences helps to break down perceived barriers between established and emerging professionals. This inclusivity can boost young people’s confidence, affirming that their contributions and perspectives are valued within the organisation.

Celebrating inclusivity with relatable role models

Organisations should consider how creating a culture that values positive behaviours and provides opportunities for development can encourage the emergence of role models who contribute to a thriving and supportive work environment. This helps not only to broaden the pool of role models available to Early Careers professionals but also fosters a more inclusive environment.

By showcasing a spectrum of role models from different walks of life, employers send a powerful message that everyone’s unique background is not just acknowledged but celebrated within the organisation. This celebration of diversity extends beyond optics; it fosters an atmosphere where individuals feel seen, heard and appreciated for their individual contributions. It creates a sense of belonging and encourages a collaborative environment.

Another reason why the presence of diverse role models is of high significance is that it offers a more nuanced understanding of success to young people. It illustrates that success is not confined to a particular demographic or background.

Breaking gender and cultural barriers is a key strategy in sectors where specific groups have historically been underrepresented. Such commitment to breaking barriers actively contributes to reshaping the narrative within the workplace. Also, the act of breaking down these barriers creates a ripple effect. It challenges perceived notions and stereotypes, creating an environment where individuals are evaluated based on their capabilities. This shift in perspective not only benefits those currently in the workforce but also sets a precedent for future generations, dismissing ingrained biases and paving the way for a more inclusive professional landscape.

Encouraging a growth mindset

For young professionals entering the workplace for the first time, having a role model to guide them can encourage a growth mindset so that they learn to embrace challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for development. These mentors can help to champion a culture that values continual development, emphasising that skills and knowledge can be honed and nurtured over time.

Employers can encourage a growth mindset amongst Early Careers professionals by encouraging them to set realistic yet challenging goals that can be broken down into manageable tasks and supported by other colleagues. Fostering this mentality embraces progression which is an essential component of the learning process.

Moreover, adapting to change and innovation is crucial for organisational resilience and competitiveness, and role models serve as an example in this regard. Their readiness to embrace change inspires young professionals to adopt a similar mindset. Fostering a culture that values innovation and rewards those actively seeking new solutions not only aligns with a growth mindset but also contributes to the organisation's overall adaptability.

This focus on adaptability is not merely a response to external pressures but a proactive approach to navigating the challenges and opportunities that exist in our daily life at work. Role models, through their example, encourage a shift in perspective, viewing change not as a disruption but as a pathway to growth and improvement.

Next steps for employers

By recognising and harnessing the influence of role models and fostering a culture of continuous learning, companies can contribute to the individual development of young professionals. Here are a few steps that employers can take to connect Early Careers talent with relatable role models in their company:

- Work experience events: These events allow employers to interact directly with young people and introduce them to the world of work, their own company culture and professional experiences. Employees in the business can also attend work experience events to raise employer brand awareness amongst the younger generation to inspire interest in future career opportunities.

- Open communication channels: Employers could utilise social media and their website as a platform to showcase the employees in their business. This can be done through success stories, collaboration with other parties or just celebrating professional goals that have been achieved.

- Careers lessons: Employers can boost engagement and a sense of belonging for both young individuals and Early Careers employees by offering careers lessons through our Careers Learning Platform (CLP). The CLP offers bite-size, employer-led online lessons that introduce young people to organisational culture and provide valuable insights into various industries. It's an effective way to support career growth, enhance essential skills and increase overall employability.

Find out more about our Work Experience Days to connect role models in your business to inspire young people.

By Uptree
Published on: Tue 28 Nov 2023

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