August 24, 2021
Career development and mentorship opportunities have largely stalled. We asked young professionals about how they’re feeling and coping with the dearth of mentorship and development opportunities at what would typically be a high growth and learning stage of their careers.
The early years in one’s career can often be hard and confusing, but also incredibly formative. Many young professionals rely on guidance from colleagues, bosses and mentors as they set the course for the career they want. However, as casual talks around the office have disappeared, development sessions and mentorship programs have been put on hold or moved remote, many young professionals are struggling to strike up those important career conversations.
This is further compounded by leadership’s focus and attention.In the midst of the crisis, most leaders are hyper focused on business survival and performance, bumping career development of their teams down the list of priorities. For young professionals who are watching their development fall in leadership’s focus, they’re feeling demotivated and undervalued. Managers who often busy with their families or swamped with work are sending strong, albeit inadvertent signals, every time they bump development conversations.
Career progression has also been deprioritized, or in some cases, put on hold as a blanket policy by many companies. Some people who had been told they would be promoted this spring, have been left hanging with promises of revisiting their promotion once ‘everything is back to normal.’ The people we talked to, though they understand why promotions have been deprioritized, are finding it hard to maintain motivation when there’s no clear picture of how or when their advancement will be discussed or considered.
With promotion and spending freezes at many companies, leaders hands may be tied when it comes to promotions. However, there are other ways to signal to your team that their growth and development is important to you. Having open conversations about how they’re feeling, giving them stretch opportunities to learn new work, pairing employees with mentors, and showing genuine care for their career development will ease your team members’ anxiety and stress.
"Meaningful, lasting behavioral change is a complex process, requiring timely personalized guidance. Startups like Valence (formerly Shift) provide teams with a fabric of interactive activities that emphasize mutual feedback and allow them to learn on the job while doing the work they always do."