• Dr. Mark Stone

Staff aged 18-to-25 years-old would like help with _______?

Prepared by Dr. Mark Stone. . . a collaborative partner with the Wi2CoLab Team, and Certified Predictive Index Analyst with Humanlytics Team, LLC, (www.humanlytics.com).

Maximizing the talent of young workers is often a hot topic among organizational leaders. In our experience, the negative attributes of younger workers gain the most attention. This article offers some background concerning talent and tenure maximization. With leadership, turnover, and commitment to a workplace very well-researched, the information is available to guide leader and mentorship action to achieve several positive outcomes. In this article, we focus on steps to increase the tenure of a young worker.

Life-Phase Background

Workers in the 18-to-25-year-old age bracket are considered to be in a life phase referred to as emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2004). This period often requires individuals to be juggling changing priorities and facing new challenges for the first time. In addition to social, family, and educational circles, a workplace and peers can play a pivotal role in growing the confidence and stability of early career stage colleagues. Active support from staff with more life and work experience can go a long way towards maximizing the talents of younger workers.

Common Challenges and Consequences

Young staff often reflect on their role and contemplate the benefits of remaining and progressing with an organization (Gatling et al., 2016; Stone, 2021). The U.S. Department of Labor (2021) detailed that 57% of workers 16 to 25 years have an average tenure of 12 months or less. This can determine a negative spiral as organizational leaders find it tough to place trust. More junior staff may then not be assigned exciting opportunities even should they have sufficient capabilities with bosses needing to think twice before allocating leadership responsibilities.

Developing Emerging Adult Commitment to a Group The feelings of commitment a worker has towards a company are strongly connected to turnover intention (Azanza et al., 2015). Higher commitment results in less desire to leave a job role. Commitment is influenced by the norms of those around them, happiness with current job benefits, and how connected to an organization a person feels. For younger workers, engagement and identification with a company can be significant.

Action Steps for Positive Results Younger workers are often watching the people and the environment around them. They are paying attention to leaders and colleagues while evaluating the purpose of their team and company. Some steps that leaders can to build commitment and increase the tenure of younger staff:

  1. Connect work to company objectives and mission. Discuss with younger workers the importance of their role concerning the goals of their team or department and how these responsibilities connect to your companies mission.

  2. Be honest and offer regular feedback. 18-to-25-year-old staff depends on balanced feedback for their progression and identity development. This applies to when performance is strong and when it is lacking. Reflect and prepare ahead of time concerning the best way to deliver feedback to young workers but most importantly make sure to give it.

  3. Explain and show trust. Providing opportunities to take responsibility at work can help young staff build self-esteem and can show how a supervisor values a young worker. This can help a young worker feel engaged and responsible for the companies well-being. Verify the details and expectations, but show trust.

  4. Actively learn about your younger staff. While it is not always easy, regular conversation on workplace and more broad topics can help establish what factors of a job role make a young worker feel engaged. Discuss with a young worker why they accepted their current job and which parts of it they care about and potentially identify with. These factors might be major or minor, but working them out can aid a supervisor in planning to support a young worker.

While this list is not exhaustive, it does offer some information on potential steps to improve workplace relationships with younger staff. Connection and active learning about the interests and values of a young worker can determine positive outcomes concerning commitment to an organization and enhance tenure. While not all company missions may align with making the world a better place, it is often enough for younger staff to feel part of something bigger than them. The outlook is positive, when we surveyed staff in this age group a common opinion found is that younger staff are ready and excited to gain feedback and learn from their peers.

Do you have success stories to share concerning this topic? You are invited into the conversation!

Interested in learning more about how to support your young workers? Contact us at 602 525 7900 or email at info@wi2colab.com.


Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford.

Azanza, G., Moriano, J. A., Molero, F., & Lévy Mangin, J. P. (2015). The effects of authentic leadership on turnover intention. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(8), 955-971. doi:10.1108/LODJ-03-2014-0056

Gatling, A., Kang, H. J. A., & Kim, J. S. (2016). The effects of authentic leadership and organizational commitment on turnover intention. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37(2), 181-199. doi:10.1108/LODJ-05-2014-0090

Stone, M. (2021). A Correlational Study on the Relationship of Authentic Leadership with Turnover Intention and the Predictive Role of Affective Organizational Commitment (Doctoral dissertation, Grand Canyon University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by age, sex, and race. Retrieved June 9, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat03.htm Published June 11, 2021 Wi 2 Co-Lab Team Member and Founder/Owner of Stone Consulting LLC

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