November 17, 2021

The New Labour Force Requires Empathy

Young people across Canada are 18 months to 2 years less experienced than they were the last time employers were hiring en masse. Across that time frame, they also faced new challenges of isolation, lack of community, uncertainty and a new reality of work. We know that early career gaps can lead to employment scarring and skills loss. While it is easy to chalk up a reluctance to return to work to old tropes or laziness or social assistance, the reality is far more complex and daunting.

Young people are more than ever looking for places of belonging, safety and progress. They want to get excited about the future and build their skills, but the ongoing flux in the workforce has made them cautious and negatively impacted them, both physically and mentally. Additionally, viral videos of front-line staff bearing the brunt of societal anger and consumers lashing out are living in their heads rent-free.

The new labour realities will require empathy - more understanding interviewers, better onboarding, training and messaging to draw young people in, as well as superb coaching and mentoring in supervision. To tackle this issue, employers need to analyze how young people are spoken about at their organizations and address ways that communication can be more inclusive and empathetic. Young people need that one big break and that first great boss more than ever, leaving employers with a significant opportunity to engage.

Consider Becoming a Mentor

One of the best ways to support young people is through mentorship. We’re currently recruiting for pairing for our reverse mentoring program, MentorU/MentorMe.

This program pairs younger employees with executive team members or seasoned professionals for a two-way learning experience on various topics of strategic and cultural relevance. This year's cycle goes from November 2021 to May 2022. If you have any questions, please reach out to Tristan Morris at tmorris@marsdd.com.

For leaders interested in participating, please visit our website.

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