Work is good for us. But change is scary

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By Richard Badley

Changing jobs is a daunting experience. And transitioning into work for the first time can be equally, if not more, scary.

SMRS spend a lot of time helping organisations understand, engage, attract and retain early talent. We also spend a lot of time carrying out and digesting research, with a view to understanding lots of things better. What it is that appeals to a younger demographic. What it is they look for. What do they hope to earn. Where do they look for information. And what single factor (if there is one) most greatly impacts their career choices.

More recently I was looking over a piece of research carried out by one of our partners, Reputation Consultancy. The work covered some very interesting aspects (including how prepared younger candidates are for the world of work, what employers can offer to ease the transition, financial management, areas for improvement, areas of strength, the list goes on). It also looked at variances in results by demographics and different academic levels.

As I read through the report, one area really stood out. Not just because I’m hugely interested in the impact it has on organisational performance, but because it had some of the most prominent and significant results statistically: Wellbeing.

The first real stand out; people like work. It makes them feel good.

Reading these results made me genuinely happy. It was uplifting to read:

– 33% of people felt more motivated, inspired and mentally stimulated after starting work

– 35% of people felt more active after starting work

– 23% of respondents felt their wellbeing improved as a result of starting work

– 16% of respondents said they slept better as a result of starting work

– 12% of respondents said their mental health improved as a result of starting work

– 47% enjoyed starting work

These are great things to feel. And fantastically positive outcomes of having a job.

They are also things that I believe almost every business (at least the good ones) would want their potential, current and past staff to experience while being part of their organisation.

But the results did raise a further thought; why are the responses still so low?

One third of people feeling motivated seems a little disappointing.

Surely these things aren’t too hard to deliver.

So how can we improve the transition into work?

According to the same piece of research, there are potentially some quick(er) wins.

75% of respondents said they have enjoyed the social side of starting work. To support that, 64% said their employer helped to create opportunities to get to know colleagues, build networks and form friendships.

The single largest calling for improvement – the induction process.

34% of respondents across all categories said an improved induction process would be the single largest factor to most improve the transition from education to work.

This is an area I (and SMRS as an agency) bang on about a lot. The candidate experience.

It is so essential.

It’s a big task to address, but it’s so important. It sets candidates up for their future within an organisation. It helps them understand the business, the values, and importantly the part the individual candidate plays. And it absolutely requires attention, love and investment.

It also plays a critical part in more than just attraction. Wellbeing is essential to attrition. Happy people are not only more likely to stay in businesses. Businesses with happy people are more successful. Right down to the bottom line.

When considering how to help younger generations transition into work, wellbeing really matters. A solid induction process supported by social activities are the most impactful ways to enhance, improve and optimise a candidate’s experience.