There are many challenges and rewards that go along with fostering young talent in the financial field. As a manager, you have the opportunity to set the foundation for a young person’s career. The tips and tricks you teach them, and the way you behave and conduct yourself, will be key in the future success of young talent.
Ideally, you want to grow talent that will stay with your company but, in the end, being a mentor means helping young talent develop professionally and personally into the career path that is best for them. We asked a few managers at Summit CPA Group — both young and seasoned — their advice on fostering young talent. Here are four major points they found most important, which can be applied in any business.
1. Empower W ith Responsibility
Being a manager and a mentor means giving up some control. Let it go — give young talent the time they need to accomplish goals and prove themselves through results. Allow them the opportunity to be curious. One of the top qualities of a good CFO is always being curious. Support young talent by allowing them to make decisions and learn from their successes and mistakes. This process will install confidence and empower them to share new ideas without being prompted.
When you empower your young talent, they will also feel more comfortable being involved in the decision-making process. It’s equally important to allow them permission to make decisions. Some of the best lessons are learned when needing to make a decision. Whether right or wrong at the time, just learning to make a decision is a crucial step for the young talent you are fostering.
2. Establish Trust
You obviously hired these young people because you believe they are capable of doing the job. So trust they will be hardworking and reliable, doing their job to the best of their abilities. Get to know your young talent on an individual basis — learn how they work best with others on the team. Personality has a lot to do with this, and everyone communicates and works together differently. Young talent should understand the importance of customizing their communication to whomever they are dealing with. Implementing personality exercises, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, will allow young talent a better insight into their own personality and how they best communicate and learn.
3. Be Flexible
Millennials, perhaps more than any other generation, value a flexible work schedule. Life-work balance has always been a considering factor in evaluating jobs, but now more than ever, the flexibility of work schedule is key. The financial field is certainly an area of expertise that lends itself very well to working with a remote or distributed team. When given the freedom to choose their own work locations and hours, most employers are surprised how productive young talent can be. They work hard and play hard. As a manager, do not micromanage, but allow young talent to get the job done in a timely manner — their own way. That may mean they work from 2 a.m. until 5 a.m., but the important things are that the deadline is met and the work acceptable.
4. Encourage Cross-Functional Learning
Providing opportunities outside the assigned job function allows young talent to experience other areas within the company that may be of interest, or for which they a have high aptitude. When young workers understand the different job functions and how they all fit and work together, they gain an appreciation of everyone’s role and can work more easily together as a well-oiled machine. Encourage this learning by teaming up young talent with a more seasoned team member from a different department for a week.
As an example, a junior accountant who shows interest in the tax portion of the business can shadow a senior member of the tax team for a period to obtain a basic understanding of that career path. Likewise, someone in Audit may show an interest in accounting or a CFO role and can do the same.