Earlier this month, the Financial Post featured an article on the latest addition to the workforce: Generation Y, also known as “Millennials,” or those born after 1982. The article, “Gen-Yers Require Care and Nurturing,” highlighted some general characteristics – both positive and negative – of the currently youngest employees. Still, an overall implication was that this generation could prove to be an “outstanding workforce,” given that employers know how to make the best of their qualities.
One guideline to enable the flourishing of both Millennials and the companies they work for is to help them succeed by providing the right tools through coaching, mentoring and training. Business etiquette coaching is integral to this success. By investing in business etiquette training for their newest and youngest employees, both the companies and the Gen-Y employees will gain.
Why choose business etiquette training or image consulting when considering training tailored for Millennials? To begin, not all members of this generation have had access to such skill training in university. Some business schools do incorporate seminars such as business dining or networking, though most faculties do not offer these programs. Students may also have the opportunity to learn interview skills through extracurricular programs at career centres, though these courses are often recommended but not required. Learning these skills is essential for individuals just starting off in the workforce.
Where should Generation Y start with etiquette coaching or seminars?
Interviews often take place over a meal, and employees may find themselves dining at a work function or with clients. Therefore starting a profession with the right dining etiquette skills is important – both for the individual’s benefit and to adequately represent his or her company in front of clients or guests.
For a young person, executive dining will mostly likely not resemble dining out with friends or at home, especially if the context is formal. Knowing the intricacies of formal dining is a skill to be learned, not an intuition: such as familiarity with the place setting, keeping cell phones or devices away from the table, and protocol for whether to consume alcohol at a business function.
Teaching successful interview skills can be advantageous not only for an interview itself, but also for other formal meetings and contexts where the best communication skills are necessary. Knowing proper business attire is essential before interviews, and teaching new members of the workforce the nuances between what is appropriate and what is too casual will prepare them for the various contexts within their careers.
Other skills necessary for an interview but applicable to other career contexts is refined body language (a strong handshake, eye contact, posture and engaging stature), good communication abilities, punctuality, and thoughtful follow-up – in the case of an interview, a handwritten thank-you note. Like proper business attire, these skills are certainly applicable throughout a career and learning them early on will give Millennials a head start.
By gaining these skills at the start of their careers, members of Generation Y will be ready to join the professional ranks of the workforce. Know-how in business etiquette will complement their technical skills and help them to succeed. Likewise, the companies they work for will have thoughtful and well-rounded employees. Investing in coaching the latest generation is therefore a two-way street!
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