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Most young people enter the workplace with huge energy, enthusiasm and expectation. Sadly for many, the reality is a gradual decline in energy, enthusiasm and passion.

To help young talent to flourish in the workplace, three vital ingredients are needed;

Direction, Support and Recognition.


If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know if you get there.

 Without sufficient direction from you, how do your young people know where to go or what you expect from them along the way? How do they know if they’re on the right path? Or what to expect when they arrive?

You have to ensure they understand not just the goal but what the goal means. A tangible goal is far easier to achieve than a vague statement about improving results. Speak their language and help them formulate meaningful goals and actions that inspire and motivate them to achieve.


Let’s assume your young direct report knows exactly what is expected of him/her and is all fired up to do the job. Great right? Unfortunately, enthusiasm alone isn’t enough because, without the right support, their motivation will quickly dwindle.

Your job is not to micromanage their day, but rather to ensure they have the resources, knowledge and skills they need to be successful. That involves listening well so you understand their challenges and can give them the help they need. And, ask questions that increase the quality of their thinking and facilitate their learning.


Recognition and praise is an important piece of the puzzle and one that is too often neglected. Criticism comes naturally to most of us, we’ve been taught to spot mistakes. Sometimes criticism is necessary and helpful for growth, but too much criticism only hinders productivity and creativity.

Research suggests that a ratio of 1 criticism to 5 appreciation produces the best results. So make it a habit to regularly notice and comment on the good things being done. A quiet acknowledgement of effort well spent or small action done will inspire your young people to achieve more.

Of course, it goes without saying that Direction, Support and Recognition are essential and applicable for everyone, not just young talent. So what are you doing to nurture the talent in your business? 


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