Graduates, rookies, interns and all other people who are new to a particular working environment are often frowned upon and don’t get the chances they deserve. In my opinion however all kinds of rookies have the potential to positively change every business.
Dump Experience as a Job Requirement
For businesses one of the most interesting aspects of embracing rookies amongst their operations is that they are inexperienced. While many HR departments are looking solemnly for acquired experiences of any kind when scanning through CVs, you can turn the requirements around.
You are looking for fresh brains that are not going to steer the company nor going to manage teams. So focus on the actual requirements of the position you want to be filled by a rookie and check CVs for hints of self-propelled knowledge acquisition, voluntary activities, flexibility, engagement in projects and pretty much everything unusual.
Break the Virtual Limits
Sometimes in environments with low staff fluctuation it happens that virtual limits and routines become an operational standard that is no longer questioned. Such a status quo is often the end of all innovation. A rookie newcomer should not feel uncomfortable to question such routines because often the activities do no longer add value to the business afterall.
If other team members see an idea being carried out and improving the operations, the innovation stasis might break and you increase the chance on working in an idea growing environment once again thanks to the “rebellious nature” of your fresh rookie.
Spotting True Necessities
A rookie is often in a better position to judge on the necessities of carrying a certain activity out. They are focused on the one thing they are assigned with and are able to confirm what tools and resources they need for exactly this being completed. Senior staff possibly knows about a hundred different tasks and how to complete those and what they need for it but they might have a hard time to spot the true necessities of a single particular activity.
I always encourage rookies and other new joiners alike to always ask questions. Rookies in particular tend to ask a lot of questions and ask for help and that’s a good thing. Beyond that they not only ask a single person but a few and also research on intranet and internet to prepare a best possible way of carrying a task out.
In mentorship there is a particularly useful effect beyond the mentor teaching the mentee. That effect is known as “Inverted Mentorship”. The effect of this is that during the process of teaching and being hit by unexpected questions, the mentors re-think the material and their own knowledge.
Because they lack methodology and templates from a previous work engagement, rookies always start everything from scratch. Don’t give them the old archive of templates to build upon, let them craft something new. It might not replace the standard work results instantly but maybe the product will have some attributes that are better than the standard product and in the end both can be merged into an innovated output.
Be a Rookie
Being a rookie is not a state of expertise but more a state of mind and everyone can re-learn the positive behaviours and methods of a rookie. Be open to communication and mindful to your work environment. Share thoughts and ideas beyond your work realm. Ask questions every day, think critically and don’t forget your notebook.
Taking all these things into account on how rookies can have a positive impact on your business, it is however a requirement to give them the opportunity to shine. No rookie can add value to the business if their day is full of getting coffee and bagels. It is not their job to cater you, it is your job to teach them and in return they will share their ideas with you.
- Creative Mentorship and Career-Building Strategies: How to Build your Virtual Personal Board of Directors (Mary Pender Greene)
- Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work (Liz Wiseman)
- The XYZ Factor: The DoSomething.org Guide to Creating a Culture of Impact (Nancy Lublin, Alyssa Ruderman)
- How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens (Benedict Carey)
Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory