My first job out of college, I was reporting in a place that I didn’t know very well, covering topics I didn’t really understand, and the philosophy was really sink or swim. Luckily I managed to swim, but there were times when I was underwater for a long time before I caught my breath.

Because of the nature of newspaper journalism, there just wasn’t the time to sit down and explain things. I was more fortunate than others though, as I found some really great co-workers who were willing to listen to my frustrations, give me feedback and help me along my way.!@!

From this brief look into my past, you might have gathered that I’m one of those Generation Y employees that everyone keeps talking about. And I can tell you, firsthand, that feedback, mentoring and guidance mean the world to me and my peers. The most important time for this guidance is when we first start a job. It’s our first impression. If we’re just thrown into a position with no background or counsel, we’re turned off.

So I ask you take a look at how an employee’s first week goes at your company. Do you have them go through a generic orientation and then leave them be? Do you meet with them throughout the week and cultivate an open environment where you make time for questions and conversations? Or do you just throw them in and wait to see if they sink or swim?

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