An emerging trend in management/leadership is the idea that the first five years of a person’s career hold incredible impact. And the younger the worker, the more this is true.

Add in the pandemic’s adverse and long-reaching effect on young people’s mental health, and it’s key that leaders find ways to connect with their young hours early and often.

In a recent study that found 40% of Canadian workers aged 18 to 24 are at a mental health “breaking point,” several suggestions were made, including this one:

“Resilience training should start at the very beginning of an employee’s tenure, since research shows that work habits become engrained in the first five years of one’s career. One of the most powerful ways to share learning is through storytelling—and creating opportunities for leaders and managers to share moments where they struggled and how they worked through those challenges. High-performing organizations will also invest in self-directed resources that employees can turn to at their own pace and schedule. These can include mindfulness apps, physical spaces where employees can disconnect from work, health classes and activity-based programs.”

This would be a significant shift for a lot of leaders, but the investment is worth it in a labour shortage where every advantage counts in recruiting and retaining workers.

Each week, ICBA’s Jordan Bateman reflects on what we’ve learned as we participate in ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program. ICBA’s Workplace Wellness Program is helping more than 100 companies and more than 10,000 construction professionals better understand mental health. This program is free for all ICBA members – check out for details.