Each summer millions of young people leave either school, college or university. The opportunities on offer can be many and the choices can be daunting. Once you have attracted them to your organisation the task can be equally challenging to create a programme that both motivates and develops them into the workforce that your organisation needs. Throughout my career I have come across this challenge time and time again, so below are a few of my top tips for attracting and retaining the next generation of top talent.
Purpose – show them that they make the difference
16-24 year olds enter their careers very differently to the way their parents did. Traditional values are being eroded by a desire to make a difference, to see a clear path to the top and to have fun while doing it.
The younger generation have grown up in a media driven age where fame is instant and popularity is king. They want to have an impact in the jobs that they do and they want to do it now.
When putting together a development and recruitment plan, it is important to show your new workforce how their role directly impacts and influences the business. For example, show a store assistant the positive impact of above and beyond customer service.
Alternatively, as part of a development plan you could set a challenge that is outside of their normal job role. For example, you could challenge your talent pipeline to reduce the CO2 emissions across your business. It’s a challenge that’s exciting and if effective will make an immediate difference across the business.
Give them room to build confidence
Micromanaging and over analysis of younger employees can stifle their development. It is important to give your talent the room to build their confidence. Allow them to showcase their personality. By giving them ownership over their own work you give them room to shine.
Stand for something bigger
Those entering the workforce have access to more information than ever before. This access has created a generation of passionate people. Across your workforce you’ll find an incredible mix of lifestyle, political and environmental beliefs.
Does your organisation authentically stand behind a cause? Does your organisation back positive social movements? Those who proactively stand behind great causes will be a far more attractive proposition than those who don’t.
Is your development programme ‘lit’?
The way we communicate continues to evolve. When trying to attract a younger workforce you can’t rely on the traditional techniques and language to attract the best talent. You need to understand how your future CEO communicates today. A great example of appealing to the younger generation is the approach by the British Army. Using headlines such as ‘selfie addicts’, ‘phone zombies’ and ‘binge gamers’ caused people to sit up and take notice. The results were clear, by the end of January 2020 visits to the Army Jobs website were up 93% year on year and applications increased 71%.
Throwing out the old textbooks
Still relying on paper for your development programme? Technology plays such an important role in people’s lives, investigate ways to expand your offer.
WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok – create new ways to interact with your workforce. Could you develop a digital ‘gamification’ element to your development programme?
It’s also good to look at the media and what the younger generation are watching. For example, talent shows continue to dominate, could you develop a competition within your development programme.
While each of the above is important, one element is critical. Your intentions and your actions must be genuine. Falsely claiming to back a cause or promising a company culture that isn’t real just won’t work. We live in an age where you can review employers just as easily as you can give your opinion on a film. Sites like Glassdoor allow people to share their experiences of your organisation, don’t give them a reason to leave a bad review.
About Sam Redman
Sam is an Executive Coach and Change Consultant at Sam Redman Consulting Ltd. She is passionate about developing and mentoring people to reach their full potential. Following 8 years coordinating award winning training programmes at JD Wetherspoons, Sam spent a successful 12 years at Pret. There she led the development, structure and delivery of the Culture, Talent and Leadership offer across Pret’s 11,000 people in over 500 shops globally, plus support centres in 4 countries. In 2019 Sam was appointed Programme Director of the OSS Academy. Within this role she will lead the development of the prestigious transformational retail leadership development for experienced managers in retail operations & head office functions, store & field management roles & managers of leading independents.
Through a series of Retail Leadership Programmes and our Management and Degree Apprenticeships, BRC Learning helps retail businesses attract, develop and retain the retail leaders of today and tomorrow. We want to help retail leaders upskill and future-proof their capabilities. And we want to help retail businesses identify and capitalise on the trends and opportunities in an ever-changing environment and win the war to train and retain digital talent.