A great salary, a good pension, company car and extra paid holidays. Sounds great! But what about job satisfaction, professional development, or making the world a better place. Generation Z are increasingly looking for the latter in a world where they want to find meaning and value in what they do. So how can you attract and benefit from their passion and talents?
1. Be authentic
While salary is important, young people also look at your company’s values. Make sure they are embedded throughout your organisation and mirrored in its culture. You will attract a workforce passionate about your cause and your young employees will feel they are making a real difference.
2. Develop partnerships
Young people are often missing ‘soft skills’: communication, team work, decision-making, but these can be developed through curricular and extra-curricular activities. Building a good relationship with local schools and youth organisations can help you to identify the gaps and facilitate change. This might be by allowing your staff volunteering time, acting on an employability advisory body, or providing financial support.
3. Preparation, planning and adjustment
Employing a 17-year-old requires a different approach than someone with years of experience. You need to approach it in a mindful way and prepare, plan, and make appropriate adjustments. Talk to organisations that already have a young workforce such as your local LEP or youth association for help.
4. Nurture and invest
Can they be given a task and get on with it? What should they wear? How should they behave? Young people may not know the answers, but are willing to learn. With mentoring and supervision, you can transform school-leavers into young workers, build commitment to your organisation, belief in its values, and a willingness to go the extra mile.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Young people are always receiving feedback. Friends like and comment on their tweets, posts and images. So, schedule regular reviews, have daily scrum sessions, and check on how they are doing. They may be more comfortable online, but in-person meetings are still important for building communication, relationships, team skills and confidence.
6. Train them
Train your employees and they might leave, taking the new skills with them. But if you don’t, they may be missing the skills, knowledge and confidence to do their job properly. Research has shown that young people are also more likely to stay if they feel that their employer is investing in them.
7. Offer progression
If you want people with passion, drive and initiative, then you need to offer opportunities for them to progress and develop. Retention of local talent is a priority for Oxfordshire’s job market and competition is high. A nurturing and employee-focused environment, which offers opportunities to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities, makes moving on less attractive.
8. Be flexible
Studies show that employees working a 9-5 schedule are only about 40% efficient. Flexible working offers many benefits, from increased efficiency to avoiding rush hour traffic. Flexible working can also create a more motivated workforce, who will put in extra hours to achieve their goals.
9. Go digital
Are your documents in the Cloud? Are you using Slack to communicate? Young people are digital savvy and you will need to be too, to keep them. Admittedly, it can be hard to keep up. Guess what? Ask the new staff! They know the latest apps and will probably already be using them.
10. Get help
There are multiple initiatives available to support employers in being more “young-person” friendly. Future Leaders programme, Traineeships, Apprenticeships, “Give an Hour” campaign, Enterprise Adviser Network. There are many programmes and services providing training, advice and engagement with current and future young workforce.
“By investing in young people, we are investing in the future of our businesses and society as a whole.” Jodie Lloyd-Jones, CEO of Oxfordshire Youth.