retain attract young talent

How to retain and attract young talent

Mark Trego
Mar 05, 2019

To compete in the modern business environment and stay up to speed with fast moving trends, companies need to attract and retain young talent. Changes are moving quickly and without fresh ideas and perspectives from younger employees, companies will lose out on upcoming opportunities and not adapt fast enough to the new customer expectations. Even some of the largest, most perceived “stable” companies of the last century have fallen victim to not seeing change and adapting; take JCPenney and Sears for example. Your younger, less experienced employees are among your most valuable, in this sense.

Young talent

The problem is, young talent of this generation is fickle. Most young people entering the labor force have seen what happens during recessions and are skeptical about trusting companies and long term positions. In fact, 71% of Millennials say they are actively seeking a new job. Attracting them and retaining them requires more than just good pay and location. The reasons younger talent stay are much more complex but if your company can provide them, you may just guarantee its survival.

Here are the most effective ways to retain and attract young talent:

Remote work opportunities:

Younger talent sees 9-5 schedules and cubicles are highly outdated. They prefer more flexible options at work and are used to communicating online effectively 24/7. Younger employees come from doing most of their work during school from a laptop and collaborating online; work solely in an office now feels restrictive to them. 85% of millennials see themselves as more productive when given remote work opportunities. Being connected 24/7 to work communication tools means work/life balance is difficult. Younger talent sees remote work as a way to better achieve work/life balance while still being productive and connected. It’s a hugely important draw. 82% of millennials say that they are more loyal to a company with remote work perks. Learn more about the benefits of remote work and how to make it work for your team.

remote opportunities

Entrepreneurial opportunities within corporate structure:

Being connected to so many resources and opportunities has made millennials draw to entrepreneurship. Many younger employees carry on “side hustles” to make extra money, have more freedom, and expand their business acumen. As a result, many younger employees are drawn to companies that have entrepreneurial opportunities. Some examples are internal venture capital and opportunities to create “projects” and even smaller companies within companies. This is becoming more common as larger companies need to find ways to expand and grow in the changing business environment. They create opportunities for young talent to use their full potential. Without opportunities like this, some of your most entrepreneurial, ambitious talent may take their ideas and leave. Corporate entrepreneurship is going to be a big draw for retaining competitive young talent. Learn more on how to motivate your team to think like entrepreneurs and not employees.

entrepreneurial opportunities

A sense of ownership:

As somewhat mentioned above, younger employees are drawn to opportunities where they can build something. They feel more connected and loyal to a corporation when they have some “skin in the game” so to speak. Millennials want opportunities to own their ideas, projects, and reap the benefits as well. They like to take on responsibility and put their name of something where they can see direct contribution. They are less likely to leave a company or position when this is the case. Some ways this can be achieved is through self-lead teams and projects, allowing complete transparency if information and management, allowing a voice in strategic objectives, regular brainstorming and actually integrating talent’s ideas, etc. When talent feels as if they are deeply connected and involved at every step towards goals, they are more committed and loyal to it.

Flat organizational structure:

Younger talent sees bureaucratic companies with a long chain of command as inefficient and outdated. Not only does it normally hold back the company, but it does not attract the type of self-driven young talent wanted. They dislike having to go through several management layers to simply do their job or express new ideas; it’s discouraging. Millennials have a desire to lead. When they feel that leadership is attainable at any level, they are likely to feel more self-sufficient, fulfilled, and important at their job. This also benefits your company because as ambitious young talent has new ideas and solutions to problems (why you hire them), it is much more likely to reach top management and get implemented with a flatter organizational structure. A few ways you can “flatten” your organizational structure is to make top management accessible and involved with teams through instant communication like team chat. You can also make autonomy and open communication a company wide policy and facilitate conversation through collaborative platforms where everyone “virtually” has a voice.

Flat organizational structure

Learning and growth opportunities:

The number one reason young talent leave jobs is lack of career opportunities. If they don’t see a future at their current company, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere. 74% of millennials who like their jobs are planning to move in the next year for the sole purpose of better opportunity. Providing opportunities for advancement and learning is imperative, and a good starting point is to define training goals for your employees to identify exactly what your employees want and what training is lacking. By defining training goals, you’ll create a training plan that  is guaranteed to demonstrate value, ROI, and growth. Younger employees are well aware that they are likely to have to change jobs frequently and they want to make sure their skillset is improving and marketable. If your company provides opportunities for advancement and learning, you are not only likely to retain talent but also attract new top talent as this is their biggest motivation.

Informal communications that are intuitive and effective:

Younger employees are used to communicating informally via the internet the majority of their day. That is their preferred method of communication and the one they see as the most efficient. They don’t see internal email as productive and they will likely end up communicating outside of it anyways out of convenience. By incorporating this into your company’s culture, it will be more intuitive and efficient. Incorporating chat and task management platforms improves productivity and makes communication faster and more fluid overall. Tools like Hibox, for example, that provide chat, task management, file sharing, and video conferencing all in one convenient place are ideal for managing teams with younger talent and remote work schedules. They interconnect everyone in a strong and intuitive way and ensure that your team is engaged.

informal communication

In chat platforms like Hibox, younger talent feels more free to use the same informal communication they use outside of work with GIFs and group messaging. A more informal and quick communication method like this inspires people, particularly younger talent, to be more open and willing to speak up about ideas and solutions.

Engaging and personal company culture:

Company culture is significantly more important for millennials that any other generation. In fact, millennials are on average willing to take a $7,600 pay cut in order to be at a company with what they perceive to be better company culture. Making a bigger focus on improving your company’s culture can help you attract top, young talent without making budget sacrifices. What does young talent consider desirable “company culture”? The prefer company environments where people push them to learn more and take on more responsibility (as mentioned above). They want a job that feels more than a job, like a lifestyle. They want to feel like they are making an impact in the long term success of the company. In this sense, they like a closer connection with top management and to be a part of strategic direction. Younger talent values connecting with peers and having opportunities to collaborate.

Young talent feels most motivated, inspired, and committed to companies that give them a challenge and the tools and resources to conquer it. Make your company attractive for young, top talent by creating a collaborative and innovative culture using an all-in-one collaboration and communication tool like Hibox.

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