In the UK today, most people starting their careers haven’t known a time without on demand access to the world at large. The new labour politics and girl power of the 90’s hasn’t shaped them. 9/11 doesn’t feature in their memories.
The experiences and socio-economic landscape that has defined their lives has been dramatically different to the people that are now interviewing, hiring, and managing them.
You might argue that this is the case for every generation entering the world of work. There’s always an age, if not a generational, difference between them and the custodians of their future careers. But there’s one major defining feature of young people entering the workforce today - they’re digital natives; they’ve never known a world without the internet. And that makes the difference between recruit and recruiter bigger than ever before.
Of course, it’s important to properly respond to the needs of anyone joining an organisation but, when it comes to this post-digital generation, a little extra consideration on the part of employers could make their business more appealing to young talent.
Here are Ally's top tips on how to create a culture that’s attractive to the future workforce.
Be open and authentic.
This generation is well practiced at fishing out inauthenticity online. If you don’t give it to them straight, they’ll see through you in a heartbeat.Eradicate from your mind those glib myths about them being ‘snowflakes’, they’re not, and being straight forward and transparent will garner respect.
Keep it interesting.
Programmes where those early in their career get to experience various different roles, business areas, and people are likely to be attractive. And no, this isn’t because of the “attention spans of young people”. Remember, operating at speed and scale is the norm for them but, more importantly, they’re very used to exploring and moving between new groups. They won’t be intimidated and will most likely thrive. And with the added bonus of these rotations helping to break down silos, so will your business.
Think about long term aspirations.
Young people entering the workforce now are the first generation in a long time who are not expected to be as wealthy as their parents. Many of them have already accepted that they won’t ever own their own home. So, think about what you offer as motivation. Is pay alone likely to work when they’ve already got such a developed view of their future financial prospects? Consider reviewing and refreshing your overall benefits package for this young audience and pay attention to the day-to-day flexibility you offer because balance is important to this group.
Don’t glorify hustling or burn out.
Young people entering the workforce now generally don’t place value on climbing the corporate ladder at the sacrifice of all else. They’re ambitious and concerned with self-development but on their terms of what success looks like, not yours. Balance is name of the game.
Foster a sense of belonging.
Today’s young people have grown up with instant access to diverse groups of people. They’ve been able to explore and find communities that they identify with so many are entering the workforce with much more developed senses of self than other generations. They’ll expect to be able to get to know you and to feel known by their peers and managers. Fostering an authentic sense of belonging and purpose is likely to be very important.
Complex hierarchy isn’t attractive.
Young people joining organisations now expect to be able to at least hear from, if not directly access, leaders and they’re likely to be demotivated by a sense of feeling subordinate. Where you can, make sure that you carve out meaningful ways for young people’s voices to be influential.
Don’t assume communication preferences.
According to research by Roberta Katz at Stanford’sCASBS, young people repeatedly state that they prefer to communicate in person. You might like to assume that they’re glued to FaceTime or Snapchat but a good old-fashioned face to face conversation tends to be the preference.
Whilst it’s possible to observe some general themes about the future workforce based on the societal influences that have shaped them, the best thing you can ever do is find out about them as individuals and tailor the experience you offer from the moment of recruitment and onboarding as much as you possibly can. Just as you would with anyone joining your organisation.
If you want to know more about what it takes to build a culture that gets the most out of your emerging workforce, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.