One of the questions I get asked the most from organisations big and small is how they can best attract, support and retain talented young people for their teams. As a young person myself I love hearing these organisations so eager to work with young people and I continue to see examples of diverse teams delivering amazing results. I’ve put together this blog post to outline a few of my top tips for attracting and empowering young people in your organisation.
Step 1: Building Bonds
From the moment they start high school, young people are constantly being exposed to career opportunities and career education. From school career days to work experience, guest speakers, sponsored competitions and more, there is an overwhelming amount of information being thrown at young people about their career choices.
With the sheer volume of information going their way, young people often get quickly desensitised to pamphlets and booklets with statistics about job prospects and salary packages, which is why companies today need to go above and beyond to make a lasting impact on their young people.
A great way of doing this is by creating truly unique experiences for young people. Here are a few of my favourites:
Virtual Reality Work Experience Opportunities: There are a myriad of innovative organisations that now let students experience a day in the life of some of their key employees through a virtual reality experience. From getting a glimpse of a day in court for lawyers, to an engine repair for a mechanic, this is such a scalable way to show students what it’s like to work for your organisation.
Youth Hackathons: Another great way of getting young people passionate about your brand is through hosting programs for young people with your business. We’ve seen the success of this first hand with our ‘Industry Innovation Camps’ that we’ve held with corporate partners across the country. By bringing students in and getting them working on real challenges and meeting real members of your team they build a lasting bond with your brand.
Youth Advisory Opportunities: Educators are always looking for real world opportunities to inspire and empower their students. A big part of this is with industry case studies and free competitions that will see students working to solve a challenge for an industry partner. These are fantastic scalable and low cost opportunities for engaging with young people.
Step 2: Creating Opportunities
So you’ve gotten their attention, and maybe even got them on the team. Now what? Well now it’s time to ensure you’re creating opportunities for young people within your team or organisation. Here are a few of my favourite strategies:
Reverse Mentoring: This is something practiced by companies and teams around the world where they will pair a senior team member with a junior member. This relationship has shown fantastic results for both parties with the young person learning so much from someone more experienced in the field, but also the more experienced person learning a great deal from a fresh set of eyes.
Local Impact: A number of recent studies coming out have shown that young people under the age of 30 are willing to take up to a 33% pay cut to work for a company or a cause that they truly believe in. With young people now more motivated by local impact as opposed to big salary packages, it’s imperative that you ensure your team are supporting your local community in some way, shape or form.
Innovation Opportunities: Young people today are being told to expect to change careers approximately every seven years. With this they are thinking big, thinking different and thinking outside of the box. As part of this it’s imperative that you’re working to ensure you continue to challenges them with opportunities to innovate, create and have big ideas.
Step 3: Building The Culture
So you’ve attracted them and hired them, now it’s time to not just talk the talk but also walk the walk as you build the culture on your team to empower these young people. Here are some of my top tips:
Support And Guidance: Whilst Generation Z are pretty cool in a myriad of ways, they’re also quite young and at the end of the day, they don’t know what they don’t know and they need support and guidance along their journey. Make sure you’re able to offer that for them so they can continue to grow and excel along their journey.
Forward Thinking Teams: Chances are if you’re reading this and you’ve made it this far, you’re pretty forward thinking. What is also important though is to ensure the rest of your team have the same understanding. There is nothing worse that having a more traditional thinking making life hard for the junior on the team.
Utilising Diverse Skill Sets: With young people expected to change careers every seven years, they’re constantly working to develop a diverse range of skills. It’s important to give them the freedom in their role to apply these different sets of skills as they grow and develop.
So that’s it. That’s how you can attract, inspire and empower young people in your team. Easy right?
The good news is that this isn’t an overnight thing. It takes hard work, dedication and support, but with a passionate leader like you leading the charge you and your team will get there in no time!