7 requirements to attract and keep younger workers
We asked our November cover story’s interview subjects to suggest top requirements to attract and keep younger workers. Here are their suggestions:
- Have a purpose. If your business’s only cause is to improve shareholder value or increase its margins, say workforce experts, you’re all but dead to younger talent. Connect your work to a higher purpose. “Our best people are driven to be part of an organization that is changing a norm or a cause,” says Dominion Payroll CEO Dave Gallagher.
- Encourage collaboration. Forget top-down commands; start crowdsourcing ideas. “They want to network with peers and solve problems,” says Judith Pahren of Capital One. That means more open work spaces, more team-building and volunteering together, and a lot more open discussions.
- Be flexible. Focus on how well the job gets done, not on the hours someone is working or where. If someone wants to come in later or trade a weekday for a weekend, make that possible, advises Isabelle Tobe, 22, marketing coordinator at Dominion Payroll. Don’t limit your thinking about what an office means: Your best employees could be working from home in another state.
- Be transparent. Share good news, but also be upfront about bad. Millennials and Gen Zers don’t want to hear it from someone else. They’ll find out anyway, so be the first to tell them.
- Let them grow. Training to improve the job they have is essential to younger workers. So is offering ways to expand their skills, from online training to mentorship programs. Capital One brings inspiring speakers to its McLean campus, ranging from primatologist Jane Goodall to the rapper and activist Common. Millennials “want to explore,” says Reggie Leonard II, associate dean for career connections and community engagement at the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science.
- Be inclusive. Younger workers demand workplaces that are welcoming to all races, genders, religions and sexual orientations, says SIR’s Martin. To attract and keep younger workers, be sure to stamp out any indication of discrimination and unfairness.
- Bring feedback. Be clear and direct about what is expected, what is working and what is not. While sensitivity is valued, clarity is more so. Be sure to make the feedback regular and specific, “but be open to using different communications tools,” says U.Va.’s Leonard. Younger people might be happier with a quick text or Slack message rather than meeting in person or over a phone call.