Attract and Retain Emerging Talent

· by Lindsay Hunter

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The market in which we are all competing for talent is constantly evolving. It’s a daunting task to try and keep up with all of the latest trends to attract up and coming talent, not to mention, retaining that talent for years to come.

One of the most recent and most noticeable changes has been the introduction of Gen Y into the workforce. I myself am on the cusp between Gen X & Gen Y and have identifying traits of both generations. So when it comes to Gen Y, I feel I know a bit about the group’s background and can identify with a few of the things they are looking for. Employers are having to manage quite a shift in culture between the baby boomer who are now retiring, the Gen X-ers (boomer offspring), and the emerging Gen Y. All that being said, what does Gen Y want? How do you not just attract today’s top talent, but more importantly keep them?

  1. Strong company culture

As a quasi-member of Gen Y; I very much value the friendships and sense of comradery that develops in the workplace with both coworkers and managers. Gen Y doesn’t just stay with a company because we like our actual job; we like our job because we like the people we interact with daily and that is why we stay. Encourage this in your workforce. Create leisure groups, offer volunteer opportunities, and conduct team building activities to keep employees involved and engaged.

  1. Compensation is more than just a number

While salary is important to Gen Y (two words: college debt), long gone are the days where a big salary is enough to attract your best employees. More than ever we are seeing jobs turned down for things like not enough vacation, lack of job flexibility, or minimal advancement opportunities. Gen Y has become very good at considering the entire package before taking a job offer (or being tied down to one). Offer flexible schedules or remote work options, if possible. For Gen Y the job needs to fit the lifestyle, not the other way around.

  1. Be transparent

Show employees where we could be or what we could do within your company. Gen Y-ers spent their formative years watching their parents be laid off and companies downsize. We want to see what our future looks like with your company. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t looking to climb the ladder in a year, or even a decade, however, we need to see the path and the control we can have over it. Nothing deters a Gen Y-er like the unknown. Personally, I blame Google.

  1. They are unique

Gen Y is a unique generation. We have grown up with access to more information than any generation before us and it has been at our fingertips for most of our lives. These advances in technology have allowed us to open our minds and it is ultimately changing the world we live in today. All that being said; let us dress casually and comfortably. We don’t mind looking nice at work, business casual is fine, but allowing us to express our individuality keeps us, well, individual, and that is just who we are. We stand out – so let us.

  1. Finally – and to tie it altogether – embrace change

What makes this generation so great? We have been able to easily adapt and embrace change. We are constantly on the forefront of the most innovative technologies and are one of the most independent generations to hit the professional scene. If your company can learn to be flexible and open to new ideas, you will not only attract the top talent from Gen Y, but you will allow them to change the face of your business as you know it, for the better!

Even though Gen Y gets a lot of flak for being job-hoppers or wanting to move too quickly up the corporate ladder, they really just want to contribute and be successful, much like earlier generations. Embrace this generation of emerging professionals, they are the future of our workforce and have the capability to be great agents for growth and innovation for your company.