It’s a truism that people are the key differentiator for any business, and companies attracted to the brightest young talent can gain a real competitive advantage. That’s especially the case in a young country like South Africa where people aged below 35 comprise around 36% of the population. To serve customers in this market effectively, a company should have at least some youth in its team.
Many small businesses shy away from employing the young, believing that their inexperience counts against them and worrying about training costs. But hiring top young talent can give a company an infusion of new ideas and fresh perspectives. The right young hire could also make up for their lack of inexperience through their energy and motivation.
Plus, there’s the opportunity to shape their skills and behaviour to fit your company culture. The right hire could grow with your company and eventually become your star sales rep or consultant. But competition for the best young talent, especially graduates with degrees in commerce or the sciences can be fierce. Here’s some ideas for attracting and retaining top young talent.
- Offer flexible working arrangements.
- Provide modern technology.
- Engage and recruit using the right platforms.
- Don’t fall for the clichés of generational theory.
- Create intern programmes.
Let’s go through each of these tips in turn and bear in mind, some of these tips apply to older talent, too!
1. Offer flexible working arrangements
We live in a time of rising traffic and frequent load-shedding, so the idea of working from home or following flexible working hours is becoming more and more attractive. And the technology to work from home or another remote location is accessible and affordable. If the job isn’t tied to a person’s presence in a physical location, consider offering them flexible working arrangements.
For example, you allow them to work from home some days of the week or to choose their working hours so that they can beat the traffic. And if you find someone who you really like who would prefer a freelance or part-time gig to a full-time job, consider engaging them on those terms if they can get the job done.
Flexible working arrangements may challenge your management skills and you will need to vet candidates carefully to make sure they are self-directed enough to work outside constant office supervision. You should also clearly outline their responsibilities and performance indicators in their employment contracts.
2. Provide modern technology
Technology has a key role to play in the work environment, especially for Generations Y and Z, who have been exposed to the Internet and mobile devices most of their lives. People – and especially young people – come to work expecting access to tools that make their life easy. They want work tools that remind them of WhatsApp, TikTok, YouTube, Uber and other apps they use every day.
A 2016 study by Dell and Intel found that 42% of employees would leave their current position because of substandard technology, while 82% said technology plays a part in where they decide to work. Providing reliable and intuitive technology is thus not only key to productivity, but to employee acquisition, engagement and retention.
With Office 365 from GoDaddy, you can give your team access to a slick, modern set of productivity tools for a low monthly subscription. They’ll love how easy Office mobile apps make it for them to collaborate and to access, edit, share and store files from their mobile phones.
3. Engage and recruit using the right platforms
When you’re trying to recruit top young talent, you should think about it in the same way as you would a customer acquisition drive. Ask yourself which sort of person you are looking for, think about which online channels they will use, and what sort of message will resonate with them. You can then focus your job ads in the right online publications and social media channels.
The job ad is an important part of your pitch to the ideal candidate. Write it to showcase why your company is the right place for them to work, highlighting benefits, culture, opportunities for advancement and the content of the work you will offer.
Many jobseekers and customers will get their first impression of your company from your website. If you don’t have a website, consider setting one up. And if you have an old website, consider freshening up its look and replacing it with a modern site that is optimised for mobile devices. A website is a great place to post job openings – and you can use your blog to talk about your company and its workplace to engage job candidates. It’s a snap to set up a website with the GoDaddy Website builder.
4. Recognise their individual strengths and aspirations
There are far too many articles out there explaining the generational theory – that is, the idea that Generation Z needs constant feedback, Millennials are entitled and love avocados, and Baby Boomers don’t understand technology. Reject these clichés because they’re meaningless in a diverse country with people from so many different backgrounds.
For example, some 25-year-olds could be planning to buy their first house, some could be supporting an extended family on their salary, while others want training or flexibility to travel. Focus on a personalised approach that appeals to the fears, aspirations, strengths and abilities of these individual candidates. This will help you to provide them with career paths and work experiences that meet their needs.
5. Create intern programmes
An intern programme is a great way to engage with young talent. E.g. you can offer school leavers or university students the opportunity to work with you for three months to develop skills and experience. If you see a strong candidate, you can consider offering a permanent job. Some tips for creating a successful intern programme:
- Think about where you will find candidates. For example, could you partner with a school or university?
- Develop a clear job description and contract to set expectations on both sides.
- Pay a decent stipend – it’s the morally right thing to do and sets a tone for a positive relationship with interns.
- Make some time to mentor the intern.
- Stay in touch even if you can’t afford to hire them permanently at this time.
Getting the best talent
A talented and passionate team can help you to make a big difference in the world. A focused recruitment strategy, the right benefits and investing in their professional development are some ways to attract quality young talent. And it’s one of the best investments you can make in the future of your business.