Today’s talent market is more competitive than ever. With sustained, low unemployment, it’s becoming more challenging for employers draw in experienced professionals. Drawing in fresh-faced talent just as they graduate and enter the workforce has become more and more important to build out a robust talent pipeline. Employers can opt to train talent in-house by offering great entry-level jobs and providing extensive training. One benefit of this approach is that it allows companies to tailor their workforce to their exact needs. Providing skills training to new grads allows your organization access to exactly the talent you need, while also providing young workers with the skills they need to thrive in their careers, long-term.
Today’s youngest named generation, Generation Z, will make up the next generation of new grads. They’re currently 13 to 23 years old, so they’re just beginning to graduate from post-secondary programs and enter the workforce full-time. The generation that preceded them (Millennials) are now more established in their careers and beginning to move toward more senior and leadership roles. So what can you do, as an employer to attract these new graduates?
1. adopt a mobile-friendly policy
Gen Z has grown up with smartphones within arm’s reach. They have the highest adoption rate of mobile technology of any generation (a truly astounding 98% of them own a smartphone) and they spend a lot of time on them (over 4 hours per day). So it follows that they make access to the latest mobile technology at work a priority. To attract smart, young talent, you better have a mobile policy in place. Whether you choose to provide smartphones to your workers or have a BYOP (bring your own phone) policy is up to you, but you better have one or the other. Today’s grads expect flexible work solutions that translate from desktops to mobile devices, as needed. They expect, not want, WiFi to be available when they’re at work. To make it easy as possible for young workers to work from their phone, ensure your workplace has mobile-friendly apps and enterprise software that can be used on a smartphone.
2. be socially conscious
Millennials and Gen Z are socially conscious and tend to gravitate to companies that share their values. They actively seek out companies with strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies that align with their personal values. Some social issues that are appealing to young workers include environmental protection, gender balance, diversity and inclusion, and opportunities to volunteer in the local community. Young people want to give back and if they see your company holds similar values to their own, they’re more likely to consider your organization a welcoming place they want to be a part of. How do you make it clear what issues your company cares about? Highlight your social responsibility on your website and social media. Has your company recently organized a company-wide volunteering-day at a food bank? Why not post some photos of your team hard at work? Show the world that you care and what issues your team dedicates time and effort to.
3. have a modern workspace
Like it or not, your workspace matters. If your workplace seems dull, dated or full of drab, windowless grey a la Office Space, you’re going to have more trouble recruiting younger workers. Young workers place a premium on the atmosphere they’re working in. Glass and chrome spaces with lots of light and colourful accents seem to be the hottest trend at the moment. Think the kind of startup vibe you see throughout Silicon Valley. Young people are highly visual (they grew up on social media, after all!) so they’re drawn to workspaces that match their vision of where they want to work. Beyond just your physical workspace, your approach to other elements that impact your work atmosphere, such as your dress code policy can also go a long way in appealing to new grads. Young people are more likely than older generations to prioritize a casual working environment where they can dress as they please and express themselves through their clothes.
4. get on social media
Today’s youngest generations practically live online. They turn to social media at significant points in their lives, including when they’re looking for work. They’ll look to social media to indicate what your workplace looks like, get an idea of your values, and possibly even seek out accounts from employees of what it’s like to work for your company. Make sure you have a presence on channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, at the very least. You should be posting on each channel frequently and ensure you provide a glimpse into your company’s culture and values. Gen Z has no problem writing off employers that seem bland or stuffy on social media. So don’t be afraid to be engaging and share what makes your company tick. Share colourful photos and emphasize social elements of your culture such as volunteering, social events or team get-togethers. Those are the kinds of things that will make new grads take notice and consider your company a top-choice when deciding where they want to work.
5. provide a stellar candidate experience
Today’s unemployment rates are hovering around a 10-year low. That means that young workers have more choice when it comes to finding their first job. That stands in stark contrast to the preceding Millennial generation - Millennials started to come of age and enter the workforce just as the 2008 recession hit. As a result, many Millennials took whatever work they could find. Gen Z doesn’t have that problem. As a result, they’re holding employers to a higher standard. If you’re unable to offer a standout candidate experience, Gen Z will be more than happy to move on to greener pastures. Attracting high-calibre new grads means rolling out the metaphorical red carpet and showcasing what makes you a great employer. That requires a candidate pipeline and experience that’s smooth, responsive and appealing. Treating potential employees with respect and valuing their time during the application and interview process is a great way to prove you’d be an excellent employer if they decide to accept a job offer from you.
Attracting new grads to your organization requires investing time and effort into improving your employer brand and hiring practices, but it’s worth it. Creating a strong pipeline of talent that’s fresh out of school will set your company up for success down the line. If you nurture their talent, promising new grads grow into dedicated, innovative employees.