How to attract and retain the top talent of Gen Yo.

How to attract and retain the top talent of Gen Yo.

Hipster Bod
Every organisation wants to recruit the very best person for the job, and with the average cost of replacing an employee checking in at 120/150% of their annual salary, once you’ve got them, you want to keep them there. However with a younger generation of workers who have a different idea about what it means to have the perfect job, how do you attract and retain the younger workers who could add real value to you company?

Our new sales executive, Adam, has just joined the Carbon360 team after leaving the recruitment industry. So who better to ask about what gen Y are looking for than the man who listened to what they wanted and found them the perfect job?

Adam told us he observed a clear difference between job hunters in their thirties and those younger recruits who had completed university degrees and were now looking for their first step onto the career ladder. Fairly predictably, he found Gen X job hunters were looking for 9 – 5 employment, and for salaries and benefits like pensions and health insurance. They were looking for complete job security. However, maybe more surprisingly given the cost of university education, he found that Gen Y were looking for much more than just a good salary.

So, Adam, what is it that motivates Gen Y recruits to work hard for their company?

‘Younger job hunters are always keen to hear about the company culture. I think they have different expectations than older workers as they have grown up in a social culture that is much less formal, and that is something they expect to be reflected in the workplace. Rather than a traditionally hierarchical structure, younger applicants with the strongest skill sets are keen to work somewhere where there is good communication between all the staff in the organisation, no matter their position’.

Top performers are often by nature very ambitious. That means their heads can easily be turned by a better offer. However, for Gen Y, a ‘better offer’ does not necessarily come in the form of salary. Adam explained that many of the applicants he spoke to had come to him to look for a role that was more challenging, and that offered an opportunity for an interesting and varied set of goals and targets to work towards.

‘Younger workers have grown up in a culture where everything they do is marked by small and instant targets, whether that is getting ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘re-tweets’ on twitter, or even unlocking achievements on computer games. There is no financial reward for these things; the rewards are social, or simply the satisfaction of completing a challenge. Although these things are small and seemingly unimportant, they are part of a culture that has carried over into business. The brightest younger workers aren’t looking for micromanagement; they are very keen to look for companies with a reputation of trust. They are looking for organisations that give staff the freedom to work in a way that suits them and encourages them to do their best. They want to be able to communicate with their managers and to feel they are supported - that is what makes them loyal to a company’.

He also believes that the experiences of potential top performers from this generation lead them to expect different things from employment than the generation before them.

‘The applicants I encountered with the strongest CV’s and skill sets had a good range of ‘life skills’, for example they had been to university, travelled and worked in placements for various organisations – but the thing that was apparent from all of them is that they want to be treated as individuals, and want the company they work for to be a place where the staff get to know each other as individuals. I think for Gen Y workers a job is not simply a place to earn money, it is a big part of their lifestyle overall, and recognising that is what earns loyalty from younger top performers’.

So what is it that puts an organisation on the radar of potential young talent? According to Adam, just as they expect the workplace to be when they get there, the initial impression must be a culture of social, and that begins online.

‘The brightest Gen Y workers are looking for a quirky culture and a social environment. In my experience their first port of call as evidence of this is invariably the company’s online presence and brand personality. Younger workers tend to be put off if a company isn’t present on social media sites, or if they have little or no online presence. They also look for a brand personality that feels genuine and welcoming – this is the same at the interview stage. Although you are assessing the candidate, they are also assessing you. If the company feels unfriendly, or like there is no strong sense of employee cohesion, they will tend to look elsewhere, and be back at their recruitment agency the next day. When someone is really talented they are aware that they have options, so companies need to communicate and make potential employees feel welcome and valued. This is also true throughout their time with you, it’s what attracts them, and also what makes them stay put’.

We would love to hear what your company is doing to attract and retain younger workers - do feel free to let us know @Carbon_360 or get in touch!

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