Many businesses are looking to attract recent college graduates but the ones that succeed at hiring and retaining the best talent provide a platform for professional and leadership development, even as they get the most from their youngest and newest employees.
Studies on Generation Y have shown that they will change jobs every 18 months. Newer studies are realizing that this is more of a “younger career” trend than a generational trend as we finish the last leg of Gen Y entering the work force. Nevertheless, if you ask anyone under 25 if the company they are currently with will be the company they will retire from, you will hear "no" more often than a dinner-time telemarketer. In your recruiting and interviewing process you need to talk about winning “big” with your company and winning “some”.
What is the 40-year path at your company for this 22 year old? If you can’t clearly state this as the owner, then you better be able to articulate your company’s vision and allow your employees to create their own paths. Here are some ways you help a candidate realize the long term opportunity with joining your firm as long as you can back it all up with a professional development path.
Are you looking to build more departments in your company? If so, what additional departments would there be and what are the skill sets those people would need?
Do you anticipate opening up any new locations? If so, where? What personnel will be necessary in those locations?
Are you building an executive leadership team? If this person were your partner, what would that partnership look like? Could this ever be a possibility for them?
These are all questions to consider, both in your interviewing process and also once you on-board a new college graduate. Do you have the vision and the playbook that you can share on the direction of your company and how quality individuals can help you build your empire?
Having language and sentiment around “Winning Some” is even more important with the recent college grad. Winning Some is simply stating the skill sets, experience, contacts and foundational career building blocks they will receive by dedicating two to three years with your company.
No matter how amazing your company is, the millennial you are interviewing and on-boarding is not going to be designing what their retirement party from your company looks like. What type of skill and experience platform does the role they are jumping into provide for them? The best thing you can do is share success stories of people who have been with you for a while and young professionals who are now overachieving in their career at another firm after working two or three years with your company. You may even want to connect the former employee to the candidate to have a discussion around how their experiences with you helped them in their career.
What professional or leadership development programs do you offer for your employees? If none, how can you create a program or outsource to another company? This would make your organization more attractive to join along with making your employees more productive.
Having a “Professionalism” mentor is an easy and cost effective step. Can you pair your new candidate with a more veteran employee to teach the rookie the basics in professionalism that their academic curriculum never taught them? Can you help each new candidate develop a professionalism development plan? Can you do a quarterly team building day and invite influential contacts you have to help coach and discuss their career with your new candidates?
As the graduate school return on investment gets lower and lower, your business needs to become a profitable platform for your youngest employees to learn and grow. Be intentional in your Win Big/ Win Some talent acquisition language and follow through in helping the future leaders of the business world.