Modern talent – how do you accommodate them? 6 steps to help you prepare.

Part 2

In part 1 of this blog I highlighted the challenges both employers and graduate hires are having with retention, and longer term commitment respectively.

There are some key environmental factors and management practices that employers can focus on to improve the environment they create for graduate hires (Gen – Y), who by 2025 will comprise of 75% of the workforce, hence the importance of getting it right sooner rather than later.

1. Instil a sense of purpose: Irrespective of the role a grad has been brought into fulfil, help them understand why what they are here to do is valuable and demonstrate the overall benefit it has to the organisation, the team, and if the link is there, to society. Finding this will be key to securing commitment to the organisation and job in hand.

2. Promote open dialogue: Engage in regular, authentic and informal conversations around development and begin to understand the motivations of your new hires. Having these sorts of conversations will develop a relationship built on trust. The ideal situation is that the employee and employer can plan their development path in the organisation together.

3. Coaching to enhance performance and skill development: An emphasis on day-to-day coaching from line managers and peers, stepping away from more hierarchical management styles. This will give graduates the opportunity to use their creativity when coming up with their own solutions to problems as opposed to control-and-command style.

4. Collaboration: Interaction and stimulation is central to the engagement of Gen Y employees, and their preferred working style. Create the architecture for collaborative ways of working, linking shared work objectives to project teams where employees can work together coming up with a better result.

5. Feedback: Traditionally feedback is reserved for full and half year performance reviews, providing a formalised approach to being offered developmental pointers to improve overall performance. The infrequency of this feedback can be blinding to gen y employees who like to collaborate, and receive recognition and feedback much more regularly. Engage by providing feedback informally at much more regular intervals.

6. Challenge: Being recruited on the premise of ‘real-responsibility from day 1’ conjures up images of managing big projects, with high degrees of accountability… whilst this isn’t always practical from a risk and competence perspective, provide work that will genuinely challenge graduates, dealing with ambiguity and demonstrating their mental agility.

Whilst this list isn’t exhaustive, these evolutions of existing management practices are in tune with the needs of Gen Y, and, if implemented correctly, could improve overall engagement and consequently the retention of graduate hires in organisations for longer.

Deliver on your brand promise

Getting this right will be absolutely essential to the development of talent pipelines in organisations, which becomes more important when one considers the retiring of baby boomers and the gaps this will leave across every company out there.

Furthermore, whilst Gen Z are currently undertaking their studies, they’ll be entering the workforce in the not too distant future, and all research indicates they have similar preferences to those of Gen Y.

Whether you consider Gen Y to be flaky, unorthodox and difficult or not, they are also our next CEOs and senior leaders.

It’s time to start building the architecture of a work environment that is fit for ‘Modern Talent’.