A lot of young people are eager to join the workforce, but how can you get the best ones to work for you? Find out with these tips.
Any company in any industry can entice and attract new talent if they are willing to make themselves appealing to the younger generation. But how do you get these young, talented individuals to choose you over other similar positions at other companies? I like to think of the care that goes into planting and maintaining a garden: It does take preparation, time and effort to take care of your garden, but those plants will yield great-tasting produce year after year. Instead of taking that time to prepare, you can just go to the grocery store and buy frozen vegetables that taste all right, but you’ll end up in that same grocery store aisle a week later, looking for another bag.
The key in this example is that taking the time to build a garden from the ground up (finding and retaining young talent) will be far better for you than if you just rely on getting a new bag of pre-grown, frozen vegetables that don’t taste as good. At CleanTelligent, much of our workforce falls into the “young talent” age category, and we’ve tried a few specific things that I think can be generalized to the rest of the janitorial industry — or any other industry, for that matter.
On some level, be willing to roll out the red carpet: Before anything else, the first thing that a company should do in trying to attract young talent to its workforce is to be fully prepared in your “sales pitch” to prospective employees. Sometimes we can fall into the habit of assuming that people will want to work for us just because we offer them a job and that “Employee A is lucky to be here.”
While this is true in many cases, I want to stress the importance of the following statement: Young employees also think, at least to some extent, that you would be lucky to have them. Understanding this mindset — while not accurate in every situation, I must say — will go a long way in attracting young talent that would want to choose you over other good companies. This brings me to my next point. . .
What are your competitive advantages? Seeking and finding the right talent to fit your vision for your company should be approached the same way as when you’re looking for potential clients that will help your business grow. Find your competitive advantages, when it comes to employment, and promote them like crazy. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- Are you a small business that doesn’t have endless streams of revenue? That’s fine: Your business is small enough to give each employee the opportunity to build personal relationships with management and to be closely involved with the direction of your company.
- Is the position you’re looking to fill operate on an unusual schedule? That’s fine: Your employees can fulfill their work responsibilities without having to sacrifice an entire day that could be spent with their families.
- Are you a large, national business that has a sizable hierarchy that requires a great deal of focus and flexibility from each employee? That’s fine: Your employees are not only given the training they need to succeed at their job, but there are also opportunities for increased compensation and recognition based on their performance.
Don’t just look for young talent to fill a position What I mean by this is if you’re just looking to find a warm body that can meet the basic requirements of that position, young and talented prospective employees will see right through it and decide to go elsewhere.
There is (and should be) a set of specific responsibilities that need to be done by whoever fills your open position, but don’t let that be the end of it. Give your employees opportunities to grow — and make it known that that’s the intent — and they’ll begin to see their position with your company as part of a career, not just a job that will be dropped the instant “something better” opens up.
The overall theme here is that the secret to attracting young talent isn’t very different from the secrets of retaining your best employees: Treat your employees well, and they’ll treat you well in return. If you don’t treat each employee like an investment that will pay off in the short- and long-term (think of the care and effort it can take to maintain a good garden), then you may find yourself constantly having to go to that aisle in the grocery store to fill the same job openings over and over again.