Guest blog by Gareth Way, HR and Training Director at Creditsafe
I’m often asked to review what companies should do to engage with new employees who are entering the world of work for the first time, and so I thought it was about time that I set out where I stand in the whole ‘generation discussion.’
A great deal of column space is given to the dissection of the differences between the multiple generations that coexist in the workplace, with a particular focus on the Millennial or Gen Y’er and now, the latest crew, the Gen Z. Seen as an entitled or privileged group, many commentators are writing about the need to overcome the fundamental flaws in, and the challenges associated with the millenial generation.
I don’t buy it.
That’s not to say that all of the information out there is without merit, but I think it’s dangerous to put people into neat ‘boxes’ and expect them all to behave in a certain way, or to share specific characteristics. Looking back throughout history, I think it’s pretty fair to say that all generations have something negative to say about the generations that follow. I see the recent obsession with millennials as a continuation of this.
The one fundamental truth that I see in the debate is that each generation grows up seeing the previous generation’s new technology as ‘standard.’ I only have to look at the ease with which my 6-year-old daughter provides ‘tech support’ for her grandparents when it comes to navigating the iPhone and iPad to see the evidence in ‘real time’!
When recruiting the current crop of future commercial talent straight out of education, this should be a key consideration. Of course, this won’t be ‘news’ to those working in HR and recruitment. To engage with these candidates (and all candidates for that matter), a strong online presence, covering all social networking bases is a pre-requisite for successful hiring. But the fact remains that most companies now have a recruitment strategy that ticks the ‘digital media’ box, so what can be done differently to stand out from a crowd of companies that are hiring?
Go ‘old school’
Having a presence at ‘employer introduction days’ can give a business the opportunity to meet candidates face to face, and to sell the benefits of joining their company. This can fill any gaps in the narrative projected through the digital media strategy and creates a more human approach to hiring.
Many universities and higher education establishments will be eager to invite ‘guest lecturers’ to present and engage with their students. Companies should grasp these opportunities with both hands. Guest lecturing presents an opportunity for companies to create a higher level of engagement with future and potential candidates.
Cast a broader net
Obviously, some roles require a specific level of academic achievement, which will necessitate a focus on hiring candidates from universities. However, I think it’s important for employers to really analyse the roles they are hiring for and consider whether qualifications are a real necessity for the position in question. There are some fantastic TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson that reinforce the fact that on occasion, academic performance is not necessarily reflective of an individual’s true skill set or ability.
Once they’re in…
Another key consideration is the expectations of the hiring company. All too often companies approach the hiring of graduates with the perception that candidates will be ‘plug and play’. As universities place an increasingly greater focus on employability skills, hiring companies must similarly place an equally significant focus on properly inducting, supporting and developing its new hires (whether they’re straight out of education, or more ‘seasoned’ workers).
It’s never been more crucial for promises made through employer branding to be followed up. A successful recruitment strategy must include an array of efforts to fully engage both new and existing staff.