5 Ways to Attract and Retain Young Talent

Traditional employee incentives like year-end bonuses and anniversary watches won’t cut in the age of Google napping pods and four-day work weeks. When searching for a job, the nation’s young talent gravitates more toward companies that offer career potential, a work-life balance and a culture fit over compensation and market leadership, according to a survey conducted by Collegefeed. Here are five strategies to implement into your business plan that will help win over a few ideal-fit candidates.

1. Sell Your Vision

The 21st century marketing team isn’t simply focusing on attracting customers; they are working to engage potential talent and support company culture. A business’s branding efforts should include a clear blueprint that focuses on communicating career growth potential and work-life balance options for potential employees.

By authentically sharing core values, company culture and job incentives on social media and in other marketing efforts, you can target candidates based on specific talents and interests. This allows them to visualize what it will be like working at a transparent and flexible company like yours.

2. Create a Buzzworthy Culture

To pique interest, paint an interesting picture of your brand and highlight possible career growth potential to promising new hires and current employees. Once you acquire the talent, be conscious of keeping them engaged. While you probably can’t offer free electric car rental like Google, you could offer flexible work schedules. Add other perks like a dogs-welcome policy and/or tickets to sporting events to build your culture, spread positive word of mouth and attract young talent.

3. Maintain a Positive Social Standing

Utilize social networks to communicate your culture and hiring intentions. Use LinkedIn as a professional networking tool, Facebook and YouTube for branding and Twitter to start and maintain conversations.

Don’t neglect jobs and recruiting marketplaces like Glassdoor. Half of all visitors of Glassdoor are millennials, and half of all job seekers consult Glassdoor, according to a survey by HR software recommendation service Software Advice. Keep your employees happy and your Glassdoor status will remain positive.

4. Offer Flex Schedules

Companies that offer flexible schedules and support a sustainable work-life balance have a better chance at gaining and retaining young talent. Give employees options as to where and when they work, as long as they get the job done. This will allow college students the freedom to go to class, study and work at the same time. Some big companies are taking the ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) approach to employee incentives. Offer 100 percent autonomy and expect 100 percent accountability.

5. Reward Hard Work

LinkedIn reports that 42 percent of recent job switchers would have stayed with their company if their employer had cared more about them, offered better incentives and recognized them for their accomplishments.

Low-cost, high-impact rewards show employees that you’re alert to their accomplishments and you realize their value. Examples include:

  • Paid-time-off (PTO) day
  • Public recognition in front of the entire company
  • Front-row parking
  • Tickets to an event
  • Cold hard cash
  • Small promotion (add "Senior" to their title – Senior Editor)

When wooing potential young talent, it’s not all about the money. Good talent knows how essential a positive work environment is, and they will go to great lengths to find one. Small businesses have the upper hand over large companies because people flock to small organizations that trust their employees, reward them and allow them to flourish.

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