Employing young people is a great way to develop a more dynamic and productive workforce and can also help tackle challenges that many businesses face. These include an ageing workforce, skills gaps and shortages, talent development, succession planning and customer insight.
Here are our Top 10 Tips on engaging young people to help ensure that your youth employment activity is beneficial to your organisation and your people.
Be clear on WHY you need and want Young People in your business, and how they contribute to achieving your business ambition. Is it about bringing in young talent, growing leaders, gaining insight into future customer needs, plugging a skills gap, or something else?
Think about what skills, attitudes and behaviours you need to achieve your business ambitions and how you could attract the people that can help you do that. You may need to adapt your recruitment style and/or the channels you use to get to the right people.
Younger people just leaving education may not have the level of skills and experience you ultimately need for these people to be most effective. Ensure you have a plan in place that supports both their development and meets the needs of the business; include learning opportunities and shadowing as relevant.
Managers and Leaders need to know how to get the best out of their people and to actively use their skills. Young People sometimes require a different style of management that reflects their need for immediate feedback or a faster pace. Support your managers to research and reflect on what young people want from work and from managers; and to subsequently develop their approach.
This may be a Young Person’s first experience of work or at least this workplace. Ensure they understand who you are, your expectations and what they expect of you. Help them integrate into the role, team and workplace so they can see how they contribute and develop into their role.
The new generation wants to know how they are doing, wants to be involved and wants to learn from others. Having a buddy, coach or mentor they can turn to can be really helpful in familiarising the young person with the business, building their confidence and encouraging them to ask questions.
Young People don’t stand still; there is an expectation of development and of progression. You may have a new potential leader, innovator or market developer – if you don’t develop them, someone else will!
Evaluate the success of the work you have done to bring in young people. Is this responding to your need, is it working for you? If so, celebrate that with your people so they feel valued. If not, think about what could be done differently.
It takes a lot of investment to recruit and develop a Young Person – ensure you make the most of that investment by identifying future needs and developing young talent to fulfil these needs. Such talent management will encourage the young person to stay and grow further with you.
Embrace the contribution that your Young People can make by listening to their views on how you could improve and develop your strategies including around your plans for employing Young People. Their experience, feedback and challenge could generate new ideas and impact on future direction.