How to attract and retain Gen Y employees

Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
13 Sep 2014

13 Sep 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Develop generation Y through training

In terms of work styles, professional expectations and career concerns, Gen Y show some distinct preferences and exhibit different skill sets, and it’s important companies make an effort to understand young joiners starting their careers so that they can absorb their necessary and valuable abilities for today’s working environment. So how can employers make the workplace Gen Y-friendly?

Training is important to Gen Y, so joining a company where they can develop their skills is one of the key things they will be looking for in a position. Ensure you make it clear that there are training perks available like in-house programs, tuition reimbursement, and paid time-off to attend professional development events. During recruiting events and job interviews, provide concrete examples of employees who have taken advantage of opportunities like these, so perspective hires know that capitalising on such offerings is encouraged. Mentoring programs are also a great way to demonstrate your organisation’s consideration for the personal development of Gen Y candidates.

Challenge Gen Y & embrace social technology

It's vital that generation Y applicants are stretched and Challenged. This will allow them to develop multiple competencies, such as team leadership, business management and client/customer service skills, as well as other specific job-related abilities. Another good way of doing this is by making their job more diverse. Gen Y workers have grown up with a high level of stimulation, television, the internet and so on, and will become rapidly disengaged if they are not tested.

Getting word out about your organisation is an important way to reach and involve Gen Y candidates more effectively. They are users of both traditional media, as well as new mediums such as the internet and social networking and, due to the latter, they're quick to share their knowledge and opinions with one another. This became clear from  a Robert Half survey around social media in May, which revealed almost a quarter (20 per cent) of young people were the most open to using social networking sites to find a job, with a further 15 per cent having found a job via a social networking site.

Consider establishing a business presence on prominent social networking sites and providing information about working for your company via blog, video or podcast, in addition to more traditional channels.

Keep up with the pace of Gen Y

Additionally, remember that this is a group that is attracted to corporate images and reputation. Even if your organisation isn’t well known, you can provide information that speaks to your reputation and what you stand for, including industry awards and accolades. Your website and recruitment advertising should also communicate your firm’s commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability, providing competitive salaries, Benefits, and career growth on offer.

Gen Y don’t stand still, so when it comes to keeping the motivated and inspired, it’s important your firm moves as fast as they do. Consider whether there are ways you could make the job more interesting, if their manager is available on a consistent basis to provide them with guidance, or if they are required to perform competitive tasks. If you are experiencing a drain of Gen Y employees who have been with your company a year or more, it may be time to re-evaluate these aspects of the job.

Recognise the value that Generation Y can bring

Without question, the workplace is changing. Much like the generation before them, Gen Y employees bring specific Benefits, values and ideals to an organisation and it’s important to be proactive in taking steps to understand the way these workers work. This will ensure you are well positioned to attract these important candidates and their skill sets to tackle new business Challenges and help your firm to future growth.