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The 22 essential steps
for successfully
recruiting
and
retaining
young employees
Stage 1 – Attraction
Stage 2 – Recruitmen...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 2 | P a g e
Table of Co...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 3 | P a g e
Introductio...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 4 | P a g e
Your soluti...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 5 | P a g e
Stage 1: At...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 6 | P a g e
BMW Mini11
...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 7 | P a g e
When offeri...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 8 | P a g e
4. Referral...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 9 | P a g e
Stage 2: Re...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 10 | P a g e
8. Job boa...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 11 | P a g e
FDM Group3...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 12 | P a g e
Stage 3: D...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 13 | P a g e
Four of th...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 14 | P a g e
Business b...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 15 | P a g e
SoftSkills...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 16 | P a g e
Stage 4: R...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 17 | P a g e
19. A cult...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 18 | P a g e
21. Work h...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 19 | P a g e
About Akon...
22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 20 | P a g e
References...
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  1. 1. The 22 essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees Stage 1 – Attraction Stage 2 – Recruitment Stage 3 – Development Stage 4 – Retention
  2. 2. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 2 | P a g e Table of Contents Stage 1: Attraction.......................................................................................................................................5 1. Company website and social media....................................................................................................5 2. Universities, colleges and schools......................................................................................................5 3. Work experience, summer placement and sandwich year internship.............................................6 4. Referrals – Ambassadors and advocates...........................................................................................8 5. Professional association .....................................................................................................................8 Stage 2: Recruitment ..................................................................................................................................9 6. Dedicated entry-level jobs landing pages..........................................................................................9 7. Job description and application advice..............................................................................................9 8. Job boards........................................................................................................................................ 10 9. Career fairs ....................................................................................................................................... 10 10. Curriculum vitae (CV)...................................................................................................................... 10 11. Pre-interview testing and screening .............................................................................................. 10 12. Interviews........................................................................................................................................ 11 13. Post interview................................................................................................................................. 11 Stage 3: Development ............................................................................................................................. 12 14. Induction......................................................................................................................................... 12 15. Skills development.......................................................................................................................... 12 16. Graduate-style programme............................................................................................................ 14 Stage 4: Retention ................................................................................................................................... 16 17. Create an engagement strategy .................................................................................................... 16 18. Continuous feedback and assessment.......................................................................................... 16 19. A culture of sharing knowledge..................................................................................................... 17 20. Intergenerational communications gap ....................................................................................... 17 21. Work hard and play hard ................................................................................................................ 17 22. Remember ...................................................................................................................................... 18 About Akonia and GradStart .................................................................................................................... 19 References ................................................................................................................................................ 20
  3. 3. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 3 | P a g e Introduction Would you like to attract, recruit, develop and retain more young people for your company? Then this practical guide is absolutely for you. The purpose is to share the best practices learned from large companies and medium-sized businesses who between them employ thousands of apprentices and graduates. The guide is divided into four stages. It contains 22 best practices that, when acted upon as part of the essential steps for attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining young employees, will make the difference and result in you successfully recruiting and retaining top calibre young people for your company. You’ll be surprised by how many, or concerned by how few, of the 22 best practices your company currently undertake. Research says 1 in 4 graduates is likely to leave their first employer within 12 months (CEB1 ). SMEs (~50%) lag behind large employers (86%) when it comes to employing at least one young person, despite providing 3 out of 5 private sector jobs (CIPD2 ). 6 out of 10 (63%) employers are concerned about low levels of skills being the biggest threat to the UK’s competitiveness as a place to employ people (CBI3 ). In the United Kingdom 5 out of 6 (83%) employees are not engaged or actively disengaged. This is only slightly better than the worldwide average (Gallup4 ). That means Companies whose employees have misaligned expectations and mismatched skills, will result in lower engagement and suffer:  poorer customer opinion, which will result in lost business because of potential customers going to your competitors.  reduced profitability, which will limit your ability to invest for the future of your business.  decreased productivity, which will slow the growth of your company.  higher employee churn, which will increase recruitment and staff development costs.  more employee days off, which will increase the workload of colleagues and create additional organisational challenges for management. This is tragic but totally avoidable, as you will see.
  4. 4. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 4 | P a g e Your solution We have conducted our own research at medium-sized businesses and large companies, and spent many hours interviewing them to understand their best practices. The good news is that, by putting these sensible practices to work in your company, you will dramatically improve employee engagement and job satisfaction, while significantly reducing the risks to the future growth of your business. It won’t surprise you that, as an employee development company, we put a lot of emphasis on the development and retention stages because these are ongoing and span the entire period that an employee is working for you. You don’t have to be a large company with lots of resources and deep pockets to adopt these best practices. In fact you’ll be pleased to learn how straightforward it is to compete for top calibre young people. We are delighted to be able to share this with you. How this guide is structured The complete guide has been divided into 4 stages5 covering: Stage 1 – Attraction. The first stage is creating and executing a coherent attraction strategy which feeds into the recruitment process. Stage 2 – Recruitment. Taking the interest generated from the attraction stage and channelling it into your recruitment pipeline to identify top calibre young people. Stages 1 and 2 are conducted consecutively. Stage 3 – Development. The first stage of the retention process starts with the induction of your new employees into the company, and then continues with the development of their skills and capabilities for the duration that they remain with you. Stage 4 – Retention. The final stage of the entire strategy involves an ongoing process of motivating employees to maintain high levels of engagement and productivity; and acknowledging the value of the contribution they make to the growth and success of your business. Stages 3 and 4 are conducted concurrently.
  5. 5. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 5 | P a g e Stage 1: Attraction The first step of the recruitment journey is to create an Attraction strategy. Attraction is the process of making prospective entry-level recruits aware of your company – the why you do what you do (the passion), and the variety of job roles involved. All the companies we interviewed have an attraction strategy however, from our discussions with many HR personnel, it is surprising how many companies do not have an attraction strategy in place and simply start with placing recruitment advertisements. Give yourself an advantage. Take time to define what your purpose is for expanding your workforce; the entry-level roles you want to fill; and the outcome you are looking for once the recruitment process is completed. Think how you will go about creating awareness of your company using relevant channels that young people are ‘listening’ to and watching. Next are some suggestions. 1. Company website and social media Creating attraction using Business and Social Media platforms is essential today, particularly for making young people aware of your company and what you do. Your website is often the first point-of-contact. Ensure your website is dynamic and interesting, and reflects the personality of your company. It must espouse your company values, as you will be looking for candidates that will easily fit-in to your company culture, and whose behaviour reinforces your values. For the past couple of years LinkedIn has been actively signing-up students and graduates with a dedicated Universities6 section that every HE institution subscribes to. Many graduate jobs are now advertised on LinkedIn. Video is a very popular medium to reach young people so consider uploading a professionally produced video on YouTube showcasing your company that is relevant to them (i.e. apply the “So what. What’s in it for me?” test). BMW Mini use all the major business (website, LinkedIn7 ) and social media (Twitter8 , Facebook9 and YouTube10 ) channels to reach their audience and showcase their company and products. Search for “BMW Mini” on any of those touchpoints and you will discover a consistent look, feel and message. 2. Universities, colleges and schools From our numerous discussions with universities and further education colleges, they are united in their desire to have more SMEs visit their campuses and engage with their undergraduates and students. There are opportunities to speak at career fairs and departmental events. Talk to the students about how your business operates and the various roles necessary to support it.
  6. 6. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 6 | P a g e BMW Mini11 also conducts an event at the University of Bath and takes a senior director from Rolls Royce together with a Rolls Royce and BMW i8 electric supercar to showcase the company. The purpose is to create some excitement with the students as they speak to them about leading-edge technologies. The outcome BMW Mini is looking for is the students saying to themselves “I could be working on the development of these vehicles.” Universities and colleges would also like you to come and talk about broader business topics such as entrepreneurship and innovation, and the importance of employability skills such as team-working and problem-solving. It is also an opportunity to highlight the benefits for young people working in smaller organisations with a flatter hierarchy – such as learning and developing skills quicker, and receiving greater responsibility earlier. Give guidance on what attributes, skills and qualities you look for in young employees. Take time to prepare a list of institutions you want to target, and the departments within them that you feel will be the best fit for your company. Arrange a visit to their careers service (contact details can be found on their websites) and ask then what help they are looking for, and then discuss how you can help to fulfil their need. Innovation and Technology Management students from the University of Bath were invited to the BMW Mini Plant in Oxford recently where they had the opportunity to learn about new product development and management at BMW12 . Alternatively, contact your local Chamber of Commerce who are likely to support an academic engagement programme, or organisations such as:  Business in the Community13  Young Enterprise14 3. Work experience, summer placement and sandwich year internship Internships make a huge difference to the prospects of young people entering the job market. They are also a great way to identify your future talent. Every company we interviewed offered a combination of work experience, summer placements and sandwich year programmes. They all talked about how their investment in young people paid real dividends from quickly identifying potential employees, to the contribution they made on projects, and the savings in recruitment fees. Waterstons15 prefers to take on paid interns after their second year and give them one year’s experience in the business before they complete their final year. This allows the company to identify and develop talented young individuals to whom they can then offer permanent employment once they graduate. Taking them on early enables Waterstons to attract and recruit the best, avoiding the need to compete for graduates at the end of their degree.
  7. 7. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 7 | P a g e When offering an internship you are aiming to find the brightest and best future graduates for your company. Every company we interviewed offered permanent positions to the majority of the interns. Put time and effort into planning the internship, whether it is a 3-month summer or year-long programme. Give the intern a worthwhile project to work on, and allocate them a mentor who will guide them during their time with you. Have them present project updates at scheduled intervals. Conduct an ‘exit’ interview at the end of their internship to learn what improvements can be made for next years’ interns. Zurich Insurance16 offer a 12-week paid summer placement (internship) programme17 . The purpose is to give experience and employability skills to undergraduates; feed into the graduate programme; and create advocates for the company when back at university. About 9 weeks into the programme the interns conduct a day-long seminar on the theme of broader business awareness. It is organised by the interns for the interns. Other business representatives are invited. Each presentation is approximately 20 minutes duration plus 10 minutes of Q&A, and addresses what part of the business they are working in; what it does; what contribution it makes to the company and the industry; what their role is; what they have learned. The interns are expected to use their initiative preparing for the presentations, and their managers want to see what support the interns’ access, including advice from colleagues, and a library of webinars on various soft skill topics from time management to giving and receiving feedback. One way used to find interns is sponsoring an award, competition or prize at a selected institution on the understanding that you get to meet, mentor and know the young people working towards it. You might consider posing an industry or business problem, and challenging them to come up with an innovative solution. Or, offer a prize for academic excellence. At Swindon University Technical College18 (UTC) as part of their studies a group of engineering students were asked by Network Rail to find ways of reducing level crossing fatalities at crossings without barriers. Students proposed a phone app using mapping software and GPS that would alert drivers to trains coming as they approached the crossing.
  8. 8. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 8 | P a g e 4. Referrals – Ambassadors and advocates Encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors for your company is a no-cost or low-cost way of attracting new recruits by way of referral, and considerably cheaper than paying recruitment agency or job-board fees. An employee can be a company ambassador by virtue of speaking at an event for students; guest lecturing at an institution; or participating as a mentor in a sponsored programme. Your employees may have children at university or college who could mention to their friends that your company is hiring. Remember to give away branded items including pens, stress balls and USB keys during any lecture, perhaps as rewards for asking or answering questions. Leave company brochures for them to take away. Promote your company. Additionally, strive to make every student who works on one of the above schemes an advocate for your company. You want them to talk about the great experience they had and how much they gained from it. Invite your interns to speak at an event you are participating in. 5. Professional association Industry sectors that have professional bodies associated to them generally have initiatives to create awareness about their industry at secondary and tertiary education level, and many offer free student membership to attract young people to join. Approach your professional association and volunteer your company’s services for their educational initiative. It’s a great way to give something back to your industry while creating a sustainable future. The fact that there are such a variety of roles in the insurance industry can be seen as a “well-kept secret” and therefore Zurich collaborates with the Chartered Insurance Institute19 . Together they engage with universities and colleges to help potential applicants learn about the range and diversity of roles available across the insurance industry. One of the benefits of involving your employees in the attraction process, is that it generates a great sense of purpose and tremendous pride for those involved. You could think of it as contributing to your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
  9. 9. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 9 | P a g e Stage 2: Recruitment The next step in the recruitment process is to ensure you use the appropriate channels (examples as above) for promoting the young people / graduate jobs you have to offer. 6. Dedicated entry-level jobs landing pages Create dedicated landing pages on your website specifically for those entry-level jobs. This sends a loud and clear message that you welcome and value the contribution that young people will make to your business. And, don’t be afraid to ‘sell’ your company to them. Since 2010 Zurich has appeared on The Sunday Times20 “25 Best Big Company To Work For” every year, and has risen up the list year-on-year21 . That’s worth shouting about! There are some really good examples of how to create stimulating pages. Include lots of information on how to apply to your company and the stages they will go through to receive a job offer. Take a look at the examples suggested below for:  Bloomberg22  Grant Thornton23  Barclays Bank24 7. Job description and application advice Think carefully about how to describe the job role you are recruiting for as these are entry-level positions for young people with no work experience. Whether or not you are recruiting for a specific position, put an emphasis on the qualities, attributes and values you are looking for the candidates to demonstrate. For example, you may state in the job description “you will have undertaken some extracurricular leadership responsibility while at university.” Don’t state “you will have at least 2 years project management experience” as this is only applicable to more experienced candidates. In situations where you are looking for specific skills such as computer programming languages or accountancy qualifications then you must include these, and then ensure that you ask for evidence to validate them. In cases where you are looking for them to speak a foreign language fluently, arrange for them to have a conversation with a native speaker. Provide information on the application and interview process to help them prepare. Your job will be made easier when the candidates are well prepared, and quickly eliminate those who aren’t.
  10. 10. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 10 | P a g e 8. Job boards Advertise on the job board of the universities and/or colleges you are targeting. They are desperate for adverts and eager to help their students find jobs, and therefore offer highly competitive advertising rates25 , and in some cases free-of-charge26 postings. There are also a number of dedicated graduate job websites. Here are a couple:  Milkround27 – the UK’s most widely used student and graduate job website.  Prospects28 – is the commercial arm of HECSU (Higher Education Careers Services Unit), a registered charity owned by Universities UK and GuildHE.  LinkedIn29 – promote your jobs to students on the LinkedIn student jobs portal. 9. Career fairs Many universities welcome SMEs attending career fairs, alongside larger employers. However, during our research, a number of employers indicated that they use this as a ‘last resort’ as the perception is that the ‘pick of the crop’ graduates will have been snapped-up beforehand, leaving only those students who haven’t been active in the job search process attending. If you do attend career fairs, then it is important to make your stand interesting so that it stands out and attracts students to stop by. Consider doing something a bit quirky such as hiring a magician. Give away lots of branded items including pens, stress balls, USB keys and company brochures. You may even want to consider a prize draw for everyone who leaves their CV, although this could lead to too many unwanted CVs. 10. Curriculum vitae (CV) Firstly you need to decide on the filtering criteria you will apply to the CVs received in order to quickly identify those for further consideration, while the rest will be rejected. Be prepared to overlook spelling mistakes and grammatical errors – they don’t have the experience to produce a professional looking CV. You will create a great impression with those young people you reject, if you can make time to inform them why they were unsuccessful. It is of huge benefit to them, and will make a difference to their next application. Young people are not ready for the world of work! They do not have much, if any, commercial work experience that will be relevant for you, so you have to look for what character traits and achievements they describe in their CV. For instance, voluntary work, team activities, club/society leadership roles. Point them to the Barclays LifeSkills30 website for excellent advice on smartening up their CV and interviewing skills. 11. Pre-interview testing and screening Just like large companies you can opt to conduct pre-interview tests to screen out unsuitable candidates. There are a number of websites offering affordable access to a variety of appropriate graduate-level tests that you can insist your candidates’ take, particularly to assess literacy and numeracy skills.
  11. 11. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 11 | P a g e FDM Group31 recruits hundreds of graduates each year. As part of the screening process, applicants undertake online verbal reasoning and numeracy tests. Successful candidates then record a video32 interview from home, answering a set of pre- determined questions. They are expected to wear business attire when recording it, in order to present a professional image. While reviewing their CV, the recording is played back to help the recruiter determine if he or she is a good fit for the company, and should be called in for interview. 12. Interviews Once you get to the interview, we advise at least two colleagues conduct it together. While this may be a little intimidating for the interviewee, it will benefit you to have the second-opinion and impression post-interview. Remember that young people are not experienced at interviewing, and in many cases this may be their first serious job interview. They will probably feel like a ‘rabbit caught in headlights’ so gently ease them into the interview process. You may need to give him/her extra time to answer your questions, or rephrase it if he/she hasn’t understood it. When interviewing, ask yourself “will they fit in to our company culture?” and “do they respect the values we espouse?” Look for them demonstrating the right attitude, genuine enthusiasm and using effective communication skills. Because young people do not have any significant work experience to talk about, you can’t ask them competency-based questions. Instead ask them situational/behavioural and strengths-based questions. The situational/behavioural interviewing technique places the young people in a conflict or problematic situation where he or she has to make assessments and decisions to resolve it. For example, you may ask them “would you compromise the quality of your work if I asked you to do it quicker?” There is no right answer to this question. What you are looking for is how they think about and approach it; what further questions they ask you; an indication of where their values lie. The strengths-based interviewing technique is used to find out his/her interests – i.e. what he/she really enjoys doing. For example, you may ask them “what comes easily to you?” and “what subjects do you most enjoying studying?” and “do you prefer to start tasks or finish them?” This will give you some insight into his/her personality and work ethic. 13. Post interview Minimise the delay getting back to the candidate with your decision. If it is NO, then provide them with specific and helpful feedback so they can improve their interview technique. If it is YES, then provide them with clear instructions on the next steps for completing the recruitment process. Initiate the internal procedures for ensuring their first day will go smoothly and that their line manager and departmental colleagues are expecting them. This reinforces the message that you care about their well-being and development.
  12. 12. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 12 | P a g e Stage 3: Development A good impression of the professionalism of your company at the start of their career is critical to their future expectations. When your new recruit starts, it is essential to make their first day, week, month, quarter as smooth as possible. In fact, best performing companies embed employee engagement at all levels within their organisation, and practice it from the minute new employees show up on their first day. 14. Induction The development process commences with induction of your new recruits. Be sure to arrange an induction programme for them to learn about the company; their department; their role; who’s who; and introduce them to company policies, procedures and systems. Task them with the responsibility for completing the induction process by an agreed date. Give them the names of the people they have to meet and leave them to arrange the meetings. This demonstrates planning and self-management skills. Waterstons conduct a debrief session at the end of the induction period to find out how the process went and what can be improved for the next in-take. It is also important to agree career progression objectives, targets and goals for promotion. This is covered in more detail in Stage 4 – Retention. 15. Skills development Recent research published by the CIPD as part of the Learning to Work programme33 focuses on today’s young people being tomorrow’s workforce. It lists the key and most important skills that must be developed in the first year of employment. In the survey, 4 out of 10 businesses responding were SMEs, so this is just as critical to SMEs as for larger companies.
  13. 13. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 13 | P a g e Four of the top reasons that employees leave their job are the lack of: 1. genuine interest in their development. 2. skills development and opportunities to utilise their skills, expertise and abilities. 3. recognition for the contribution they make. 4. promotion and career progression. For inexperienced young employees, it is critical to lay down a solid foundation on which to build their career. If you help them to get this right from the start, then you will build trust and loyalty which will lead to them staying with you for the long term. Not doing this could result in your young employee being the 1 in 4 who leaves your company in the first year. This will be a massive cost to your company in terms of both time and money: • Advertising for a new recruit • Sifting through mountains of CV’s • Selecting for interview • The interview process • Induction training • Business and soft skills development training The best way to address the development of these business and soft skills is to provide your young employees with a programme designed specifically for young people, rather than mixing them in with your experienced employees. Due to their inexperience and lack of confidence they will benefit from a graduate-style tailored development programme that will enable them to develop and grow at the right pace, without being overshadowed by their more experienced colleagues. With only half of large employers and just 1 in 9 SMEs currently providing a graduate programme34 , you have a great opportunity to differentiate your company by offering a graduate-style development programme, and attracting top calibre graduates. It costs money to provide a graduate programme, and is sometimes difficult to quantify the value of it during their first 18-24 months development, however BMW believe they do get real value out of this investment. In particular, it helps with retention of the graduates and very few – below industry average – leave BMW during their early career. You don’t have to have the HR/L&D people, expertise, space or deep pockets to provide one, as you can outsource the business and soft skills development of your young employees.
  14. 14. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 14 | P a g e Business benefits for you: 1. Attract better calibre young people with a comprehensive graduate-style development programme. 2. Rapidly integrate your new employees into their team and department. 3. Accelerate performance from new recruits, and make them more productive. 4. Retain employees for longer, thereby avoiding massive costs in terms of both time and money. Employee benefits for them: 1. See their self-confidence grow so they take more initiative in the workplace. 2. Develop the ability to ask better, more critical questions of the people they meet. 3. Develop essential skills that will form a solid foundation on which to build their career. 4. Gain an understanding of leadership and how to lead. 5. Increase promotion and career prospects, and experience greater responsibility and higher income. These are the reasons why we created the GradStart™35 programme, to support businesses just like yours, and ensure that your young employees are effective, productive and a valuable member of your team – right from the start. 16. Graduate-style programme A comprehensive graduate-style development programme should cover:  Self-management  Self-awareness  Interpersonal behaviour  Communications skills  Problem-solving  Team working  Leadership and management  Change management  Industry and customer  Commercial and financial awareness The table on the next page presents the complexity of the issues confronting businesses and shows which business and soft skills are important for young people to develop.
  15. 15. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 15 | P a g e SoftSkills Why this is important Self-awareness All change and development starts with self-awareness. In this module we engage your new employees and motivate them to develop their skills and competencies. This will help them commit to learning and gaining the knowledge they need. This will make a substantial difference both to the development of their career, and to the growth of your business. Self or personal management Your new employees must be able to manage themselves effectively. Employers, like you, emphasise that demonstrating good time-keeping, motivation and a ‘can-do’ attitude are essential attributes in employment and building a successful career. Without this know-how they won’t build effective relationships and become the future leaders you need. Team working Every day they interact with other people – colleagues, supervisors, managers, directors, partners and clients. Knowing how to engage and work with others effectively will make a crucial difference to the long term health of your business, and allow them to make the continuous career progression you need. Communications Effective use of language, both written and verbal, will help shape your new employees’ destiny and identity, and showcase their leadership potential. Presenting to a large audience, developing one to one relationships, writing reports or simply using e-mail effectively are all skills that highly effective leaders need, together with the ability to coach others to be equally effective. Problem solving Being able to analyse a situation, formulate and consider options, assessing the merits and risks of each of them, are all critical skills your new employees will have to apply throughout their life and career. Making decisions and taking risks are an important part of a leader’s toolkit and understanding what’s appropriate will increase the probability of a successful outcome and protect the reputation of your company. Developing confidence and learning to trust their problem-solving abilities will be paramount in building a successful career. Change management Change is the natural state of 21st century business. Your new employees will be involved in significant change programmes throughout their working lives. When a business invests in change, how do you know when you’ve finished, and what does ‘good’ look like? By helping your new employees to understand the change process they will be better equipped to understand the impact that change will have, and how best to embrace and handle it with resilience and a positive mind-set. Interpersonal behaviour Helping your new employees to learn how to behave personally and professionally with others is essential in building relationships with family, friends, clients, business partners and colleagues. They must understand there are subtle yet pronounced differences between personal and professional behaviour. What’s appropriate in one context is not likely to be suitable in the other. Also important is how your new employees represent your company by the way they dress, their attitude to work, their interaction with others, and their utilisation of social media. Leadership and management As your new employees establish themselves in their career, they will need good management and leadership skills as they are promoted into increasingly senior positions within your company. Identifying and examining the qualities and attributes of role models in leadership will provide useful insights as they develop their own management and leadership style and behaviours. Teaching them how to set objectives and goals, to lead others, to lead projects and tasks, and to plan and estimate, will be of significant benefit to them, and create a foundation understanding that your new employees will use throughout their career with you. BusinessSkills Industry sector Building knowledge of your industry sector is essential. Your new employees will benefit from visits to partner companies and clients; talks from colleagues in different job roles and levels of seniority – from other junior and senior employees through to managers and directors. In addition they will be taught how to acquire industry knowledge through research techniques, reading industry journals, and learning about competitors. Commercial Understanding the commercial environment in which your company operates is important for your future leaders. Learning about contractual commitments, why and how they are made, how to negotiate and behave with your clients and business partners will ensure they understand the boundaries within which your business operates and the importance of clear personal responsibilities. Financial Many experienced business people do not understand the basics of business finance and terminology, and struggle to understand what a financial report is conveying. These are key indicators of business performance and health, so it is essential that your new employees are taught the fundamentals of business finance at an early stage in their careers. Customer Knowing how the sales cycle works, and how sales-people build relationships with clients will make the difference between gaining sales and losing them. Understanding how to create an environment which makes customers satisfied with your products and service, ensuring their loyalty and supporting your company’s continued growth.
  16. 16. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 16 | P a g e Stage 4: Retention This is probably the most challenging part of the entire process because it is ongoing and has to be continually acted upon and reacted to. With 1 in 4 graduates likely to leave their first employer within 12 months (CEB36 ) it is essential that you put an employee engagement and retention strategy in place. Tragically many companies fail to do this, and it is totally avoidable by creating an employee engagement and retention strategy. How an employee feels about their job, and how engaged they become, will depend upon a combination of factors. This includes the value they feel they contribute to the team, department and the overall business, as well as the recognition they receive from their peers, manager and senior executives. How much more so is it critical to engage young employees from their first day on the job? 17. Create an engagement strategy An engagement strategy will include many elements, some of which will be more pertinent to the different stages of an employee’s career, role and seniority. The first part of any strategy is to regularly measure employee engagement and act upon it. Gallup37 have developed a 12 question survey known as Q12 ® for this purpose. Some of the best practice examples given below, in our opinion, show how these questions could relate to activities that young employees participate in. 18. Continuous feedback and assessment Consider adopting a continuous feedback process (Q4) with regular assessment of progress (Q1,Q11) rather than the traditional periodic (e.g. quarterly or annual) appraisals. Your employees need to improve their skills, capabilities and behaviour constantly, and the best way for them to do this is to know what they are doing right (encouragement), and what needs to be improved now (support). (Q3) We have seen numerous examples where an employee becomes disaffected and disengaged because they feel their career aspirations are not supported by management, which leads to them resigning because they do not feel they have a future in the organisation. This is tragic but totally avoidable by communicating effectively. Set clear expectations, gain commitment from all parties and continuously support the young employee’s development. Consider using an online / mobile platform to engage employees (Q5) and support their career development (Q6). Beginning with the end in mind by having clear objectives, targets and goals will make an enormous difference to employee communication, satisfaction and morale. An example of a platform designed specifically for this purpose, and with young people in mind, is ME+38 from Telos Partners.
  17. 17. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 17 | P a g e 19. A culture of sharing knowledge Knowledge sharing is an essential form of communication and engagement. Young people can be insecure due to their lack of work experience, and therefore need far more feedback, mentoring and even coaching during the early stages of their career, in order to rapidly develop and grow. It is important that young employees have access to the most senior colleagues to discuss the mission and purpose of the business; how the business is performing and the contribution their role has in achieving it (Q5,8). Tap into the enthusiasm and out-of-the-box thinking that young employees will bring to your company. They understand the needs and desires of young people like them, and will have insight into business opportunities that you may not have considered. Encourage them to make suggestions for future services and products that support the mission and vision (Q7). Conduct lunch ‘n’ learn style events (Q12). Encourage your young people to present at these events. It’s a great way for them to learn presentation skills in an internal non-threatening and friendly environment (Q6). This is good experience before engaging with clients. At Waterstons, every second Friday there is a seminar to which clients are invited to attend in-person, or watch online. The seminar series – often conducted lunch ‘n’ learn style – is presented by an employee, including recent graduates. Clients are told that the graduates may come across as a bit unpolished due to their inexperience but, it turns out, clients are very supportive. This has become a great way for the graduates to develop and refine their presentation skills in a constructive environment. 20. Intergenerational communications gap Workforces are spanning 3 generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y or Millennials as the latest generation is often called. Take a look around your business and see how many generations are now working there. Each generation has been shaped by different experiences and expectations, and this can lead to a misunderstanding when communicating – a challenge of listening to, and interpreting, what is said, as much as what isn’t said (i.e. reading between the lines). These differences in mentality, attitude to work and expectation – especially of the millennial generation – can significantly contribute to your young employees becoming disaffected and disengaged, and potentially becoming one of the 1 in 4 graduates who are likely to leave their first employer within 12 months (CEB39 ). Conduct an assessment of the effectiveness of the intergenerational relationships between millennials and older more experienced workers. Each generation has its strengths and weaknesses, however there will be a surprising amount in common. Take action to help your workforce understand and value these differences and you’ll improve communications that will lead to greater engagement, increased productivity and higher levels of satisfaction. For a more detailed examination of this topic, read Jeremy’s blog here.40
  18. 18. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 18 | P a g e 21. Work hard and play hard Remember that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Offer your employees some healthy and fun down-time perks such as on-site massages; multi-cultural celebrations such as Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day) by inviting a crêpe making service on-site; and Friday beers to get the weekend off to a good start. At Waterstons, Friday beers sessions are held to enable staff to keep up to date with the business. These include a ‘grok’ talk41 where the speaker, chosen at random, can talk on a topic of his or her choice. This helps employees to get to know each other better by giving an insight into individuals’ interests outside work. 22. Remember It’s a privilege for you to employ these young people. Sally Waterston, Director at Waterstons, described it as a “privilege” to be able to employ the young people who join the business. The company is truly grateful that they have joined it. Martin Barker, Training Manager at BMW Mini, gave the following advice for SMEs: It is a false economy to cut back on the development of young people, even when times get tough. It is best to have a plan for the future that looks beyond the short term and can see past tough times when growth will return. This is particularly true for the automotive industry. This way the young people will mature when you need them to, as the good times return. So take a risk by filling the young people talent pipeline. To misquote President John F. Kennedy: “My fellow employer, ask not what your young employee can do for you, ask what you can do for your new employee.”
  19. 19. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 19 | P a g e About Akonia and GradStart We are experts at helping companies to develop the business and soft skills of their young – typically graduate – employees. We work with directors, HR and training managers who struggle to attract top calibre young people to their company and retain them for the long term. Many businesses are put off recruiting graduates altogether because of their lack of experience. They agree that most young people are not ready for the world of work and therefore are concerned how to develop them – especially when they don’t have in-house resources to improve the skills potential of their young employees into productive team members. They would like graduate employees who: • add value to the business • have a good work ethic • show commitment to getting the job done • demonstrate good communication skills with colleagues and clients What separates our service from other training providers is that we are dedicated to developing the potential of young employees with our unique comprehensive graduate-style development programme, known as GradStart™. Because of this, our clients do not have to consider recruiting an in-house training team or experience the hassle of sourcing, purchasing and managing multiple business and soft skills courses, reducing costs to the business. Find out about the GradStart™ programme and the next start date at www.akonia.com/GradStart If you would like to find out how to improve your employee development strategy, then request a complimentary 30-minute call at www.akonia.com/Emp-Dev-Call or by telephoning 0800 619 9697 and we will arrange a time convenient to you. Gary Weinstein . gary.weinstein@akonia.com . 07931 280 697 Jeremy Marchant . jeremy.marchant@akonia.com . 07970 269 170 www.akonia.com . freephone 0800 619 9697
  20. 20. 22 Essential steps for successfully recruiting and retaining young employees © Akonia Limited 2015 20 | P a g e References 1 CEB/SHL Talent Measurement: Hire and Inspire – A new approach to Graduate recruitment 2014 2 CIPD: Learning to Work – Survey report March 2015 3 CBI/Accenture: Growth for Everyone: Employment trends survey 2014 4 Gallup: State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide 2013 5 We refer to the 4 stage process by the acronym RADaR – Recruitment / Attraction, Development and Retention 6 www.linkedin.com/edu/ 7 www.linkedin.com/company/1221203 8 https://twitter.com/MINI 9 www.facebook.com/MINI.uk 10 www.youtube.com/user/MINI 11 www.bmwgroup.com/bmwgroup_prod/com/en/careers/recent-graduates/gldp-programm/index.html 12 www.bath.ac.uk/management/news_events/news/2015/1-08-ITM-students-visit-bmw-mini-plant.html 13 www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/work-inspiration/supporting-organisations 14 www.young-enterprise.org.uk/what-we-do/overview-new/ 15 https://waterstons.com/careers 16 www.zurich.co.uk 17 www.zurich.co.uk/careers/graduatesandinterns/internships/ 18 http://utcswindon.co.uk/ 19 www.cii.co.uk 20 www.b.co.uk/Lists/ListedCompanies/202/559?PN=2 21 www.zurich.co.uk/careers/graduatesandinterns/ 22 www.bloomberg.com/careers/entry-level/ 23 https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/programmes/graduates 24 http://joinus.barclays.com/emea/graduate-opportunities/ 25 http://jobonline.thecareersgroup.co.uk/careersgroup/student/ 26 www.southampton.ac.uk/careers/employers/advertise-your-vacancies.page 27 www.milkround.com/ 28 www.prospects.ac.uk/ 29 www.linkedin.com/job/consumer/students 30 www.barclayslifeskills.com/about/ 31 www.fdmgroup.com/uk/careers/fdm-graduate-programme/ 32 www.launchpadrecruits.com/ 33 CIPD: Learning to Work – Survey report March 2015 34 CIPD: Learning to Work – Survey report March 2015 35 www.akonia.com/GradStart 36 CEB/SHL Talent Measurement: Hire and Inspire – A new approach to Graduate recruitment 2014 37 Gallup: State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide 2013 38 www.me-plus.co.uk/ 39 CEB/SHL Talent Measurement: Hire and Inspire – A new approach to Graduate recruitment 2014 40 http://www.akonia.com/Blog/the-intergenerational-communications-gap-at-work 41 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok_(disambiguation)

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