Engaging with and recruiting young adults and understanding their mind-set

Tom Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Peterborough

As the CEO of a business working with a small but dedicated team, I am continually inspired by the enthusiasm and energy of the young people I work with on a daily basis. And as a father of four young children and not being too long in the tooth myself, I thought I’d pretty much worked out what young people are looking for in the world of work. However, it was a real insight to hear a presentation from Ben Bullman of First Intuition at our recent Bondholder breakfast.

One of the first things Ben said was ‘I’m going to give you some insight into the reality of young peoples’ attitude to work; you may disagree, you might not like what I say, but the reality is, this is the way things are’ That was the first indication that even with my experience at home and at work, I was going to learn something new.

Firstly, to clarify, when we talk about young people in this context, we are referring to Generation Y and Z, or those born between the years 1995 – 2010 who are in or heading towards the workforce of the future.

These are the key points I took from the session and which I will certainly be keen to implement into my own recruitment and retention plan.

What motivates this generation and what will attract them to my organisation?

· This generation is keen to learn, they are inquisitive and resourceful, but not at any cost. Whilst willing to grow and develop, this is with a simultaneous desire to maintain a balance between work and personal life.

· Their approach is that they work to live, not live to work and value flexibility and free time over financial reward.

· This generation are driven by purpose and in considering a career, any employers brand will need to align with their personal values. Should they accept a position with your organisation and they see that you don’t live your values – they will call you out and are not frightened to move on.

· Culture, wellbeing and mental health, diversity and equality are particularly important.

· Young people are more connected than ever before and are greatly influenced by social media, their peers and also their parents

What I need to do as an employer?

· Be flexible, allow hybrid working but make the office a place they want to come to, make the workplace fun and engaging.

· Provide mentors to support and develop from pre-interview through to employment and beyond

· Keep them engaged by changing up job roles and responsibilities on a regular basis

· Engage with schools to become an aspirational brand

· Be clear about my brand values and purpose

· Use social media, particularly Tik-tok in my recruitment strategy engaging other young people to share their experience of working within my organisation.

These are just my own personal take-away from the presentation, there is so much more which may be relevant to you. Head over to the First Intuition Website here where you can read more tips and I highly recommend that you watch each of the three videos that are free to view.

One thing I am sure of, it’s important to keep abreast of the changing needs of young people, or wow betide my own future as a leader in industry and at home with my own children the future Generation Alpha. If I don’t I am sure I will be called out at my own peril.