Attracting and Retaining Talent in 2017

Adapting your physical workplace and the ethos of your company is essential if you want to attract and retain the right young talent in 2017.

The university experience is centred around collaboration, whether you're working together on a group project or cleaning your student house before the landlord comes round. Either way, graduates are used to working with other people, bouncing ideas off them and receiving instant feedback, helping to sustain a creative environment at all times. We all know that collaborative working spaces are all the rage, and we've discussed the merits of them in several of our other blogs, but for young people, the ability to talk to their colleagues and peers is essential in this age of constant online communication. Changing the structure of your office from the traditional departmental layout to something more flexible can help your employees to work together on projects face to face, rather than communicating by email (an outdated tool in many people's opinion). Wellbeing is all about space planning, something that we offer as part of our office refurbishment package.

It's not just graduates who'll benefit - qualified apprentices will already have a year of work experience and will expect a lot from you as their first 'proper' employer. Like almost everyone else on Earth, they've seen the pictures of Google's offices on Twitter, and they want in. In addition, taking on teens for work experience and giving them the best start possible can be really beneficial to your company, because they might decide to stay in the role permanently and skip university/college all together, if you give them a better alternative. Now, we're not saying you need to install a slide, or have meetings in a bespoke wooden tree house in your office kitchen, but there are lots of cheaper and more realistic choices you can make that will help to reel in the people you want, and more importantly, keep them on board.

First, set up a flexible work schedule. Work-life balance is a top priority for the younger generation, who've realised that there's more to life than work. As long as they still get their contracted hours in, allow them to come into work a little later, or leave a little earlier, so they can dodge rush hour and arrive at work or home a little less stressed, improving productivity at work, and taking care of their mental health. 

Second, offer training and progression. Millennials are known as the 'job-hopping generation', because they rarely stay in one place for more than a couple of years. In fact, 44% of millennials would leave their jobs within two years if given the choice. More often than not, it's because they've reached the milestones they were aiming for when they started, and the company has nothing else to offer them. If you want to keep people, you need to provide training in new skills and think about how they can progress - can they become a manager rather than an assistant, or an executive rather than a manager? Do they deserve a pay rise? Does their department need more investment in the form of training, equipment or additional members of staff? An important part of this process is providing feedback on how they're doing, which gives them the opportunity to ask for anything they might need to do their job better, and always having short-term goals will give them a sense of purpose. 

Tech is a massive part of life in 2017, and that's a fact that's impossible to avoid. In reality, the technology you have in your office probably isn't the latest shiny Apple product that people would like to be using, whereas millennials invest heavily in their own tech, so why not let them bring it to work? If they can connect to an internal server while they're at work and can password protect their device so that your information is protected, then being comfortable with their own technology might really boost their productivity (and save you money at the same time). 

Finally, for millennials, it's all about the vibe (excuse the cringey term). Feeling supported and valued is extremely important to them, and if they're not feeling it, they'll leave. If they've got a good team around them and a professional but friendly boss, they're much more likely to stay on. Offering exercise classes like yoga or Pilates once a week could have a positive impact on employee wellbeing, and having a manager that's more like a mentor can really motivate young people to do their best. Mental health issues are on the rise, so making the office a calm, happy place where issues can be discussed without fear of the stigma is really attractive to the people who are entering the world of work in 2017.