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How to engage young talent: 4 tips for a future-proof talent strategy

Written by Lucas Reitsema on 12 December 2022 for Companies

The times they are a-changin’, sang Bob Dylan. You better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone. It was true nearly 60 years ago, and it’s true today. With the rise of every new generation comes a shift in world views, and the things young people find important in a job change too.

Do you fully understand the way Gen Z sees the world? What do they value in an employer? What do they prioritise for themselves? Chances are you don’t, because understanding young talent and getting to know them on that level is a profession in its own right. It’s not something you do in between strategy meetings and job interviews. If you would like some support with this, we’re here for you. But by all means, Keep reading for some free advice.

Tip #1: Ask the right questions

The question isn’t: do you need to rejuvenate your staff? For most companies, that’s a given. The question is whether your organisation is ready to hire young talent.

A common mistake we see our clients make: they decide they need young talent, and they stop the thought process there. You need to think further. How will you appeal to this generation of workers? How will you keep them motivated? How will you keep them on board?

Here are a few questions to help you along the way:

  • Do you offer opportunities, or merely function titles?
  • Who will devise your strategy five years from now?
  • How do you handle young talent?
  • How do you connect them to your more senior employees?
  • How do you make them part of your success instead of just giving them a task?

These aren’t questions you can answer quickly and easily. To do it right, you need to take your time. And it never hurts to get a second opinion. Even if you already have a strong traineeship and a well thought out plan for employee engagement, it couldn’t hurt to get a fresh perspective of a specialist from outside your organisation.

Tip #2: Join forces with a talent partner

In an ideal world, the development of young talent is a joint responsibility. When a company partners up with a talent partner and both parties put their best foot forward to care for young talent, then great things can happen.

At Exellys, we focus on personal guidance for young talent. Each one of our consultants is assigned a Talent Development Manager. These TDM’s are certified coaches and experienced professionals who can offer advice and support to our young talents throughout the first formative years of their careers. As a result, they learn and grow faster than their peers who aren’t guided by a TDM.

Since talent development is a joint responsibility, we expect job-specific guidance from our clients to complement the personal guidance they get from us. Over the years, we’ve noticed that clients who take this task seriously can create an amazing learning opportunity for young talents, and get loads of energy and impact in return.

Tip #3: Involve young talent in strategic decisions

When hiring graduates and young professionals, you have two options: you can give them a task, or you can involve them in your organisation’s strategy. But what if your company is going lots of changes, don’t you need to hire senior profiles? Well, no! After all, it’s a lot more fun and educational to enter a company when everything is up in the air and you can help solve problems, than to come in when everything’s resolved and there’s suddenly a lot of time to manage. Getting a young person’s perspective on your issues could turn out surprisingly well for you. Clients who put young people forward and let them take on strategic projects and client contacts, are the ones where our talents tend to be happiest – and where they do their best work.

Tip #4: Look for a good balance between senior, medior and junior profiles

Look for a good balance between senior, medior and junior profiles

A lot of organisations struggle with finding the right dynamic between seniors who have a lot of knowledge and experience, and young people who have lots of energy and fresh ideas. Do you feel you could use some help with this? Here’s what we can do for you:

  • Offer advice on how to manage young talent
  • Match the right profiels to your companies’ needs
  • Take on a joint responsibility in the development of young talent

As talent partners, together we can create a place where young talents can learn a lot in a short time, and where they can fully develop themselves during the first years of their career.

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We bring tech talent into the daily operations of the organisation of our customers and grow them for the innovations of tomorrow.

From the 1.500 tech talents we speak to annually, we select the top 7%. We intensively train and coach them on the right skills and competences. Our (scientifically based) training programs (Start Smart, Grow Smart & Lead Smart) accelerate the growth of our talents, and therefore also the growth of our customers.

We “unburden” our clients when looking for and retaining tech talent. We are committed to getting the best out of talent, while our customers can continue to focus on their core business.

We do this for organisations who want to strengthen their team permanently, as well as those who are looking for a flexible, project-driven solution. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help!