Attracting the Next Generation: Going Beyond Digital


Client Challenge: "Company-wide we are struggling to build our digital capabilities, which impacts how successful we are in hiring and maintaining new generations. Currently, new generations don't consider our organisation as one to work for (like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft)."

- HR Business Partner, Global Consumer Goods


Digital Capabilities -- Just One Part of the Equation

In terms of attracting (and retaining) young talent, many companies look straight to the ‘digital capabilities’ as the answer – and sometimes it is, however at The Blue Ocean Company we tend to look wider first.

Various reports have been commissioned to try and discover what makes Millennials ‘tick’. The one that has reflected most closely what we see with clients is the report (Great Expectations) by Ashridge Business School, which discovered three key motivators:

  1. Challenging and interesting work
  2. High salary
  3. Career advancement

Let's tackle these one by one.


Challenging and Interesting Work

Trends have been to require degrees for entry level roles, which has led in some organisations to have some very (academically) ‘bright’ people doing often repetitive/’boring’ jobs. Only a few months ago, EY announced that they are scrapping their ‘graduate’ recruitment and instead are intending to recruit based on skills demonstrated at interview/assessment centres.

Young talent are inherent multi-taskers (born into a world of constant content/messaging and stimulus). Where companies have seen success, is where they’ve been able to keep pace with their young talents' appetite for development and change.

We’ve spent lots of time over the past couple of years working with clients on their attraction techniques: looking at how they sell roles, where they find talent, the strategy behind their recruitment, how they set probational objectives etc.


High Salary

Of course! Yet, it’s not always the highest paying companies that have the most motivated and content workforce. Those with points-based benefits packages where employees can pick and choose their benefits have stormed ahead in the employee engagement surveys.


Career Advancement

Most companies have appraisal systems and most of them are out of date, poorly managed and ultimately more about box ticking than actually providing a platform for authentic development conversations between managers and their teams.

A transparent career path is really important to millennial talent. We’ve recently been working with clients to tackle the challenge they have of people leaving to start up their own companies by looking at how they can encourage entrepreneurism internally – super interesting!

So, back to digital capabilities. Yes of course this is important. Millennials have been born into a world that is all about technology and there is a frustration among them that their skills in this area are outpacing the capabilities of their employers (and indeed this is a missed opportunity for employers who should be harnessing tech to drive productivity and engagement). But until we live in an AI world…..digital is just one part of recruiting and retaining young talent.

Serious about introducing some of these key motivators into your organisation? Sign up for an introductory chat with our expert in cross-generational management and team performance. Email lilian.eilers@theblueoceancompany.com to book a call.


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