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How to Find (And Keep!) Young Talent

September 24, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Hiring and retaining the best talent is as tough as it's ever been – some experts go so far as to project that, for the first time in U.S. history, the number of young workers entering the labor market won't be enough to replace those who are leaving. Despite this alarming workforce trend, it's still possible to attract the young, entrepreneurial talent your company needs in order to stay competitive. Creating a desirable company culture is one of the easiest ways to attract the talent your company deserves, and you can catch the eye of talented employees with these tips.

Create a Learning Environment

While this doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune sending employees to external training seminars, you should do your best to create an environment that's conductive to learning. Talk to employees about what they'd like to learn, and find creative ways to meet that need. Projects and internal workshops can help employees feel like they're constantly learning in the workplace. The more an employee learns while working for you, the more likely they are to feel like you value them enough to invest in them. Besides, a knowledgeable employee can only help with the success of your business.

Provide “Anytime/Anywhere” Access

If you have the ability to work with a virtual office, do so – as Millennials prefer being given the freedom to create their own work schedule. While it may sound risky, with the right talent you'll soon find your employees are happier and more productive than ever before. Researchers agree that the best way to find and retain young talent is to create a company culture where employees actually want to work – and who wouldn't want to work for a company that provides supreme flexibility?

Recognize, Reward, and Reinforce

Although money and benefits may attract people to interview and accept a job offer, something has to keep employees from leaving. People have a basic human need to feel appreciated, but especially so in the younger generations. A successful reward and recognition program can work wonders for keeping employees satisfied and making them feel appreciated. Keep in mind that the “rewards” don't have to be expensive – you can take employees out to lunch, give them an extra day off, or invite the rest of the team to bring the employee their favorite candy or snacks.

Make it Personal

Too often managers don't actually have conversations with their team that go beyond a professional level. If you make an effort to take an interest in the interests and hobbies of your employees, you'll be able to build a relationship with them. Take time to regularly check in with the members of your team – ask about weekend plans, talk about a recent sporting event, or simply ask how their day is going. Once a relationship is established, you'll be more likely to pick up early on job dissatisfaction. By learning what makes them tick, you might avoid doing something to make someone you like want to leave the team.

Prioritize Performance Reviews

The problem with the performance reviews of the past is that they only happen once a year. Young employees tend to be impatient to progress, and want constant feedback on how they're doing. By making performance conversations a regular event, you'll be able to clear up misunderstandings and evaluate an employee's happiness. Whether you choose to make one-on-one meetings a weekly event or have a strict “open door” policy, if your employees feel like you care about their well-being both within and outside the workplace, they'll feel appreciated and happy.