Planning for the ongoing success of your business requires training the next generation to take the helm when you eventually retire. The right strategy ensures you have the proper people in place, ready to take the lead when the time comes. That means engaging with and recruiting today’s and tomorrow’s graduates.
How can owners and CEOs create the right atmosphere to let the business and the individuals who work within it flourish? What matters to today’s youth and how does it affect their attitudes toward their careers? Here’s a crash course in optimizing your business strategy for the upcoming generation of graduates.
Work as One Slice of the Life Pie
Business leader Lee Iacocca once wrote, “Business, after all, is nothing but a bunch of human relationships.” However, many employers have fallen into the mindset of regarding their employees as little more than liabilities on a balance sheet, not human beings who also have a vested interest in the organization’s success — and lives outside of it.
The result was the “Great Resignation,” and ongoing distrust between employees and their employers that stifles progress, misses opportunities, and ignores talented contributions. Staff members who don’t feel like you care about them aren’t invested in the success of your enterprise — they’re there to collect a paycheck.
The problem isn’t that nobody wants to work but that they want a fair say in the conditions of their labor. Fortunately, this business strategy for engaging the upcoming generation of graduates begins with a simple mindset shift. Take off the “my way or the highway” hat and start regarding your staff as partners assisting you in achieving your goals, not children you must manage or discipline.
What does this look like in action? Consider the following:
- Consulting with staff members on the best working arrangements — be they in-office, remote or hybrid — to maximize efficiency, reduce waste and improve productivity for all
- Offering a choice of benefits or flexible savings and expense plans that let team members select the perks that matter most to them
- Allowing flexible work whenever possible within staffing needs to let employees tend to necessary matters outside of work, such as doctor appointments and teacher conferences
In general, the more flexible you can be, the better — but this arrangement also benefits you as an employer. For example, over 60% of today’s young people struggle with mental health issues. You can’t legally ask why someone needs certain afternoons free. However, flexible working arrangements let employees manage their therapy appointments without reporting them to you, or taking a full sick day when they only need an hour or two.
Putting Today’s Tech Tools to Highest and Best Use
Humans have come a long way, but they don’t all have access to the same tools or experience using them. One problem facing employers today is that while traditional education may confer necessary skills, they often skip over the programs and gadgets people use on the job daily. The knowledge gap creates problems when employees report to work understanding how to balance a budget report but not how to operate the company software.
You can’t replace the value of on-the-job training for the upcoming generation of graduates. Each firm’s practices, hardware and software vary, and such programs ensure that new hires conform to current guidelines, avoiding confusion and unnecessary confrontations with existing staff members who do things differently. Keeping everyone on the same page pays off in increased productivity and improved office relationships.
However, keeping everyone up to speed doesn’t have to take excessive time away from daily operations. Consider these business strategies for engaging new graduates while acclimating them on how you do things:
- Institute a mentorship program: Many career coaches advise new hires to find a mentor, but letting them do so alone could mean certain experienced staff members end up doing more than their fair share of the training. Instead, implement a program where part of the job description of a staff member with experience includes mentoring a new hire so you evenly distribute the work.
- Combine self-directed learning with mentorship: New hires must know who to ask when they can’t find an answer themselves. However, self-directed learning programs can cover many of the basics, leaving the mentor free to clarify finer procedural points.
- Consider internship programs: Coordinate with local schools or higher educational institutions to offer internships for students expressing an interest in working in your industry. Younger people like these as they can provide a fast track to a career. Plus, they benefit employers by providing a trained candidate pool for new openings.
Working Toward a Better Future for Individuals and Humanity as a Whole
Do you hope to grow your business by cutting environmental corners or exploiting those who are already suffering? If so, you might struggle to hire today’s graduates who search for meaning in what they do. The new generation works for a purpose — protecting the planet and elevating humanity.
That doesn’t mean shifting from running an accounting firm to constructing solar panels. However, it does require you to ask yourself some hard questions about how you conduct your operations and provide valuable insights into the best business strategies to engage today’s generation. For example, ask yourself:
How well do I communicate our corporate mission?
Is it something you list on your About Us page and otherwise ignore, or do you convey it to all staff members and post friendly reminders around the office? Depending on how big you are, some employees might not even fully understand your mission or what you’re trying to accomplish — how can they possibly buy into it or treat their career as more than a just a job?
What greater value does my firm bring to society?
This question should inform everything from your marketing efforts to your daily practices. Your business doesn’t only provide value through its deliverables — it plays an integral role in society, providing jobs and making things a little bit better for many people in some way. That goal should drive what you do each day, from how you treat employees to what you produce.
Prepare Your Company’s Strategy for Tomorrow’s Leaders
Preparing your business to continue into perpetuity means training tomorrow’s leaders to take the helm when it’s time to retire. Doing so means attracting and engaging today’s graduates. The three tips above will help you optimize your business strategy for the upcoming generation. It also invites you to examine your current practices and make necessary changes to improve your overall bottom line.
Jack Shaw, editor of Modded and author of numerous articles on business success and self-improvement, seeks to inspire readers with his practical tips and strategies for growth. His writings can be found on HellaWealth, USCCG and more.