Babington CEO, Carole Carson, discusses how businesses, and not just apprentices, need to adapt their approach to the workplace to engage and benefit from young talent.
You sometimes hear employers say that young people today don’t live up to their high expectations. But what if the bigger problem is that employers are the ones that have got it wrong? What do businesses need to change to better support young people into the workplace to reap the benefits of creating a vibrant and sustainable workforce?
These are big questions, with no easy answers, but questions that employers need to ask themselves if they are going to deal with some of the major challenges they face to driving productivity, competitiveness, and growth.
No sector or organisation is immune to the following ‘big ticket’ challenges:
- Full employment. Whilst a fantastic indicator for the economy, this presents major challenges for business. Diminishing talent pools, competitors pinching your people, wage inflation make it difficult to attract and keep the best talent.
- More vacancies than ever in recent history. This means lost productivity, lost opportunity and often increased stress for your people, which reduces engagement and can lead to high turnover, which leads to more vacancies, creating a vicious cycle.
So, what has this got to do with apprenticeships and what can you do about it?
Tapping alternative talent pools has never been more critical for business. Attracting your future workforce can no longer be considered a soft, social strategy, it is now a hard, commercial necessity.
Often discouraged from apprenticeships, young people are a rich vein of future talent just waiting for the businesses that do things differently to harness their potential. Sadly, many businesses still try to engage with their prospective people through the same tired methods.
It’s time to think differently.
Your brand and messages
What you say, how you say it and where you say it are all key things to consider if you want to raise awareness of your organisation’s opportunities. Find out what would and wouldn’t attract your target groups to your workplace.
Your employee proposition
Fair pay, sensible workload and reasonable hours all matter, but for young people, in particular, the ‘whole employee offer’ is what they’re interested in:
- How will this job/company positively or negatively impact on my social life?
- Are there opportunities for progression?
- Does my company understand me and are they investing in me?
- Will I enjoy the experience that this opportunity provides?
The importance of line managers
Look for the line managers who can engage and inspire your apprentices, the managers who care about their people. Create advocates of apprenticeships who compel the rest to follow as they prove the benefits of investing in the future.
Perhaps one of the biggest influences on the success, engagement and retention of employees is the degree to which they receive mentoring support. A mentor can help an apprentice learn from all their experiences and interactions, helping them to reflect so that the experiences fuel their growth.
Recruit with the experts
There are a range of high quality organisations and services within the apprenticeship space that can help you to attract the best talent into your organisation. Reputable training providers such as Babington provide a comprehensive, ‘end to end’ recruitment service, which takes the hassle out of managing the process in-house.