Young recruits: Making the most of junior hires as a small business

In this piece, we look at the business owners that have taken on younger members of staff and assess the benefits to a small organisation.

Following the news that 56 per cent of young people are concerned about their job prospects, it is essential for businesses to understand the needs of young recruits so as to be in a position to take advantage of the best young talent.

Simon Schnieders, founder of Blue Array, is a huge advocate of the apprenticeship scheme for bridging the digital skills gap and growing his company’s young talent, favouring this rather than ‘short-sighted’ measures taken by other companies such as relaxing visa restrictions for tech/digital employees from abroad.

‘I also feel there’s a certain amount of social responsibility employers have to be offering this kind of training to young people,’ he adds.

The company’s first apprentice Tom is now, after just six months, running the technical aspects of auditing clients’ websites for SEO with no supervision and regularly attends C-Level meetings with the founder. ‘I’d advise businesses to have a clear strategy to hiring apprentices or any young person,’ Schnieders says.

Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers is not averse to giving young recruits an opportunity to show what they can do. ‘I refuse to accept that those of modest years can’t be the best fit for an organisation, just because of their age.

‘Just as I think it’s business madness not to consider skilled and experienced workers over 60 or 70 years of age, not bringing youngsters into all areas of a business, for reasons of age alone, also makes no sense,’ he adds.

There are a lot of apprentices in trades such as plumbing, carpentry and mechanics, to name but a few, but Mullins says that to focus only on those would be to ignore the army of under 25s who fill key roles for in departments as diverse as public relations and HR.

Young recruits can be your best employees

‘In fact my head of recruitment is only 25, and Chris, my head of accounts, is in his early 30s, having been with me since his late teens. The truth is that if you give the right young people the opportunities and support they can become some of your best and most loyal employees, who know how you want things done, but who, if you give them the space to grow and develop, can also quickly become confident decision makers who bely their fresh faces.’

Younger people in the job market have complex needs and desires, meaning it may not be so simple to snap up the perfect hire from this age group. A survey of nearly 1,000 executives from around the world by Korn Ferry reveals an ‘ability to make an impact on the business’ matters most to millennial employees. At only 3 percent, income is last on the list.

When asked what will make a millennial choose one job over another, 38 percent say ‘visibility and buy-in to the mission and vision of the organisation’.

With this age band keen to know what their organisation stands for and how they can impact the company’s mission, if you want to attract the best young people, it seems it’s critical to help them understand how their role fits into the greater organisational strategy. If you manage this though, a young recruit can grow with your business and become an integral part of your operation.

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