Hiring young professionals with bountiful energy

“YOU cannot teach old dogs new tricks”.

This adage may well hold water especially with employers who are facing unprecedented employee turnover.

It is a matter of corporate survival for many if they are not recognised as an Employer of Choice and the need to become one is undeniable.

With the younger generations not being able to move up the corporate levels, having to compete with baby boomers, employers must start looking at hiring young professionals with bountiful energy.

Ac cording to CareerBuilder and ManpowerGroup of US, a high percentage of employers worldwide will add full-time, permanent employees within the next six months and although today’s generation is far different from the older generation, the need to do so is inevitable.

Young professionals are enthusiastic, energetic and physically active and the amount of work they can offer is greater. They are bright thinkers with new approaches to current market needs and this is advantageous to a business.

According to studies, companies that have younger employees tend to have workers with less experience, but result in an effective workforce.

Generation Y, while lacking in experience, can make up innovative new plans that can suit the current market better than more senior workers.

Take for example the JK Tyre’s plant in Chennai, South India. The average age of managers there is 23 and the engineers are also just as young.

It was a deliberate decision of the management to appoint a large number of young people in key positions at this plant and it was done to give young people in the company a sense of empowerment and make them feel they belong.

Typical Employer of Choice

Are Malaysian companies/employers ready to take a similar path in hiring young professionals and giving them a leadership profile at a young age?

Another policy practiced in the company called “Krishna-Arjuna” has a very promising young person paired with a senior colleague, who mentors him/her, preparing the young person for middle and senior-level responsibilities.

A third policy across the entire company is that of regularly sending young performers to Germany to visit vendors who supply some of the JK Tyre’s machines.

And JK Tyre’s is not the only one. Companies are realising the need to change their Human Resource policies to attract young talent and giving them incentives to stay.

In another company, when two fellow employees got married, the employer provided these young employees with not only maternity but also paternity leave.

What other companies do to keep their young talent

At mobile ad company InMobi, employees — most of whom are young — are allowed to set their own goals and work towards them, sticking to a timeline which, they lay down for themselves. They know that in three years from the time they joined the company, or by December 2016, whichever is later, the company will reward them with a Harley-Davidson bike.

At clothing and accessories company Bestseller Retail’s India unit, entry-level employees get daily cash incentives for meeting their targets. Young people will not wait a whole year to be rewarded.

Where health is concerned, however, the scenario is reversed — it is the seniors whose health more often lets them down and thus need to take greater care. So L’Oreal India has health insurance schemes for senior managers, which allow them unlimited medical reimbursement.

Other companies, too, have generous health policies for the older lot. Many companies now attach increasing importance to training programmes as well, particularly for young employees. Although such employees are charged a negligible amount, that too is reimbursed if they stay with the company for more than two years.

In-house Programmes

At Mahindra & Mahindra, in-house programmes include a talent management process consisting of a network of business and functional councils that address questions of skill and competency creation and succession planning for strategic business

In such instances, the task of the HR manager has just grown more complex. It used to be about hiring and retention of talent, but now the scope is wider — to identify the generation group in the company and implement specific policies. Young professionals are now assigned to do what they are good at as the one-size-fits-all policies are nearly redundant.

Young Professionals are Tech-savvy Technically, the most obvious strength that young professionals have is their knowledge of modern technology, which can be a handful for the older employees to handle.

They are also very active in various social media platforms and can instantly connect with other people if they need to promote their services or their companies.

What this optimism means for employers across the globe is increasing labour market pressures, greater recruiting challenges, and of course, higher employee turnover — it is a matter of corporate survival!