Hiring Talented Employees

Let the Talent Come to You: Attracting and Keeping Younger Employees

Posted by Stacey Papp

There’s no shortage of news stories about what hip companies like Facebook and Google are doing to attract and retain younger talent: nap pods, free gourmet snacks, massage services, unlimited PTO, pet-friendly offices, onsite yoga, concierge services – the list goes on. While there might not be a concrete ROI associated with having, say, an office nap pod, perks like these can go a long way toward getting Millennials and Gen Z in the door.

Of course, some of these perks may not be realistic for companies not located in Silicon Valley – for financial, logistical or other reasons. Small businesses especially might feel like they can’t compete with the bigger guys who can offer the sexy perks like free quinoa and kale for lunch. 

But that’s not always true. In fact, Fast Company found that only 15 percent of new grads want to work for a big company. And there are other ways a small business – even a small fleet business – can attract and retain talent. Check out the below tips:

Promote from within.
The days of being a “company man” and working for a company for decades are mostly gone, but that doesn’t mean talented employees won’t stay for years if they feel valued. Success stories about a driver who has risen through the ranks to an operations leader or fleet manager are important to tell during an interview process or on a company website. And show – don’t just tell – this through your company culture.

Provide learning opportunities. Many young people are eager to supplement their skill set beyond daily duties. Offer days when the rookies can shadow seasoned staff members, bring in guest speakers for a lunch and learn, or consider a program to partially or fully fund conference attendance, certifications or workshops to help employees grow. 

Bring the fun. While it’s not financially feasible for many small businesses to have a weekly or even monthly extracurricular gathering like a happy hour, there are other ways to add some fun to the work environment. Organize a potluck where every employee brings a dish to share, start an office softball or bowling league, or plan a picnic in the warm months.  

Be flexible. Personal time off and a good work-life balance are important to many young employees. Have a contingency plan that allows employees to take personal time, especially in the event of a family emergency or other issue, without their absence affecting the business. If it’s possible to offer flexible work hours, that’s even better.

Go digital.
Millennial and Gen Z employees are digital natives, and they want to know that a company isn’t stuck in the Dark Ages in terms of organizational and management tools. Use of digital tools like fleet management software can go a long way toward showing younger talent that the company is solidly in the 21st century. Employees in this age bracket will appreciate fewer paper records as well as the ability to send and receive job order information or get optimized driving instructions via an app. An app also can grant more autonomy to users – for example, a driver collect signature and invoice a customer right from the software – which helps younger employers feel like they are important contributors to the business’s success.

Not to be discounted is the simple fact that the software makes life easier in general due to better organization and streamlined operations, getting everyone on the same page at the same time. Don’t forget, your younger employees may never have had to get up to change the channel, find a payphone to make a call, use a library to look up information or read a map to get to the right place. 

Showing that your company is implementing new technologies that all employees can use to work more efficiently can go a long way toward attracting the type of talent you need to keep moving forward. They won’t need a nap pod if you can keep them engaged with cool tech.

Next step: puppy-friendly offices. (Maybe? Please?)

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