Do we really know what it takes to employ young people?

Do we really know what it takes to employ young people?


I had a meeting with a prospect, and we discussed his difficulties in hiring new, young employees. Later that day I was driving my 20-year-old daughter back to college. 5 hours of conversation made me think: do we really know what it takes to employ these young people?

The prospect was trying to hire salespeople the traditional way, by offering compensation based on a generous commission for successful deals. Does this work today? Can we motivate young employees with the offer of monetary reward?

My daughter is talking about a lot of things; what makes her curious, why she is motivated to go to certain classes, her desire to explore other countries and different cultures, vision, personal fulfillment and dreams. She does not mention anything about making money.

There are a lot of articles about this issue, and it is important to understand how to approach the young workforce.  The Forbes article “7 Surprising Ways To Motivate Millennial Workers  says that we need to connect Millennial employees to the company’s vision, develop a roadmap, give encouragement and feedback, offer flexibility and provide education and professional development.

We don’t always see the obvious. Peer Advisory Boards and Executive Coaching are essential platforms in which to learn what we don’t know. It took only a one-hour meeting for the prospect to realize that his hiring policy, which worked successfully for years, would need to be revamped to address the agenda of the new workforce. He sees clearly now that hiring young people requires more than just generous compensation. By providing an objective outside view of his challenges, I was able to help this prospect rethink his hiring strategy. The prospect will become a TAB member in a few weeks. In our meeting, he learned what I have long understood: an advisory board plays a vital role in tackling challenges and issues that arise when running a business.