The youth of today are the workforce of tomorrow. It is important that all businesses, not just the big corporates, invest and hire young people to ensure their own future success.
Many businesses, especially small business, shy away from hiring young people/job seekers because of the challenges they present. It is often believed that young talent lack loyalty to the organisation, are unmotivated, difficult to manage and want more for doing less, over and above lacking skills and experience. It is this hesitation that is a major cause for youth unemployment throughout Africa as employees prefer to wait for candidates who have gain experience elsewhere as opposed to investing in young talent themselves.
However, with calls on the private sector and incentives from government to assist in curbing youth unemployment, investing in young talent has become necessary and, for the sake of a stable future economy, absolutely essential.
Yet, far from being an unprofitable obligation, a simple understanding of this next generation will go a long way to making youth employment an investment for your small business.
Attitude determines ability
When hiring a young employee, place a candidate’s attitude over their skills. While skills are easily taught, attitudes are difficult to change but often determines how they apply themselves and their knowledge to a task.
“To retain your young talent, provide them with opportunities that challenge them”
Coach the talent
Have a good balance between mature and young staff or if your business is very small (under 10 employees including management), act as a mentor yourself. A mentoring programme will help develop the young employees’ abilities and encourages company loyalty.
The formula for success
Despite perceptions that the youth today don’t want to be told what to do, clearly outlining expectations – ensuring that they understand the office culture and providing clear guidelines for how they can achieve success both for a specific task and in the workplace in general – will help them thrive.
The thrill of the chase
Many employers prefer not to invest skills into young employees as they are known to change jobs frequently and don’t end up benefiting from their skills investment. However, keep in mind that young employees are doing entry level jobs – work which is often unexciting or unstimulating which will cause them to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
To retain your young talent, provide them with opportunities that challenge them; where they can learn and grow. Although tedious work is part of every job description and necessary to the functioning of a business, balance it with work that employees find meaningful. New recruits care about their career development and if they are not moving forward in their current organisation, they will seek it by moving elsewhere.
By heeding the call to assist in combating youth unemployment and understanding how to gain the most from new recruits, investing in young talent can be beneficial to the future of your small business, the youth and the economy as a whole.
About the author: Kay Vittee is the CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions (Pty) Ltd one of South Africa’s leading staffing solutions provider. She’s a business woman holding a Masters in Business Administration, a B.Com (Banking and Economics) and various other financial and marketing qualifications. Kay’s business acumen and success have made her a sought after speaker and thought leader.