How to corporate with young people
Regardless of the time period, no one – or at least no one in their right mind – has been able to fully comprehend what young people think or wish. Nonetheless, it has become more and more obvious that these young, creative minds are the ones that hold a huge potential, which brings impact in the business environment. And they are easier to please than it may seem.
According to 26-year-old Yale graduate Ahmed Khattak, who runs a startup with 40 million $ worth of revenues, “There’s little opportunity for growth in corporations. A lot of young people see corporations going the way of the dinosaur.”
And he’s got a point. Young candidates look for new challenges, leadership opportunities and transparency. Their fear of not feeling comfortable in corporations is understandable, but solvable, if approached the right way. It is essential to help young employees unleash their creativity from the start of their career, thus unlocking the loyalty you might otherwise never see. Therefore, they need to feel entrepreneurial and unleash their energy. This is a responsibility of both the employer – who should encourage this type of behaviour, but also of the employee – who shouldn’t wait for a contractual obligation, but instead step up from their job description and deliver outstanding projects and ideas.
Beyond new challenges, young people seek transparency and social responsibility. But, most of them also have no idea how or even if corporations do anything to promote either of these two aspects. Lately, more and more corporations use social media to get their messages across – because it’s cheap advertising and because it seems to somehow create a connection with their younger audience. But young people – maybe future employees – are not exactly impressed. They want awareness campaigns which go beyond a simple message, and actually allow customers to take real action.
Moreover, these young candidates are results-oriented, but they also care for acknowledgment. They want everything out in the open, and they are not big fans of decisions and results that only exist behind closed doors.
So, how do you corporate with young people? Simply said:
- Give them a challenging environment: It can be either multicultural, creative or leadership-based, but it is essential that they feel entrepreneurial.
- Social responsibility doesn’t just sound good : It is. And young people wish to see it become a real concern in corporations. Take action, and get involved in a real, tangible way.
- Transparency: Either way you do it, it counts. Don’t be afraid to use social media, as long as you’re honest and open.
- Acknowledge everything: Results, goals, decisions and even failures. Whichever it is we’re referring to, young people dislike secrecy and closed doors. Make them feel involved.
- Make it feel like home: Emphasize the importance of teamwork and make it feel less like the cold, competitive work environment that young people associate corporations with.
Too pretentious ? Maybe. But truth is, they are the future.