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Recruiting For The Ages Business Resources

by Gina Petrello-Pray, Contributing Editor

Converters need to recruit and groom the next generation of leaders now. But the old rules of recruiting no longer apply since the up-and-comers have higher expectations and more demands.

Did you know that in just a few years there will be more workers over the age of 40 than workers under 40? By 2010, about one-fourth of your employees are going to be eligible for retirement. Many of you will try to create a work environment that will convince them to forgo the leisurely pleasures of the golf course for the frantic pace of the office. While this may be a viable and mutually beneficial solution, remember that it is only short-term. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. In other words, your company needs to be recruiting and grooming the next generation of leaders now. But be aware, the old rules of recruiting no longer apply since the up-and-comers have higher expectations and more demands.

In many aspects, the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and the early 1960s) built the dynamic economy we have today. They stuck it out at work, performing the same job for the same company, even if they were unhappy. They demonstrated loyalty to their company and in return looked to the organization for security. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, companies were no longer loyal to these employees and laid off a significant number of boomers leaving them to compete for jobs with the young and hungry Generation X followed by Generation Y. The playing field dramatically changed.

Generation X (born between the mid ‘60s and late ‘70s) and Generation Y (generally late ‘70s –‘90s) do not fear the baby boomers or view them as competitors. They see the aging workforce and smell opportunity. They know that the torch is being passed and they are eager to take it. However, the same pitch that worked on boomers is likely to get a yawn from these groups. These workers go where they think the best options and opportunities are and want immediate answers.

While distinctions can be made between Generation X and Generation Y, they do share much in common. They are both tech savvy and career driven. They are interested in challenging and meaningful work, access to decision makers, increasing responsibilities and performance-based compensation and benefits. They seek a casual work environment, telecommunication options and time off to enjoy life.

Gen X and Gen Y command a powerful segment of the workforce and have made it clear that to capture their attention, organizations need to incorporate special efforts on the hiring front. Here are few suggestions on how to vie for their attention and keep their interest:

Use the Internet to reach them. The web wins over traditional media as their primary source of information. Provide them with on-line tools to learn more about your company and interact with recruiters.

Respond within 24 hours to an inquiry or resume. This new generation is an impatient lot. As stated in our last article entitled Building Your Future Workforce, a study by Perception vs. Reality: Jobseeker Behavior Online, reports that 99 out of 100 jobseekers expect an immediate acknowledgement after applying online.

Create a modern and upbeat job description. Emphasize training and opportunities to learn and grow. Market how you are an “employer of choice.”

Create a high impact message about your company culture. Deliver a work-life balance. These groups want flexibility while developing their careers. Demonstrate that you value employee input and support worker needs. Provide such things as refreshments, exercise breaks and other perks.

There’s no doubt that sweeping changes are in the making. Success in recruitment and retention will be based upon how well your company is able to market itself, capture attention and present exceptional job opportunities. Gen X and Gen Y may seem a bit high maintenance, but the potential rewards will benefit the future growth of your organization. Start now in preparing your business to accommodate and embrace the future of hiring and what is to come.

Gina Petrello-Pray recently launched her new search firm, Enterprise Asset Search (EAS), of Solon, OH, specializing in the flexible packaging and converting industries in North America. She can be reached at (440) 715-0040 x206 or gina@enterpriseasset.com.