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Give a teenager a seat at the table

We hear we are in the middle of a war for talent! What will be next? What is to come? We do wonder. Brexit, crises, politics and a global world that moves as fast as ever. Fourth industrial revolution or not, the truth is, we all know how hard it is to keep good talent in our companies. Some of us have been recruiters or work currently in an HR function and see it daily. Others are in teams and feel new colleagues are coming and going constantly draining internal resources. Are we onboarding new people all the time? When we meet friends for dinner there is always someone starting a new job – at least in London.

This climate forces us to think outside the box – be creative. We therefore hear more and more about reverse mentoring, internships – of course these have been around for a long time – but also concepts such as returnships are becoming more prominent. Companies are implementing all sort of digital strategies to reduce turnover. We create solutions that respond to the needs of new generations such as constant feedback, mobile learning, micro-learning and succession planning that allows employees to move from one function to another within the same company.

Apprenticeship, traineeship or company scholarship…what is the future

I had a very interesting conversation with Aaron Spencer, Sales Effectiveness Manager at Cornerstone. We were wondering what would substitute the current education system, as it does not seem to be responding to the needs of the market. We spoke about company scholarships and how powerful these are for companies and students. Could this be the future for all students? Should this be the future for the companies that want to tackle the shortage of talent? It does make sense. Companies recruit students fresh from school and bring them on board shaping them into the perfect employee. When I finished my A levels, many companies that offered company scholarships came to school to recruit us. In fact, I have friends that are still – 10 + years later – working in the very same companies that recruited them back then. These programs were perfect for those who wanted to go to business schools. Companies such as Bosch or Siemens would sponsor their studies and they would have the chance to work in their offices from the first years of university while studying and getting a degree. Almost the perfect combination between an active work-life and education. What makes these programs so interesting is that you gain exposure to different departments and you can try around and define what you want to specialise on during your studies.

I mean, realistically, who of us knew what they wanted to be when they were 18? I still have not figured it out yet and I am in my thirties!

Mentorships but not quite how you think

I had lately an epiphany when I gave my mom – sorry mom – a remote controller. By the time she went to pick up her glasses and figured out where the on and off button was, I am sure my niece would have turned on Netflix, put the popcorn in the microwave and share a picture of the family watching the movie in her Instagram stories.

We see the more senior individuals in our teams as a great source of knowledge and they are! Senior employees are a key asset to every company. In fact, some companies are bringing those senior experts that are retired back to the office. Offering a space to exchange knowledge with the new generations and making sure the information does not get lost. However, this phenomenon goes both ways. The idea reverse mentorships holds is that the youngest in the office do come with a fresh pair of eyes and a mind full of ideas. We should give them the space to try things out, share their views, listen to them and give them tools to pilot micro projects. With a little bit of guidance, you can boost your team with fresh energy.

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Actually, I have a brief experience to share. We had a visit a couple of weeks ago – Beth! She is the reason I am writing this little blog. Beth – 16 years old – spent some days with us in the London office during summer having a work experience week at Cornerstone. For some, to start a Monday spending half of a way with a teenager might sound like a real nightmare. We all have dozens of emails every Monday morning – who has time for this? Personally, it was an interesting experience, sharp questions, great ideas and a lot of energy! After the time with Beth, we had created a mini campaign on social media promoting our open roles on the @JoinCornerstone twitter channel. She took over twitter for some hours, we created new images in Photoshop, scheduled post on Percolate and created a new section called Hot Job of the Month 🔥… in half a day.

A week later I got a thank you card via post from Beth, she was telling me all the things she learnt from the day. It made me smile – it was me who was thankful for her visit. Her positive attitude and passion brought fresh new air to our career channel!  

But as I said, this kind of exchanges go both ways. If we expect the Beths in our companies that come in through internships programs to do photocopies and admin tasks all day, we are missing a huge opportunity. We are literally missing the point! Your company should encourage a culture of curiosity and be open enough to invest time in the younger employees to drive new initiatives and evolve constantly with innovative ideas.

To conclude I would say that, we need to accept the fact that there will be employees coming and going. A good way to tackle that reality is to implement creative HR strategies and recruiting tactics. If we open the limits and pools of profiles we hire, bringing new programs to life, we will be able to be innovative, productive and prepared for any change.

Feel free to share your views with me on twitter @AliciaRoy__ or LinkedIn!

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