Attracting A Younger Workforce

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(By Laurie Kahn) Recently I was asked what radio can do to attract the younger workforce. Most companies are still grappling with how to attract and manage millennials, and now we are starting to learn more about the Gen Z generation — those born after 1995.

There are a few broadcasters who have done an outstanding job of reaching out to the younger generations. Overall, most of us really need to embrace big changes in how to “attract, hire, and retain” all ages, and not just the younger groups.

One of the first steps is to take a long, hard look at your company. Is the mission statement updated and reflective of your culture? Do you follow up on promises? Do people love coming to work and growing their career with you, or do you have continual turnover? Is your workspace up to date, clean, and welcoming? Is your pay consistent with your market cost of living? Do you invest in training? Are you flexible? How do you let others in the industry and in your community know about these things?

These are some important questions to ask. If you don’t have the answers, try putting in a suggestion box, or have individual meetings with your employees to find out what they think, why they joined you, and why they stay. Exit interviews are a great source of information and should be done for each person who departs. Letting people express their feelings about office change can be rewarding not just for you and the company, but for the individuals, as it shows you care about their opinion — and that is empowering.

The new generations of workers are looking for an employer they can trust, who can help them grow in their career, one who doesn’t hide things and is open in communication. They want to know that what they are presenting to clients can be delivered. They are interested in giving back and helping the community, and are very entrepreneurial. They are creative and have lots of good ideas.

These generations are very research-oriented and will do their homework on you, your company, and your products before you ever speak with them. They won’t waste time on long informational conversations or jump through hoops to get your attention. If you take a week to get back to one of them, more than likely they will have moved on to another opportunity.

Suggestions to help attract them include having an updated social media presence. You will only get their attention for a short visit, so it is imperative to have strong reasons for them to consider you as an employer right off the bat. Use your website to share what you do for the community, why people like working for you, and how you have helped people in their careers. Sell your opportunity to them!

Update your social media pages on LinkedIn — both your company and your personal page. They will look for someone they can relate to, so use a friendly but professional picture. Share stories of yourself as a manager and why people succeed under your leadership. Share updates about jobs well done at your company. Ask for and include testimonials from past employees or clients on how well you do your job.

Use local events to promote yourself as a great employer. Supply your on-air staff with key selling points to talk you up at remotes, concerts, and other large gatherings. You can ask that any promotional people who are out and about at summer events start talking you up and looking for prospects to speak to about their career.

Host a fun event where your younger staff is involved in networking and talking about your company. Some companies are even offering “pop-up” events to attract prospects. Pick a topic like branding, marketing, or how to look for a job — things that could entice them to check you out. Make it relevant to the event, and offer takeaway tips so there is a benefit for them to spend time with you.

Most importantly, be current. Make sure that your website, social media, recruiting materials, etc., are up to date. Nothing will turn them off more than seeing out-ofdate information.

Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.

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Laurie Kahn
Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Several things you said are 100% on-point, and why I turned down offers from stations before winding up where I am. It’s amazing how many folks in hiring roles fail at basic communication and follow-through with candidates. A piece I would add to this article is to be open and honest about the culture and environment of your workplace. Transparency is important to younger talent, and we’ve grown up being trained to see through the veil of a good sales pitch. Facilitate time for candidates to meet folks who would be their co-workers. Not in an interview setting, but in a more casual manner that allows the candidate the freedom to ask questions they may not bring up in a more formal environment, or with someone that would be their superior. This not only provides opportunity for you to receive additional feedback from one of your team members, but also shows the candidate that you have trust in your team to represent the company, and that there is nothing being “held back” by someone trying to persuade a candidate to accept a position.

  2. Until radio station owners commit to massive improvements in on-air presentations and the production of more tolerable and effective local advertising, any promises to a group of even younger suits, no matter how they are garbed, will fall on already cynical and practically, deaf ears.
    Radio has been gut-shot for decades and has only learned to diminish the wincing – and the limp.
    It is more difficult, however, to compensate for the pungent aroma from the gangrene that is pervasive in many radio bodies. That’s a stench from which everybody automatically recoils. It’s an evolutionary survival response.

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