20 October 2014

Why and how
to attract
young talent

It is becoming increasingly important for companies to attract and retain young talent. Generation Y (people who are 30 years old and younger) already makes up for 15% of the European population and 40% of the workforce in for instance France. Logically this percentage will only grow. This new generation holds the future of work and your company.

Generation Y is radically different and searches for different benefits in a job. But instead of talking about them, InZpire asked them. In this case Maria Suliga (27 years old), who works at HZPC Poland as a board assistant since 1-½ years. “In my work I do everything necessary to assist the manager and organize the office. This makes my work very varied. I do all kinds of paperwork, help out in accounting, with foreign logistics and virtually anything that comes up at the office. There are 9 employees with HZPC Poland all together, but only 3 of them work in the office. You can imagine we help each other a lot. I really like the variation and challenges that brings.

Before I started working for HZPC, I was an English teacher. Funny thing is, I gave English lessons to my present colleagues. But I was bored with my teaching job; it became very repetitive. I like learning new things, so when HZPC was hiring and they asked me to apply, I was interested. Although they asked someone with experience in accounting, which I didn’t have, we agreed I would try. My English skills would come in handy and I got the opportunity to follow an education in accounting. I’m hoping to graduate this year and I am very happy with my job.”

“I can bring fresh ideas they wouldn’t come up with.”

Why attract young talent

Young talent brings fresh ideas and new skills to your company. Young employees aren’t stuck in the way things have been done. They have ideas and want to be heard. Having young professionals in your company will increase your voices for change and provide additional ideas for how to do it best.

Maria Suliga: “When I first came to work here I was really impressed with the knowledge and experience of the colleagues. They have been working with HZPC for a long time and know so much about varieties and the field they are working in! I learned a lot from them. Now I also see the things I can bring them. For instance when it comes to working techniques. For me it is natural to get things of our computer system quickly, while my colleagues have the tendency to print and store information physically. Also when organizing things, I can bring fresh ideas they wouldn’t come up with. But I want to stretch that I really don’t feel a generation gap. We all have friendly relationships and help each other out when necessary. I think it is good for companies to have a healthy balance between experienced people and young ones for novelties.”

It’s important to feel like you make a difference.

How to attract young talent

“The agricultural industry isn’t very appealing to young people”, says Maria Suliga. “So you have to attract young people with something. Give them an opportunity. This can be to travel, to develop themselves, or to learn new things. Naturally money is appealing to young people; they want to buy their own house or start a family. But as a motivation, money isn’t enough. It’s important to feel like you really make a difference, your position really means something to the organization. Don’t let young people always do the easy or maybe even dirty jobs. Listen and really appreciate the opinion of young people. Don’t just look at positions or years of service. Be open to fresh ideas and changes. The mix of generations will result in something good.” 

HZPC and young talent

In 2013 Young HZPC started. Young HZPC organizes an annual meeting for all employees under the age of 31. They meet at a different location every year and see how things are organized in the host country. There is time for training, but also time to socialize. The young professionals not only come from different countries and backgrounds, but also work in different fields. The exchange of knowledge, experiences and opinions is perceived as very valuable. It makes international contacts easier and stimulates the participants to speak their minds. 

Furthermore HZPC provides the group with special tasks and problems to solve. For example: how to get young people eating more potatoes. To gather new ideas and solutions for certain issues, HZPC uses this ones a year opportunity to pick the brain of all young people within the international organization.