How to attract Gen Y talent

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Gen Y advisers are not just the busy, always-connected professionals that we are led to believe. There is another key attribute of this new generation that advice practices will need to take into account.

Companies looking to attract the best Gen Y talent should consider promoting social programs that create shared values within their organisation.

Allan English knows this better than anyone. He is chairman of Silver Chef, one of the top 50 Great Places to Work in Australia, according to BRW.

English says that while a number of companies run successful workplace programs, the key is to make sure that these initiatives are not just a ‘tick of the box’ but actually contribute back to the community, and prospective employees know about this.

“Young people today want to do something bigger – they want to have a greater sense of purpose with their work rather than just a pay packet,” says English.

English formed a vision for Silver Chef, called the 2020 vision. By the year 2020, Silver Chef aims to have helped more than one million people get out of poverty, working with Opportunity International Australia – a microfinance organisation that gives families living in poverty a hand up by providing small loans, enabling them to start small businesses and work their way out of poverty.

“We had always had a way of identifying top talent, but once we transferred our shared values from a management level down to every layer of the business, we found that we began hiring nine out of 10 of the best Gen Y talent coming to us, and to date, Silver Chef has already helped to transform the lives of 358,313 families living in poverty,” English says.

“By being involved with Opportunity, I knew I could inspire and motivate my staff, creating a higher purpose for us all to work towards.”

There are a few steps involved in creating a vision, says English.

First, identify a cause that makes you feel uncomfortable about society – whether it’s the homeless man you see on the way to work, or youths addicted to drugs and alcohol. Then identify a charitable organisation that is working in that particular area.

“They then go through the brave step of allocating, say, 10% of profits to go towards a vision or a cause,” says English.

Give yourself a timeframe, and with the charity, create a vision of the impact you will have in your local community by that time. Share that with the leadership team and have values workshops with staff.

Firms can do ‘match-giving’, by matching each donation that employees give.

“It’s identifying a cause, getting a vision about what that cause looks like, then sharing with staff…Sharing in the interview process, ‘what we do that’s different to all the others’.”