Commentary: For the first time in history, the current workforce spans four generations with more than 70 years of experience, knowledge, and expertise. In this highly competitive job market, candidates are changing the way they look for jobs and in turn companies are reassessing their recruitment and retention strategies. Creating a culture that speaks to todays job seekers is the key to recruiting and maintaining top talent across all generations and if managed properly, it can be a key differentiator for an organization.
Evolving the job description
Candidates today begin their job search with less of a focus on finding a position that aligns to their skill and more attention on how a potential role in an organization can add value both for themselves and for their potential employer.
Demonstrating how your company fosters a candidates growth is an important recruiting tactic that begins within the job description. Using language of opportunity instead of responsibility can help catch the eye of todays top talent. But in order to do this, companies must be able to define the opportunity in the context of their mission having the ability to relate a vision to each and every available position.
AmerisourceBergen, like many businesses, is actively hiring talent for positions ranging from customer service representatives to pharmaceutical engineers, but each competency profile is focused on how the career path will allow the company to deliver on its mission to be a global health care solutions leader. Leveraging your companys mission in order to show how talent can add value to the company is an invaluable tip that appeals to candidates of every generation.
Adopt an integrated culture
Getting multigenerational talent in the door is just the first step. Maintaining a culture where diverse perspectives, priorities and work styles are celebrated and encouraged is what will prepare the high potential candidates of today for the leadership positions of tomorrow. Training and learning opportunities can foster this culture of growth for all employees no matter their age, level of experience or position within the company.
Throughout my experience in recruitment and human resources, I have been a part of organizations that surround their leaders with a culture of celebrity that walls off the highest level of the organization from the majority of employees. But in todays mission-driven work force, supervisors and even C-level executives should be visible, approachable and willing to mentor their teams for their own eventual leadership roles.
AmerisourceBergen, for example, offers an array of programs where employees are given the opportunity to interact with high-level leadership for career advice and coaching to develop the skills that will someday make them the top leaders of their generation. In the last 12 months, AmerisourceBergen has trained over 500 leaders, allowing employees to work together and share knowledge by engaging them to participate in the inclusive culture that we work to cultivate.
In addition to creating training and learning opportunities, another key way to properly maintain a multigenerational workforce is by encouraging all leaders to be flexible in their management styles. When leaders are able to recognize the professional environment is no longer one-size-fits-all, people are able to appreciate their differences and focus on what they have in common.
Identifying and acknowledging shared needs will help to create mutual understanding among generations that will allow for more empathetic communication, improved corporate culture, increased innovation and creativity. When it comes to these opportunities, respect is vital. Whether a member of the C-suite or a mid-level manager, all involved must remember that without respect, knowledge transfer and knowledge acceptance are not possible.
Recently, at a leadership meeting that included the top 200 leaders at AmerisourceBergen, AmerisourceBergen CEO Steven Collis said that we manage out jerks. An inclusive culture can only flourish when organizational leaders are aligned to it. Perspective candidates want to work at a place where the companys vision and culture is communicated from the top down and embraced and improved by all jerks will be barriers from allowing this ideal state to come to fruition.
The mission is key
Appealing to a diverse workforce will not only help fill positions quickly, but it will also support the recruitment of high-quality candidates that bring new perspective and bottom-line-impacting ideas to an organization. When the mission of an organization is clear and specific, candidates are able to relate to an organization from the moment they read the job description.
An inclusive culture of this nature cannot exist without a consistent company identity and mission. This mission is then supported by training and learning opportunities that allow employees to excel throughout their career. When all employees are aligned to the same goal, the company can retain existing talent with the compelling option to contribute meaningfully and continue driving toward higher levels of excellence and opportunity. Recruiting and maintaining a multigenerational workforce requires some changes from historic habits, but the benefits of such an environment allow an organizations employees, and in turn its bottom line, to flourish.
Stefanie Perry is vice president of talent acquisition with AmerisourceBergen, a health care services company.
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