ENGAGEMENT OF YOUNG GENERATIONS IN COMPANIES: THE NEW PICTURE

Written on 02 April 2021.


The globalised job market, which greatly favoured young graduates for several years, made the ability to attract and retain talent a central concern for businesses. Although the crisis has altered the picture, the possibility of recruiting more easily does not exempt organisations from providing a response to questions related to the meaning, the impact and the social utility of the jobs they offer to young generations.     

This is the observation drawn up by the consulting firm BearingPoint and the EDHEC NewGen Talent Centre following their joint survey of young employees and large companies.

Young generations are not mistrustful of, or disinterested in, companies, but they do require their employers to respond to their new expectations. The employer’s engagement with today’s major global issues are a determinant of the employee’s engagement in the company.   

Employees: diverse aspirations in a transforming world

The new generations on the job market convey the ideals and challenges of the age in which they live. In terms of their professional choices, three priorities emerge:  

  • Participating in a collective adventure which exceeds the strict scope of their work is a powerful driver of engagement for young employees, who see it as an encouragement to put their personal skills at the service of the company.
  • Young staff want to experience innovative working methods that foster team spirit in collaborative work spaces. They value a positive working environment and the acquisition of new skills as key factors of motivation.
  • One of the differentiating motivational factors is now the company’s impact on its environment and its ability to respond to problems of diversity and inclusion. Women are particularly sensitive to this issue (16-point gap with their male peers).  

In the face of global challenges, young employees want their companies to engage and to account for the consequences of their growth models. The three challenges they consider the highest priority are a guarantee of good working conditions (59%), the fight against corruption and respect for human rights (both 57%), together with the measurement and control of environmental impacts (57%).  Although they are confident in the ability of organisations to provide a fulfilling working environment, they have doubts on their environmental commitment and are wary of greenwashing.  

By defining engagement in terms of values, collective meaning and challenges, young generations have redrawn the idea of what gives meaning to work: learning, attaining fulfilment, taking responsibility, all while maintaining a satisfactory balance between their professional and private lives. For these young people, succeeding means having a socially useful impact and taking part in a collective adventure that has meaning. The challenge for management tomorrow will therefore be to cultivate employee engagement around values and shared objectives

                                    Manuelle Malot, Director of the EDHEC NewGen Talent Centre

Companies: differentiated engagement strategies

In spite of the health and economic crisis, the recruitment of young graduates continues to take place in a framework of global competition and a shortage of talent. In light of this, certain businesses choose to deploy offensive HR policies offering customized training, mentoring and project-mode working organisations.

Likewise, the Covid-19 crisis has provided the opportunity to recast the social contract that links companies to their staff. The transformation of working and management methods, fuelled by the pandemic, has become a new priority.

  • Teleworking is highly appreciated by staff, but makes it harder to integrate new entrants into the company and for them to assume their functions. Certain organisations opt for more flexible solutions – staggered working hours or part-time working -, these measures often being accompanied by redesigned work spaces offering a high degree of modularity.
  • To respond to growing demand from young people for diversified assignments and experiences, companies are reinforcing career paths for staff, facilitating international mobility and accelerating career progression. Training is another powerful lever being used by companies to strengthen engagement.
  • The company’s involvement in fostering diversity is regularly hailed by employees, especially when it is supported by strong measures, such as the introduction of equal pay between men and women or the company’s engagement with societal issues.
  • Employers that allow their employees to devote working days to charitable actions supported by their company’s Foundation or a partner association is another initiative valued by young generations of workers.   

Attributing the change in expectations to young generations would be a simplification and a short-cut. It’s actually the society in which we live and work that is changing. It’s just that the young generations express themselves more loudly on the subject and are unintentionally becoming spokespersons for the expectations of all employees

Olivier Parent du Chatelet, Partner, BearingPoint

Corporate culture, a lever for retaining talent

Corporate culture is a key vector of engagement. It influences the day-to-day experience of employees and their fulfilment. To strengthen corporate culture, companies are offering staff the chance to be their ambassadors, by giving them the chance to testify to their experience and share it on their communication channels.

For more information on the survey - in French

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