Five mistakes HR is making with young people

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  1. Know your resources
    “Subsidized programs like these can be a good way to find good staff in a low risk way,” Wallace said. “It’s a program that builds self-esteem and skills to bridge the gap.” Do some research into programs in your area that may connect you with young people who are eager to work. This could be a co-op internship program through your local university or college, or a subsidized paid placement through an organization such as JVS Toronto. 
  2. Communicate expectations
    “Employers get disappointed with workers who don’t work hard enough, but it may come from employers not being clear,” Coates said. Set out the expectations and rewards for meeting them early and often, making it clear how young people can move up in the organization. Don’t be too positive, because it can lead to disillusioned employees. Be honest about the job requirements.
  3. Let go of misconceptions
    Baby boomers are competitive, inflexible workaholics and Gen X are individualistic and don’t like authority. Generalizations get made about every peer group, but an individual doesn’t necessarily fit those descriptors. Don’t assume every 23-year-old expects to work from home and be promoted within the year.
  4. Develop training opportunities
    “Employers need to step up to the table and start training people,” Langille said. “I don’t entirely believe in the skills gap, I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone can complete four years of university there’s no reason they cannot be training in the right skill set.” He emphasized the importance of promote-from-within programs for retaining staff after training periods are done.


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