6 Ways to Attract Young Talent to Your Small Business

While age can never be the make or break decision in hiring, learning to attract young talent to your business sets it up for innovation and growth. As Forbes  put it, “The fact is that millennials can bring youthful enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the job, making them a valuable addition to your team.”

Small businesses face many challenges when it comes to recruiting young employees. As Fortune points out, Millennials might be the largest generation in the workforce, but their talents aren’t distributed evenly throughout corporate America. They have flocked to Silicon Valley in such a mass migration that the average age at some companies headquartered there is under 30.”

Furthermore, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal notes that insurance companies have to make 500,000 new hires over the next few years, as waves of industry lifers retire. However, most young people “just don’t want to work for insurance companies,” according to the Journal, which has led some companies to develop brash recruiting campaigns.

Regardless of your industry or where you’re located, there are a number of ways that you as a business owner can attract young talent. Whether you’re hiring your first team member or looking for a fresh perspective, we can help you get young talent on your team.

How To Attract Young Talent To Your Business

Workforce expectations have changed with the Millennial and younger generations. Whereas Boomers and GenXers were encouraged to be more focused on working for a paycheck and less focused on company culture, younger employees expect more.

This Deloitte article surveying Millennials in the workplace found that the group has a strong desire for a people-focused workplace that has a purpose. A lofty 44 percent of the 8,000+ workers surveyed said they’d like to leave their workplace in the next two years.

Why? A perceived lack of leadership along with work/life balance issues and other work cultural issues. You can help create a pleasing work opportunity for young talent by implementing the six ideas listed here.

1. Create An Attractive Work Environment

Creating an overall attractive and healthy work environment is important to young people.  They’re attracted to workplace wellness as a whole. They’ve watched their parents and grandparents work themselves into the ground with little benefit, and they want more for their own lives.

Related: Using Workplace Wellness To Boost Morale And Productivity 

You can create an attractive work environment by taking steps such as the ones listed below.

Offer Job Flexibility

Job flexibility is important to young people. Many are dedicated to their work but still committed to personal health and familial/friend relationships.

One way you can cater to that desire is by offering job flexibility. Depending on the type of business you run, that flexibility can occur in a number of ways, such as:

  • Flexible shifts such as 4-10 hour days with one day a week off
  • Options to work from home one or more days a week
  • Split shifting a full-time job with another employee

The goal? Find a way to get the work done while being open to innovative ideas on how to do it. Brainstorm with your current employees to ask their opinions on how your company can accomplish this.

If you try an idea and it doesn’t work, you can always try again or go back to what you were doing before. But truthfully, there are many advantages to implementing a flexible work schedule such as, lower stress, increase employee satisfaction and result in higher productivity when done right.

Consider Performance-Based Bonuses

While younger workers tend to be more culture and purpose-focused, they still love to earn a buck. Make your business more attractive by implementing some performance-based bonus options.

For instance, you could reward employees for finding new talent by offering a referral bonus. Greg S. of Minnesota is a roloff bin driver for a large waste management company. He’s made several thousand dollars over and above his salary the last three years by taking advantage of the company’s referral bonus system.

His company pays increasing bonuses to the referring employee and the new hire as the new hires stay on and improves in their job. These types of performance-based bonuses can be a major draw to the younger generation.

You can tie the bonuses to an employee’s growth in their current position, or to other ways they can help your business thrive. Just pay them for going above and beyond to make your company a better place to work.

Incorporate Team Building

The younger generations want to feel connected with others–especially with so much disconnection due to our electronics-focused world. You can implement team building within your business by creating a familial type of atmosphere where team members can connect.

For instance, you can plan monthly office outings or short parties during work hours. Plan afternoons at the local arcade or a group hike at a state park. Or plan monthly office potlucks that include games or local entertainment.

The scheduled fun time within the workplace shows that you care about your employees beyond what they can do for your business.

Focus on Creating A Positive Company Culture

“Company culture” is a powerful term in today’s workplace. Potential employees are far more likely to accept a job with your company–and stay at that job–if you’ve created a positive company culture.

Company culture encompasses elements such as ethics, values, goals, and expectations. It’s the core of what your company’s mission is and how you want to present your company to the world.

You can improve company culture in your business by:

  • Encouraging creativity
  • Working with your employees to guide your company’s path
  • Listening to concerns and suggestions
  • Celebrating employees and clients regularly

Work to create a company culture that shows integrity and value.

2. Incorporate Purpose And Meaning Into Daily Work Life

Purpose and meaning are two more valuable job descriptions for young workers. In order for today’s young workers to be happy, they need to feel as if their career has purpose and meaning.

That might mean tieing a social purpose to your company. For instance, you can implement optional charitable payroll deductions to non-profit organizations.

Or, you can have quarterly service days where your team helps out at the local homeless shelter or third-world feeding ministry. The goal is to tie doing good with going to work.

From a career standpoint, having purpose in your business means helping team members making a difference within the company. One way to accomplish this is by giving employees extra responsibilities that encourage use of their purpose within the office.

Tie those responsibilities with each person’s strengths. As an example, if you have an employee that is great at organizing social events, delegate your office’s monthly work gathering planning to that employee.

Make use of your team’s talents by giving them responsibilities that help them make a difference, and plan group activities that do social good.

3. Stay Innovative

Young workers have grown up in a time of incredible advancement in technology. They’re used to living in a world that is constantly changing and growing.

Keep them satisfied in their jobs by staying innovative in your business. Ask them for opinions on how the company can stay up with changing times. Encourage them to seek out new tools and ideas that will help your business grow.

Then reward them for a job well done.

4. Encourage Personal Growth

Encouraging personal growth is vital to attracting young talent as well. Don’t expect them to stay in the same job with the same responsibilities for years on end.

Instead, have quarterly “growth” meetings with them. Ask them what their five-year plan is and work to mentor them as they achieve it–even if it means they might use that growth to move on.

Or, better yet, use their growth to help create growth within your business. Create positions and job responsibilities that can maximize both their potential and your company’s potential.

5. Connect With Potential and Current Employees On Social Media

You may as well face it: we live in a time where social media is king. In order to stay on top of your game, your business (and you personally) needs to have a Linkedin account, Instagram account, Twitter account and more.

The younger generations connect well emotionally via social media outlets. Use them to bond with potential and current employees. In addition, have younger employees take on the job of managing your social media accounts.

They often know how to use them to connect with both your clients and your pool of future employees.

6. Partner With Local Colleges and Universities

Is there a specific university near you with a program that aligns with your company’s interests? Many colleges and high schools offer students credit for doing internships. This can be a great way to get fresh talent into your company.

As interns are connecting within your company, they can offer new perspectives on how you do things. One of the most valuable things that interns bring is an awareness of their generation.

Understanding these attitudes can help you craft your hiring experience to be attractive to young people, which is a competitive advantage over companies that aren’t innovating in this area.

By forming a relationship with local schools, you can get name recognition out there and start forming relationships with potential employees early.


Attracting younger workers means creating an environment where they feel comfortable and can thrive. They want a lot more than just a paycheck, they want to make a difference too.

You can create a company that young, talented workers find attractive. Doing so will get them eager to see what you have to offer, and to work for a company that’s interested in more than just the bottom line.

6 Ways to Attract Young Talent to Your Small Business

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