Recruiting and retaining top young talent is crucial to support sustained growth.

As this blog has previously addressed, the country is facing an aging workforce, and a potential lack of experienced leadership in coming years. This means that organizations need to focus on developing young talent into future leaders to ensure continued success. For young professionals aware of these trends, choosing an employer can become a daunting task.

Remember back to the years when you were first entering the workforce. The intimidation meeting senior partners, the fear of making a mistake and trying to shake the feeling that university may not have prepared you as thoroughly as you would have liked. If an employer fails to address these concerns, it could soon find its young talent leaving for a more professionally nurturing environment.

Recent generations entering the workforce, in particular members of Gen Y and Millennials, have different expectations of their employers than their predecessors. Failure to understand these needs can lead to expensive turnover. Studies from Experience.com show that 70 percent of Gen-Y employees leave their first job within two years. Fifty-seven percent of Millennials, who will make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020, leave their position within a year. 

"The paradigm has shifted – millennials expect loyalty from their employer, whereas boomers gave loyalty," Forbes explained in a recent article. "It is not A fault or THEIR fault. Downward salary pressure on entry level jobs, competition at all levels, less and less jobs in the market have forced millennials (and other generations) to make spot decisions without the soft landing that has existed in the recent past."

So how can your organization retain its young talent? While there may not be a single simple answer, it is becoming increasingly clear that organization values and culture play a major role. According to a survey performed by Oxford Economics for SAP, younger generations crave more feedback than previous generations, and place more value on work-life balance. 

To attract and retain the top young talent at your organization, the organization's culture must reflect these needs. Mentor programs and and a strong professional training and development program can help keep young employee eyes on the future and committed to improving their leadership skills. Opportunities to work remotely, tuition reimbursement programs or generous time off can help bolster the work-life balance many Millennial and Gen Y workers are looking for, without sacrificing productivity. 

If your organization is encountering difficulties in attracting or retaining young talent, seeking the expertise of a business management consultant can help to identify specific areas of improvement.