Bostjan Bregar, CEO of The Loop, gives his thoughts
The short answer to this question is that it has really never been more important for businesses to invest into ways for employing young people. Why? Simply put, young people are the number one secret ingredient to building a successful business.
Young people bring a fresh perspective looking at the world differently. They’ve got the drive and ambition to go head first into any kind of business challenge. They also have truck loads of energy - something I’m particularly envious of - and vital for working in a startup like ours. The thing I love the most though, is that young people don’t have their minds made up yet. They aren’t restricted by the need to play it safe, they’re not scared by the possibility of failure and they haven’t been taught how to think. In fact, I firmly believe that young people are the driving force behind the changes within our industry at the moment.
Yet with youth unemployment rates starting to see a downturn- I know I’m not the only CEO who’s focused on reaching out to this group of stellar future employees. So we’ve found ourselves having to compete for the best talent. The onus is now on us as employees to invest in ways to attract a younger workforce. Young people have the pick of the bunch when it comes to employment options and they should know their worth.
Every employer should be on the lookout for this kind of talent – taking care of their needs, being flexible for the way they work and the way they want to communicate. All of this is so important. For the magic sauce though, the ingredient that will make these young guns choose your business over anyone elses, you need to make them feel part of your company and to do that you need to find new and exciting ways for them to engage with your business. And that’s got to happen well before they sign their employment contract!
Simply put, if they love the feel of the company and the environment you work in, they’ll pick you.
Great team vibes are the best vibes.
For us that means investing valuable time in potential recruits. We send out our best people out of the office to meet face to face with the talent we want to attract, and that means going directly into the eye of the storm. We wanted to go and meet the brightest young people where they’re already hanging out – for us this meant going to tech challenges and local hackathons. We don’t just turn up though. We really invest in the meet ups as a traditional financial partner of course, it’s our way in to the building. Once there though, we also invest a lot of time meeting and hanging out with the great young minds who are there. We learn more about what they’re doing and how they’re thinking through real communication and genuine interest.
In addition to meeting young people face to face locally, we’ve also devised a four-week long summer challenge which we’re pretty excited about. We’ve held four so far, two in London, one in Lisbon and most recently one in Sicily. The challenge sees potential team members working on a week long challenge alongside some of our most experienced people - and the best in the business.
We get to know potential employees better than we ever could at a networking event or interview. And they learn really important skills before they walk through the office doors. While working hard for four weeks, they also get to play hard - going surfing or hiking for example. Whilst in Sicily, we recently took a group hiking up one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Etna. What better way to gain some creative perspective than scaling 3,350m!
Seeking inspiration and innovative ideas on a volcano.
What’s so great about these trips is that we not only get to know individuals on a really deep level but they also get to know us on that level too. And this is the crux, when you’re talking to young people there’s no longer a hierarchy between employer and employee. The power isn’t just in our hands to decide who joins our company. Young people are just as much in control. They’re able to make the choice from several offers and we need to stand out as much as they do.
One of the teams of our Summer challenge 2018 enjoying a great view in Catania (Sicily), while thinking of innovative programming solutions.
Ultimately, when it comes to growing the team and in turn growing our business we need to leverage the best we’re able to offer new employees. In this market, investing in working with the type of young people who will be the future of our company, it's paramount and the best investment you can make.