Two constant issues persist in the ever-changing retail IT industry: hiring and retaining the next generation. A common challenge for VARs and ISVs is knowing where to start and which strategies are most effective. To better understand what’s working, we reached out to two next-generation retail IT leaders for advice to steer solution providers on an effective path:
- Allie Haskell, Manager of Implementation and Support Services at CBS NorthStar
- Brianna Moriarty, Partner Development Manager at Star Micronics America and RSPA Board Member
What recruiting/hiring technique is your organization using to hire the next generation?
Haskell: “We are utilizing a few social media platforms for hiring; LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and a few others. We understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for this. Some next generations don’t identify with only the ‘new norms.’ And we are still, of course, utilizing job boards and other websites to post open jobs.
“What’s really resulted in the best hires for us is employee references. Your people and teams should be able to help recruit because they love being there. People want to feel connected to where they are working and with who. Defining who you are as a business with a story and mission for people to connect to will help be more appealing to those younger hires.”
Moriarty: “We’re focusing on promoting open positions through social platforms like LinkedIn and strongly relying on referrals from current employees. We are making sure that job titles and descriptions align with what the next generation is looking for. We’ve also put an emphasis on a hybrid work model.”
What are the 1-2 most important career elements for next-generation employees to stay with current employers?
Haskell: “For me, as a ‘younger’ mother in the workforce, one of the essential elements is work-life balance. Do you know that more than half of the millennials have kids? We are also the first workforce to have access to technology at our fingertips for every second of the day. In theory, we are always on, at home and work. I need to know that my boss trusts me to get my job done, and they also need to understand that I need the ability to be just mom at times. Working at a company that understands that is huge for me.
“Transparency is huge. I think we have a unique desire for leaders who are open and more transparent. They don’t want phony; they want authenticity. If you choose to be open and honest with your team, you can help them feel valued. By showing your teams how much you value their contributions and opinions, you build a foundation of trust and loyalty that fosters more employee advocacy – helping to strengthen your culture. And lastly – sorry for the third but culture is king for many. If you have a toxic culture – good luck.”
Moriarty: “The most important career element for me as a next-generation employee is growth potential. In my years with Star, I’ve already experienced a lot of growth and look forward to continuing that. I think it’s important for companies to clarify that growth is not always vertical. It’s more important to focus on learning opportunities, taking on more responsibility, and contributing to the organization, rather than focusing on a title change or formal promotion.”
What is your preferred work environment and why?
Haskell: “I really enjoy being in the office. I am a social person, so being around people fuels me and helps drive me forward. Being able to physically see the impact I am making on our teams and products – lights my fire to keep driving change. When people are together, working face-to-face, that is where the connection between people and processes is built. Trust and teamwork thrive. But I can see why more and more people are pushing for a hybrid workspace. Less commute, more time to just be plugged in, not losing time driving to and from, comforts of home. The appeal is there for sure, but I am ‘Team In Office.’”
Moriarty: “I love having the flexibility to work remotely. We’re all busy, and sometimes taking five minutes to do the dishes or run a load of laundry during your ‘workday’ can make a huge difference in work-life balance. However, I do think for certain roles (including mine), it is important to have that face-to-face interaction with your team. I prefer a hybrid work environment with the flexibility to work from home or be in the office as needed.”
Haskell: “Lots of thoughts on this topic. Facts show that Millennials will be 75% of the global workforce within 10 years. Next year, they will account for 36% of the American workforce. Safe to assume, you will be hiring them in the very near future. Understanding how to hire them, support them, and work with them will be key.”
Moriarty: “There is a common misconception that the next generation of employees needs to be ‘coddled.’ While it’s easy to think that, I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. It’s important to remember that the next generation of employees grew up with a world of information at their fingertips. While it’s easy to Google ‘how to use Excel’ or other skills, they cannot simply look up how to bring value to a customer or understand a company culture or workflow. When it comes to the next generation, communication is critical, and there is no such thing as over-communication.”
RSPA and its members continue to collaborate and find ways to drive impact. A prime example is best practice sharing that takes place in the RSPA Community meetings. The RSPA NextGEN Community meets monthly to provide a support network and resources for future generations and their companies to advance in the retail technology industry. If you would like to get involved in the NextGEN Community, please email RSPA VP of Member Services Ashley Naggy at ANaggy@GoRSPA.org.