Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

The New Nonnegotiables Jobseekers Are Demanding: Are You Prepared to Accommodate Them?

Have you noticed it yet? New applicants are walking into their final interviews armed with a set of nonnegotiables that they fully expect their employers to oblige.

Nonnegotiable

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The checklist includes flexible work schedules, robust wellness options, professional development opportunities, mentoring programs, and a meaningful societal impact as key tenets of the company’s value statement. This is not exactly a small order.

Gone are the days when a decent, competitive salary and a basic health package were enough to entice talent to sign on. Today’s jobseekers, having witnessed the collapse of their parents’ benefits structure, are demanding different, albeit less tangible, perks from prospective employers.

Organizations that hope to attract and retain new talent need to show they can deliver when it comes to the cultural attributes, learning and development opportunities, and engaging work the younger workforce is demanding.

In a job market where talent can afford to play hardball, these asks have attained nonnegotiable status, meaning the employer must comply or the prospective hire walks over to the competition.

Although businesses still report that the skills gap remains the primary obstacle to finding qualified job candidates, they also report losing an eyebrow-raising 40% of their most promising candidates somewhere along the interview process. It’s a clear indication that when candidates discover employers are unable or unwilling to meet their nonnegotiables, they simply abandon the process.

In an interesting marketplace statistic, Gen Z and Millennial employees are willing to take a salary cut (10%–20%, according to the RippleMatch research) if it means they can work with a company that promotes values mirroring their own. Value alignment is the primary driver behind these generations’ roster of nonnegotiables.

Here’s a list of the top nonnegotiables young professionals are holding out for. Is your organization ready to meet their needs?

Multiple Paths to Career Development

Today’s young professionals want access to assistance and guidance when they need them. They’re looking for formal mentoring programs and executive coaches who will enhance their career development.

Additionally, with countless “how-to” resources available on mobile devices, today’s young workers are accustomed to having many choices at their disposal. When these workers start a new job, they expect the same immediate access to powerful tools and learning resources.

They also expect to contribute to crowdsourced learning by adding to resource pages, contributing to chat channels, and mentoring others.

Professional development opportunities actually help foster employee retention, especially if the employee feels there’s room to grow within the business.

Networking Opportunities That Span the Organization

Social networks and 24/7 access to connections with friends, family, and colleagues mean young candidates expect to meet and build relationships across team, departmental, and geographical lines. Enabling these sorts of cross-functional relationships increases employee engagement, productivity, and retention and ultimately creates a stronger talent bench.

Mentorship programs also make it easy and intuitive to connect with others based on shared experience, identity, or specific learning goals.

Work/Play Flexibility

Younger workers follow the credo “work hard, play hard.” Their time away from work is very valuable to them. While they are willing to work hard on the job, they’re especially attuned to when they are being overworked and will move on if they feel their work/life balance is being compromised.

Organizations that offer flexibility in work schedules seed employee content. This can take the form of flex hours, remote days, sabbaticals, and so-called unlimited vacation policies. The benefit of this work/play flexibility to the enterprise is retention.

A Mission Statement That Aligns with Talent Values

A strong mission statement, with a clear and impactful giving component, will help young professionals readily engage with your organization. Emphasize the lines between the work an individual does daily and the organization’s larger purpose.

Create a clear understanding of the work’s benefit to the organization. Entry-level employees who understand the interconnectedness of business units and work roles will, over time, be better strategic thinkers and business-minded leaders. Additionally, you should develop robust onboarding programs that enable conversations with strategic leadership as an important part of conveying the mission to young professionals.

Bottom Line

While maintaining a strong brand reputation and offering a 401(k) matching contribution used to be enough to entice talented employees, those benefits no longer pique the current jobseeker’s interest.  What matters now are the development opportunities you offer and the company’s larger impact on the community. Recruiters facing restricted hiring budgets must find ways to sweeten the pot by acknowledging and facilitating the nonnegotiables talented candidates demand.

Jenn Labin is Chief Talent and Diversity Officer for MentorcliQ, a Columbus-based mentoring software solutions company.