Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting a foot in the door

A few days ago, I was talking to a bunch of young inspirational players from Saatchi & Saatchi. They were telling me how difficult it was to break into the job market nowadays. First up we talked about how important it was to have a positive, upbeat personality, and to get past that horrific first barrier of a process-driven HR Department. Then we got onto making CV’s more personal, more human, more interesting. How to make them interactive and engaging by using pictures and ideas, not just lists of qualifications. But it struck me that all of this was only half the problem. It also brought to mind what John F. Kennedy said during his inaugural speech...“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” So instead of focusing on what young talent can offer us as businesses, I want to share with you what I think we should offer today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders. It boils down to four things I believe young people are looking for today:

  • responsibility

  • learning

  • recognition

  • joy
If you fail on any one of these four, they’ll leave you. In a complex and changing world, many companies still put too much value on value hierarchy, continuity, power and pressure, and run their staff through command and control. Well, they are going to miss out on the greatest competitive differentiator of all - talent. Responsibility, learning, recognition and joy are four things we all deserve, and four things we should make sure are part of our days and part of the lives of everyone we employ.