Attracting and retaining young talent is one of the main objectives for companies. Incorporating the best profiles that have just joined the labor market into the workforce allows organizations to be more competitive, innovative, and diverse. The implementation of policies aimed at achieving these objectives requires knowledge of the possibilities offered by employment law.

There is no doubt that, although young talent lacks the added value of experience, it possesses skills that companies cannot afford to miss. Disruptive thinking, proactivity, enthusiasm and being digital natives make younger generations a great asset for companies.

We analyze below, from an employment law standpoint, 10 ways in which companies are aiming to attract and retain young talent:

  1. Active social networks. Young talent thrives on social networks, so having an active profile on such networks through which young people can learn about the company, its mission, vision, and values helps to generate a desire to belong, which is the key to success in attracting and retaining talent.
  2. Defined onboarding program. Onboarding is essential to get the new employee relationship off to a good start. Creating a defined onboarding program with clear objectives helps young talent to feel welcome in the company they are joining and, in addition, allows to present all the company’s features and benefits from the very first moment. The creation of handbooks/welcome packets that integrate company policies also help young talent to settle in during their first days in the organization.
  3. Mentoring program. Having a program whereby an experienced professional accompanies young employees in their first steps in the company helps to generate synergies and strengthen the company’s culture. This program also helps the organization to understand the needs and demands of its team members.
  4. Designing training plans for young talent allows them to continuously expand their knowledge. This helps to maintain the constant interest of young talent, regularly trained, and to have more technical and specialized professionals, which results in higher productivity. Depending on the type of training and degree of specialization, it may even be possible to agree with the young talent to be retained to remain in the company for a certain period (up to a maximum of two years), in accordance with Article 21.4 of the Workers’ Statute.
  5. Defined professional development programs. Having clear professional development programs allows young talent to know from the beginning the milestones and timelines of their professional career at the company. The generations identified as young talent are characterized by prioritizing the factors of time and immediacy. Therefore, it is essential to convey that their time in the company has defined objectives and that an adequate professional performance will bring them a clear professional progression. The design of these plans requires a thorough knowledge of the legal regime of professional classification.
  6. Remuneration vs. salary. Salary is not the only thing that young talent looks at when evaluating a position and a company. The notion of salary of traditional employment law is being surpassed and the broader concept of remuneration is being positively valued. Flexible compensation plans or variable compensation plans based on objectives allow to generate a culture of joint objectives and greater involvement and motivation of young talent.
  7. Hybrid work (office and remote work). The possibility of combining office and remote work is highly sought after by young talent. A generation that has been academically trained online in a large percentage of cases and that is characterized by being digital natives requires companies to enable the duality between face-to-face and remote work. Designing a remote work policy that contemplates hybrid work, in compliance with legal requirements, help companies combining the benefits and learning of office work with the adaptability and flexibility of remote work.
  8. Flexibility is key to attracting and retaining young talent, whose personal priorities demand work-life balance mechanisms. Work-family balance measures are useful, but in younger profiles they may not respond to their most immediate needs. Therefore, the key word for young talent is not so much “work-family balance” but “flexibility”. To implement flexibility policies, the legal requirements imposed by labor legislation must be known.
  9. Equality, diversity, and inclusion. Gender equality plans and equality plans for LGTBI people are legal obligations for companies, but they can be something more. Young talent wants to belong to business organizations where equality, diversity, and inclusion are a key element of their organizational culture that they are proud of because it aligns with their own personal convictions.
  10. Recognition of the added value of young talent. Recognition by more experienced professionals in the organization helps young talent to lose their initial “stage fright” and to contribute ideas, proposals, and added value from the very first moment and to forge a sense of belonging to the organization.

In short, considering the perspective of young talent in the design of recruitment and retention policies makes companies desirable places in which to start their professional careers. To achieve this, companies need to have a thorough understanding of the tools provided by labor legislation and a creative approach to modernize their human resources policies within the current legal framework.

María Gan Lázaro

Garrigues Labor and Employment Law Department