Attracting the next generation into the B2B world

Ahead of her Ignite London session*, Michelle Wells, director of brand strategy and corporate communications at Keyloop, discusses the ways in which B2B businesses can attract and retain employees in a post-pandemic world.

As B2B Marketers, we’re used to the war for eyeballs. Trying to cut through the noise, from the tsunami of emails your customers receive to your competitors' advertising campaigns, is tough and knowing your target audience inside out has always been the key to success.

Right now, we’re living in a job seekers' world. 78% of businesses are reporting difficulties in filling positions. So how can companies ensure they’re attracting the right talent and standing out from the crowd - especially in industries where enticing younger talent is already extremely difficult?

What do today’s young job seekers really want?

The world has changed dramatically, and this has had a significant impact on what the next generation prioritises in their search for a job.

No longer is a high salary and a decent benefits package good enough. After work drinks on a Thursday or casual Fridays no longer cut it anymore. Expectations are much higher, and Gen Z and Millennials are more attracted by the work environment than other factors when looking for a great place to work.

That is not to say that paying them well isn’t a good start – after all, if you don’t, someone else will.

But to make the right talent stay, companies need to look within, at the positive social and environmental impacts they have externally, plus their internal culture and then showcase what stands out - and truly live and breathe it.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

It’s time to get creative.

Graduates are a key target audience to help ensure the success of any business. If you don’t recruit new talent, especially in a wave of ever decreasing employee loyalty and the snowballing Great Resignation, many businesses will find themselves stagnant and, ultimately, in a resourcing crisis.

But how do you attract today’s graduates?

You would be surprised by how many companies assume that talent will come to them. This may have been the case 10, maybe even five years ago. But it is now the responsibility of the company to seek out potential talent and to do it in a standout way.

It is easy for businesses to go to University Career Fairs and talk about themselves. However, if you’re an organisation that the younger generation may not have heard about, why would they come to you over someone else?

Today, in a world focused on relationships, smart employers are building deep connections with Universities, with the student ambassadors on campus who have direct access to the people they want you to speak to. These ambassadors also have the benefit of being on the right social media channels and giving their honest feedback. What we noticed when we went down this route was that a lot of B2B businesses focus their attention on LinkedIn and Facebook, because that is where their customers are. But that isn’t where graduates are – they are on Instagram and TikTok.

What can success look like?

The automotive industry is in transition. It is moving towards exploring new ways of transport, exciting technological advancements, and innovations within the field. However, it is not always seen as a first career option by the younger generation. That is because there are many misconceptions about the opportunities and variety of roles that are available. That’s where creativity comes into play.

Keyloop wanted to take the lead in attracting a diverse and younger talent pool into the automotive industry. Which is why, in 2020 we launched our first Keyloop Dealer Tech competition. This scheme is targeted at students from leading Universities across the UK and beyond and focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship in automotive retail. This year we invited teams of students from 15 universities, across the UK, Ireland, and Canada, to develop tech-focused product ideas to improve the car buying or ownership experience.

Over 1,000 students registered their interest in the competition this year and we ended up with some incredible entries. By inviting younger generations to be involved in this scheme, we highlighted the various innovative career opportunities that are available within the automotive industry.

However, none of this would have been possible without the support from key stakeholders within the business. By bringing them on the journey and having them involved in the competition we were able to display that the initiative was supported by the highest levels within the organisation and show the passion that the team has for attracting diversity into the industry.

Gen Z and Millennials are key to businesses thriving and surviving in a post-pandemic world. The recruitment process needs to be updated to meet the new expectations of this generation. If done right, it will only bring positives to your business.

*Michelle Wells will be presenting 'Revving up for accelerated growth: How Keyloop built an innovative employer brand to lure in-demand graduates into automotive' at 2:00pm – 2:30pm on 6th July 2022.

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