The quest to hire entry level employees – and retain them – is one of the toughest recruiting challenges HR professionals are facing. The current unemployment rate is at an historic low, and with more than 7 million job openings across the U.S., far too many positions are going unfilled.
At the same time, there is a sizable segment of the population that remains unemployed or significantly underemployed. Called “opportunity youth,” this group of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in school nor gainfully employed—and they comprise a significant pool of 6.7 million potential workers.
Having 7 million open jobs at the same time there are 6.7 million potential entry level workers is a tremendous opportunity that, if missed, will have long-lasting consequences. Youth who are unable to launch gainful careers face a lifetime of lower earnings and financial instability.
This creates a negative domino effect, impacting not only the individuals who fail to achieve sustainable employment, but their families and communities.
All the while, the inability to find employees stifles the growth of companies and potentially the economy, too.
Hiring “opportunity youth” represents a potential triple-win: for employers, employees, and economic health.
But how can companies best connect with opportunity youth – and how do you train and retain them to contribute on a long-term basis?
There is an answer. A growing initiative known as impact hiring offers a promising, data-driven approach.
Impact Hiring Connects Opportunity Youth with Employers
The Rockefeller Foundation has embarked on a far-reaching impact hiring initiative to increase opportunities for disadvantaged workers in the U.S. The goal is to address entry-level hiring challenges of employers, while preparing opportunity youth to overcome hurdles and start on the road to sustainable employment.
A key element of impact hiring is to take the guesswork out of hiring — to make decisions based on data rather than relying on intuition.
This approach uses predictive talent analytics to match youth with job openings based on their potential and innate talents. On the employer side, hiring managers can use analytics to identify applicants who might lack experience on their resumes but are well-suited to succeed in available positions.
This practice opens up doors for both sides to a huge and mostly untapped talent pool.
3 Ways to Use Impact Hiring Tools and Strategies
- Partner with a nonprofit organization: It’s difficult—and unnecessary—for employers to go it alone when working on hiring initiatives with alternative populations. Nonprofit organizations such as ours, Generation USA, streamline the process by helping employers recruit, train and place opportunity youth. With programs in 14 cities, we see across-the-board cost savings when companies partner with Generation, with a successful placement rate of more than 80%. Addressing the all-important question of retention, follow-up data shows that 76% of our placements are still in their jobs one year after hire.
- Define and refine your hiring costs and challenges: We recently partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a ROI Estimator tool that helps employers evaluate hiring costs, define “pain points,” and take steps to make the process more efficient. You can try this tool free of charge to glean valuable, applicable information regarding where and how you can improve your hiring process.
- Explore the Opportunity Navigator: Another useful tool is the Opportunity Navigator, a collaboration of Talent ReWire and Grads of Life. This tool helps employers and HR managers understand and implement impact hiring best practices, including strategic investments that build diverse entry-level and frontline talent pipelines.
Once you have gathered the data on your hiring and employee retention challenges, you can use this information to create a tailored series of “interventions” to avoid your usual detours and start on a fresh course of expanded hiring practices. It’s also crucial to define ahead of time exactly how you will measure progress and return on investment for your impact hiring efforts.
Finally, you need to be ready to adapt. Ask employees and hiring managers for feedback and adapt your selected tools and interventions accordingly as you progress. Ongoing assessment and fluidity are key. These strategies will enable you to bridge the employment gap with a wider and more inclusive pipeline of motivated employees.