Attracting a Younger Staff for Succession

For most of us running the HR function today, it is not the same world when we entered the workforce. In fact we are dealing with recruitment, training and retention issues that have never presented themselves in prior generations. With no personal experience to draw from, we have to find out what motivates today’s entry level employee and what it would take them to consider a career in banking.

While we have always been a safe haven for the college student to work part-time while getting a degree in their chosen profession, we could easily be developing all of our younger staff for life-time careers in banking. And while it is a good thing to know what motivates each individual, it is more important that the bank recognizes that many young people want careers and not just a job.

Yet let’s begin with a simple benefit of working in banking that even for the job only seeker is attractive over other part-time jobs. Banking is not a seasonal job, and when it comes to scheduling hours can be a very stable environment. Most retail and service jobs that attract the younger worker have revolving doors because they don’t consistently schedule all of their employees. A worker may begin with 20 hours a week, and then watch it drop to a 3-hour shift every week. Banking generally knows how many hours they will work an employee and no pun intended the employee can “bank” on those hours week after week.

Let’s now explore what it means to market a banking career to attract talent, and motivate them into engagement for years to come. Aside from the fact that we have stable schedules, once we realize how many different careers fall under the banking umbrella it will not be hard to realize that we have a lot to offer.

The retail branch environment is by far the largest employer under a bank’s umbrella, with sales and service careers that lead into management roles. More needs to be done for the teller to see a future beyond cashing checks. Have a career ladder for your retail division so your new hire can visualize the possibilities.

However, retail banking has a sibling called lending. Employees can seek out lending careers in Consumer, Residential, Small Business and Commercial career paths. All four of these have a sales, operations, credit and servicing path.

Now while each of these divisions in and of themselves offers different career opportunities, the real gold mine is in the assorted specialty areas that fall in the corporate world of banking. The often overlooked departments are loaded with specialties that just happen to be under the bank’s umbrella. Depending on the size of the bank some of these functions are provided by external contracts, but many are still internal departments.

Exam in alphabetical order what departments you have: Accounting, Human Resources, Insurance & Securities, Internal Audit, IT, Legal, Mail Room, Maintenance, Marketing, Printing / Reproductions, Property Management, Purchasing, Regulatory Compliance, Safety / Security, Training Development, Travel, and Trust / Wealth Management.

When you step back and look at your bank as a whole, it is quite a diverse community. Attracting a younger staff to work for you is now so much more than the finance majors, and when you develop career paths that allow for all of these different careers you begin to see that banking offers more opportunities than any other single industry.

Where Human Resources play a pivotal role in succession planning is their overall awareness of staffing needs of their organization. They know which divisions are expanding, and which functions are being staffed internally soon. By establishing what I call career scaffolding plans that map across the organization versus career ladders that only go up a single division, you really can design careers and not just jobs.

Now what is not unique just to banking when it comes to retention of the younger worker is the ability to meet some of their basic needs. Like prior generations, managers have the ability to retain and drive away some of our best employees. Make a note that untrained managers in basic management development will be your greatest threat to retaining any employee.

The younger generation is however focused a lot more on feeling appreciated, and that their contributions are recognized. If they feel undervalued they will jump ship without a lot of warning. They also want opportunities for new experiences and promotional growth, so career plans help establish those benefits. So does a vibrant training environment, access to social media for collaboration, and group projects.

Attracting the younger generation and keeping them is harder than it has been for previous generations, because more of the responsibility now falls on the employer. Yet harder doesn’t mean impossible.