Unique talents


24 / 9 / 2015 11.01am

In brief

  • The younger generations of employees have unique talents and new ways of working that are crucial for the future NHS workforce
  • The new generation are fast learners, flexible and adaptable, meaning organisations can shape their skill set to specific roles
  • Recruitment that places too much focus on previous employment and work experience can exclude this pool of talent

The evidence

"I think employers can be nervous about recruiting young people as they fear a lack of commitment, enthusiasm, dedication, or that they will prove a training burden but in my experience this isn’t the case and they have gone on to not just succeed in their own roles, but have energised the department and become really valuable team members. They are used to learning and adapting, and often manage this better than more experienced staff.”  Ewan Maule, Deputy Chief Pharmacist, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

The CIPD Learning to Work 2012 survey shows that employers recognise that young people have something different and valuable to bring to the workplace. These include:

  • a willingness to learn
  • fresh ideas and new approaches
  • motivation, energy and optimism

Employers can take advantage of these skills, attitudes and motivation when recruiting for a new role. It is widely recognised that there are different generations of employees within the workplace, all with different characteristics and ways of working. Birmingham and Solihull Local Education and Training Council’s Mind the Gap report looks at four different generations of employees - baby boomers, generation X, generation Y and the newest generation of young people, generation Z. The report looks at their different characteristics and what this means for the healthcare sector. Young people aged between 16-24 span the end of generation Y and the beginning of generation Z, both generations have the potential to bring positives to your workforce.

The report finds that generation Z has an increased confidence in using technology to communicate, which could boost the digital skills of your workplace and prepare your workforce for future ways of working. Generation Z are fast learners, flexible and adaptable, meaning that employers can shape them to become the type of worker that they want, with a skill set specific to the role. Generation Y have a similar aptitude for technology as well as placing high importance on team working which is a vital skill for healthcare workers. You can read more about these generational characteristics in the report as well as accessing further articles here.

NHS Employers focus groups held with employers revealed that current methods of recruitment and selection within the NHS rely heavily on previous employment and work experience. The evidence in the Mind the Gap report suggests employers need to engage with the newer generations differently when recruiting and employing, and that young people will bring a new set of skills and ways of working to the workplace. Other generations within the workplace can learn from young recruits, raising the skill level of the whole workforce.

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