How can HR Lead the Charge for Change to Embrace the Unique Class of 2020

This webinar session focused on the Class of 2020, an enthusiastic and digitally driven generation faced with the unprecedented repercussions of today’s current events. As they graduate into a world of uncertainty and change, we not only ask how will this new society affect this generation’s future as working professionals, but also how can the professional world adapt to aid in enhancing their potential?

The conversation was led by two of Contemporary Staffing’s team members, Senior Account Manager Cara Ward, and Managing Director Evan Violette. They were joined by Executive Director of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Active Board Member of NACE Seldric Blocker, and Temple University’s Director of Community Outreach and Hiring and Sr. Pastor of Greater Enon Missionary Baptist Church Michael Robinson.

Together they executed an insightful and well-rounded conversation covering:

  1. How HR needs to guide the new business landscape and support safe conversations that end micro-aggressions in the workplace which support being unbiased in our decision making, and
  2. Methods of attracting and supporting the class of 2020 as they evolve from students to our newest line of jobseekers.

How can HR lead the charge for change and support the class of 2020, along with how to promote a different environment and evoke positive change for the future?

Embracing and Understanding Diversity

In order to construct a positive workspace that celebrates the cultures of its employees, it is vital to implement different tactics that encourage the growth and better understanding of each other’s differences. Members of HR should focus on encouraging the understanding of diversity among its employees, as this generates a more forward think and well-rounded workspace.  

“The time for assumption is completely over and the fear of the conversation has to go away. Conversation has to be something that we encourage and promote in order to foster a safe work environment.”, said Evan Violette, Managing Director at Contemporary Staffing Solutions.

It is important when making additions to your company’s workspace that you are inviting individuals that hold views that align with those of your company’s values. Make sure the measures you are taking to evaluate potential hires aim to not only evaluate their professional skillsets but understand the candidate as a person with certain views and opinions.

Promoting the use of implicit and explicit bias training in the work environment will not only promote awareness of unconscious behaviors, but it will open the space to well-rounded and educated conversations. When executing these biased trainings, HR should focus on providing a safe and comfortable space for discussion. Remind employees everything involved in the training is voluntary, avoiding the need for defensiveness or hostility. Encourage employees to remember the conversation is ongoing and can always be developed upon in different meetings or separate instances. The most important aspect is to remind your employees that the space they work in is not exempt from outside events and should feel like a place where open and honest discussion is always supported.

“As HR leaders, I think we need to make sure we do not sanitize the work we are doing too much. The human aspect of HR is a real thing, and we must have some tough and personal conversations. We need to be providing a platform for these conversations to start paying attention and waking up to things like microaggressions.”, said Seldric Blocker, Executive Director of JP Morgan Chase & Co.

How can we help HR lead this change to attract and retain new talent emerging from the class of 2020? And how can we aid in mobilizing their careers to stimulate personal and outward wealth?

Offering Resources

Companies must address the unique struggle the new class faces. Not are they entering a workforce system in jeopardy, but they are entering the pool of increasing unemployment among others their age.

“Typically, it takes from six months to a year for a college grad to find a job, so we have spillover from 2019. There were 3.9 million students that graduated from either associate degree programs, bachelor’s programs, doctoral level degrees, and you have spillover from that class compounded with the class of 2020 that are competing for a few of the jobs,” said Michael Robinson, Temple University’s Director of Community Outreach and Hiring.

Companies can help these job seekers mobilize their careers by expanding on their method of recruiting and offering better resources for those entering the workforce to gain experience. The model of recruiting potential hires has seen a major shift in the wake of technology- there are a vast amount of websites and services that allow students to seek opportunities and research potential employers. However, that does not mean companies should neglect their roles of actively seeking out types of people fit for their open positions. Often, roles are needed to be filled in certain areas by those with the desired skillset who are not seeking them out because they either do not know they exist or do not see themselves as qualified for such position.

“We often see students that have a very linear thinking that ‘this major’ is going to equate to a job that is synonymous with my major, and we don’t necessarily look at it that way. We’re looking for folks who have transferable skills that we also know have the ability to learn,” said Seldric Blocker.

People will not apply for positions they do not know exist or do not think they are qualified for based upon their educational path. Therefore, it is beneficial to both the company and the potential employee that positions are advertised through means of mass exposure. Companies will gain a staff of diversely qualified employees through utilizing their resources to expand upon their searches. Some services that could assist in this process would be:

  • Staffing Agencies
  • Career Services & Alumni offices
  • Local SHRM chapters (send recruiters)
  • Host virtual recruiting events
  • Internship Programs
    • Year UP
    • Minority Access Internship Program
    • National Organization for Women
    • Management Leaders of Tomorrow
    • United Negro College Fund Scholars Programs
    • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Internship Program

Implementing resources like these can only expose potential employees and employers to each other, but they can offer job seekers the chance to gain real insight and experience in the professional world.

“Our marketing department at CSS does a great amount of research and surveying to companies and company leaders across the country to understand how we peel back the layers to find the person that’s going to be driving the change and making an impact on their companies.”, said by Evan Violette, Managing Director of PSG, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.   

How will the class of 2020 be defined in the future? What should this generation of job seekers be prepared to face?

“We’re going to see the class of 2020 in two ways. For the college class, there is going to be a sense of loss and belonging, and a need to connect with people. But I think there is also going to be very resilient and innovative, as we have had to reframe and rethink what we do very, very quickly.”, said Seldric Blocker.

Reverse Mentorship

We must be prepared to learn from this class. As technology and society begin to develop at overwhelming rates, it is vital to future company success that we often allow younger generation hires to lead and teach us in areas that they have the means to better understand.

Being Realistic

The workforce the class of 2020 is facing right now is not the same as it was a few months ago. The repercussions of this pandemic are not just going to affect the current line of work, but also how it proceeds into the future. This could mean the decreasing of positions, condensing of office spaces, lower salaries, and various other impacts.

“The class of 2020 should be prepared to face an altered idea of what they were expecting.” Says Cara Ward, Sr. Account Manager of PSG, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.   

Speaking Out

“The office is no longer a space to avoid conversation. Considering more recent events, this generation is ready to make their voice be heard have the power to do so. Upon entering the professional world, members of Gen Z are ready to bring the conversation into the workplace and they should be given the support needed when doing so.” Says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions. 

Contemporary Staffing Solutions Webinar Series: 06/09/2020

Contemporary Staffing Solutions held another webinar in their series of virtual information sessions covering various topics pertaining to today’s evolving workforce during this pandemic and the new normal of working remote.