It is often said that recent graduates must be able to “stand out” in a crowded job market. While this is still true, the opposite is also becoming increasingly important. With recent graduates being more and more selective, employers must begin to find interesting and unique ways to attract and retain talent. In the words of College Recruiter’s Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Steven Rothberg, “companies have gotten away with treating employees like crap and paying them like crap for far too long.” He continues to press that this will no longer work in today’s market.
College Recruiter recently asked experts for three benefits, in addition to better pay, that employers can offer to attract and retain recent college graduates. Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, recommends:
- Build Spaces with Amenities Employees Want
After working from home for more than a year and a half, employees’ priorities have changed when it comes to the physical office space. Employers and building owners should design workspaces and amenities that will attract and retain talent. Capital One Center, Capital One’s new corporate campus in Tysons, VA, accomplishes this with the Perch, a 2.5-acre public rooftop park; 75,000 square feet of meeting spaces of various sizes; and a new corporate building to accommodate a 3,000 technologist hiring spree. In addition to flexible workspaces, companies can offer flexibility around work hours and remote work. While in-person collaboration can be hard to replicate, in a recent Work Trend Index Study, 73 percent of talent said that they wanted flexible remote work options to stay.
- Collaborate with Your Local Economic Development Organization
Economic development organizations can help companies of all sizes ramp up recruiting efforts, showcase benefits and ultimately reach talent through marketing efforts and events (both in-person and virtually). In May 2020, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (EDA) launched a series of virtual career fairs; the first five collectively attracted more than 3,400 attendees and resulted in more than 7,000 completed conversations between job seekers and hiring reps from NoVa-based employers. In collaboration with the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA), the FCEDA launched a one-stop-shop website for talent, WorkInNorthernVirginia.com. The site showcases thousands of local open job opportunities and, within its first year, logged more than 374,000 sessions from talent across the country.
- Highlight the Greater Purpose for Employees’ Work
Deloitte’s Talent 2020 series found that meaningful work is one of the top three engagement drivers in the workplace. Today’s workers seek to understand the meaning behind the work they do, wanting to know that their roles will make a positive impact both within their organization and their communities. When trying to attract early professionals, employers should clearly state how their mission and work serves the greater good, and how the new hire can help make a difference. Another benefit that could help an employee find deeper meaning in his or her work is providing opportunities to continue professional development. This could include hosting leadership courses or even providing an annual stipend for employees to bolster their skill sets on their own.
—Victor Hoskins joined the Fairfax County (Va.) Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) as president and CEO on August 5, 2019. Previously, he was the director of Arlington (Va.) Economic Development since 2015. In that role he is most known for leading the team that successfully attracted Amazon HQ2 to Arlington County, a deal that will bring between 25,000 and 37,850 Amazon jobs to Arlington, stimulate creation of another 75,000 jobs in the Washington region, and generate between $3.2 and $4.8 billion in revenue for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Since he arrived at the FCEDA, Microsoft announced a 400,000-square foot software R&D center that will have 1,500 employees. This was the largest transaction in Northern Virginia for 2020. Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Volkswagen Group of America, Guidehouse, StarKist and the global law firm of King & Spalding also announced locations in Fairfax County.
Under Mr. Hoskins’ leadership, in 2020 the FCEDA launched a multi-faceted talent initiative aimed at attracting, retaining, retraining and growing the workforce that businesses need to succeed in Northern Virginia. In its first year the initiative connected almost 3,500 job-seekers with 170 companies, and the initiative involved more than 100 universities including 40 historically black colleges and universities throughout the mid-Atlantic.
Mr. Hoskins is leading the regional economic development strategy initiative at Connected DMV, to create a stronger, equitable, and more resilient Washington, D.C., region. He is also involved in regional economic recovery strategy efforts in Fairfax County and Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Dartmouth College.