Guest post by Connor Firmender, CEO at Fieldr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We get it, not all companies are thinking to themselves right now, “A student employee is exactly what I need during this pandemic recovery.”
But what if we told you that they aren’t just all avocados and TikTok? What if we told you TikTok might even be the answer to your digital advertising needs to reach new customers and it’s a student who will solve this for you? Curveball, huh?
There are tons of value-adds to hiring students onto your company. Whether you’re nonprofit or for-profit, in healthcare or tech, are suffering from this pandemic or thriving, this article is to generalize the pros -- and we do acknowledge cons -- behind hiring students...or as we like to call them “emerging talent.”
Hiring student workers doesn’t just benefit the students. As an employer, you have the potential of creating newfound relationships with your surrounding school districts and colleges. These are valuable, public and private entities that serve as strategic partners in a mass amount of ways.
From a manager’s perspective, hiring a student comes with many advantages, including:
A cost-effective workforce:
Which includes access to work-study funding. Students aren’t always pushing the envelopes for money. You’re dealing with a pool of talent who is more in need of experience, rather than paychecks. The younger the student (e.g. High School seniors, College freshmen), the less you’ll need to expense. Sure, it’s a bit of a trade-off considering the younger the student, the more teaching you’ll have to do as an employer. But as Steve Jobs always said, it is better to invest the time into your employees to train them, so in case they stay, you don’t have a gap in your system.
Born to multi-task:
Students are always willing to engage in roles and activities outside of their normal day-to-day. Again, these are sponges we’re talking about. Sponges who have been bred to multi-task while they’re sleeping. Homework while keeping up with Stranger Things while contributing to a group chat for another project while doing their makeup while screaming down to their mom they “truly are studying!” It’s a natural ability to multi-task that students, and emerging talent, all have in common … more leverage for your company.
Student-workers can vary the hours they work each week, handle seasonal workloads, work non-routine hours, as well as weekends! One thing to be aware of in regards to flexibility, though, is that class schedules may change each semester, and many will need time off for exams and breaks. Expect to be fully transparent with your student-worker, and expect the same out of them. Flexibility can make or break a working relationship with your new employee.
Students have a natural ability to understand the needs and viewpoints of other students, help student customers feel more comfortable, and let the other staff know about issues from a student’s point of view. Lo and behold, Generation Z makes up for roughly 40% of the consumer market. It’s ideal to have plenty of them on your team to identify behavioral trends in your market, and how to detect them before they even happen. A youthful perspective can be massive leverage on your marketing and product team.
This goes without saying -- young students bring massive amounts of energy, enthusiasm, and spontaneous personalities that light up an office. If you’ve never had a 19-year-old college student spruce up your office and bring laughter into the cubicles, you’re missing out. These types of people can be the exact addition you need to your company culture.
Vision for Corporate Social Responsibility:
This may be one of the most important points we’ll make. According to Forbes, 81% of emerging generations prefer a company with some form of corporate social responsibility (e.g. a giveback model based on sales, a nonprofit sistering company, initiatives for equality and an equitable economy). Having this perspective on your team will ensure your company is aligned with what the market needs. Gen Z plus Millennials (the other emerging generation) make up a total of nearly 75% of the consumer market. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with CSR, you can expect to lose 75% of your customers to your competitor who is corporate socially responsible, over the next couple of years. Here are some examples to kick off the brainstorming sesh: Amazon’s Smile Program, Toms Shoes One-For-One, WearTheFund 3% Nonprofit Giveback, Patagonia Environmental Charitable Model, etc.
Just like every student you’re going to meet, interview, and hire, there is a uniqueness to what they can achieve. We encourage you to share this article with your team, get to brainstorming, get your company signed up on Fieldr or contact the Greater Naples Chamber, and enjoy the flood of emerging talent that is wading in a pool right now.