V-Tours workshop on Employer Branding, CSR and Employability
In the framework of the Erasmus+ project Virtual Tours for Business Culture (V-Tours), Fundación Universidad-Empresa organized a half-day workhop on “Employer Branding, CSR and Employability” with the objective of identifying not only what companies need from their potential employees (student/graduate profiles), but also on what they can do to help increase their employability, prepare them and help then through the transition from study to work, from university to business, and contribute to bridge the skills gap.
Regarding company profile requirements, there was a general consensus that students/graduates have sufficient/good technical knowledge and what they lack is easily gained through on-the-job training thanks to their motivation to learn and their ability to learn at a fast pace (learnability/learnagility).
With regards to soft skills, and in addition to the already “classic” checklist (team work, orientation to results/objectives, problem solving, communication, interpersonal relations, initiative, creativity, etc.), participants specially stressed the need to foster those that are more intangible (passion for what they do, determination, respect, pride in the work carried out, values, attitude, commitment, awareness, leadership, ability to influence others and generate impact, …). Digital and language (English) skills were also identified as key elements that needed to be reinforced.
The first invited speaker, Ana Martínez, focused on the characteristics of millennials (based on her experience as tutor and mentor in different young talent development programmes) and stressed the need to promote “employer empathy”, the need for companies to “put themselves in their shoes” when designing young talent HR strategies (attraction, selection, training, professional development, retention).
She was followed by HR managers Juan Bru (Huawei) and María Jesús Déz (Airbus) and Llanos Verdu (Johnson & Johnson), who presented their companies’ best practices and strategies in the area of young talent engagement. All three coincided on the importance of developing attractive, relevant and unique Employer Value Propositions (EVP) adapted to the needs and expectations of young talent (in particular: learning opportunities, life and work integration, personal growth, career development…).
Although the majority of the workshop participants were directly involved in corporate HR activities, the discussions were enriched with the opinions of both Senior and Junior management professionals, education professionals (a professor and several graduate internship tutors), and also a graduate student. Company profiles were also diverse (both in size and in sector of activity).
Participants engaged in a constructive and enthusiastic discussion which touched on the topics presented by the four invited speakers.
Workshop conclusions included:
– Millennials are motivated by challenges: Need for challenge-based learning professional development programs/actions.
– Traditional jobs are changing or disappearing, new jobs are emerging, future jobs are still undefined: Need to for new career guidance schemes which put an emphasis on the development of an entrepreneurial mindset capable of dealing with new career options, “open opportunities”.
– Millennials aspire to achieve life and work integration versus life and work balance: Need for intregrated programs/actions which take multiple aspect of personal life into consideration.
– Experiental learning is a key element for successful job integration of young talent. Professional development programs/actions for fresh talent must be based on organisational commitment with education (CSR) … and this includes training/mentoring for program tutors and participating managers; close collaboration with universities and business schools; ambassador programs. Programs should be available from the early stages of higher education (not only for last-year students or recent graduates).
– Competencies have given way to leadership imperatives (or skill clusters) which demand a change of focus in career guidance practices, skills training, professional development programs. Key concepts are now: Connect (impact, influence, communicate, commitment); Shape (generate ideas, provide solutions, stimulate change); Lead (think out of the box, be proactive, take the initiative, innovate, inspire); Deliver (meet objectives, provide results, guarantee quality).