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4 practices for hiring young staff

What would happen if every employee younger than 25 suddenly vanished? That is the question asked in a new report released by The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists, and Bain & Company, with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation, “Youth Hold the Key: Building Your Workforce Today and in the Future.”

In looking at employers that are successfully hiring young talent, the report identified four practices that appear to be associated with their success:

* Youth employment is considered a CEO/executive-level priority and important to the company’s workforce strategy: Gap Inc., LeadersUp, Starbucks, State Street and the Boston Private Industry Council have emphasized hiring and developing young people. Efforts to broaden talent pipelines, such as diversity hiring, have found that executive-level sponsorship is critical.

* Youth employment efforts are clearly tied to business needs: Said Les Biller, former chief operating officer of Wells Fargo, “making the business case is the most important thing” when launching an employment initiative

* Efforts must go beyond the corporate social responsibility function: State Street Senior Vice President Michael Scannell oversees the company’s overall talent acquisition and retention strategies, as well as community investments in workforce readiness, thus ensuring that these functions are integrated.

* The company pursues multiple avenues to embed the new practices: CVS Health didn’t simply announce a new corporate initiative. It used multiple levers to spread its youth employment effort throughout the company: communications, training, and incentives like “tryout dollars,” and highlighting the availability of tax credits.

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