The U.S. job market is bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Wages are on the rise, and companies added more than 850,000 jobs in June of this year. This is great news for job seekers, including college and university students pursuing internships, as companies compete to attract new talent and skillsets. But for employers, attracting and retaining talent today — especially young, diverse talent — will take more than just posting available opportunities. It is imperative that after an incredibly challenging year, employers uphold their commitments to employees of creating a workplace culture that aligns with workers’ values and provides opportunities to explore future career possibilities.
Here’s what employers will need to do to attract the next generation of talent in an employee-driven market:
Collaborate with Colleges and Institutions
This is where talent lives. At TIAA, we invest in and maintain close relationships with the clients and institutions we serve — with a significant focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities — to attract a diverse pool of students for our 10-week Summer Associate internship program. We also promote a diverse workforce by focusing on underrepresented communities in corporate America, such as African American and Hispanic individuals and women in the technology business.
Reevaluate and Revamp Your Intern Program
The days of interns making coffee runs are over. Creating good interns creates better employees. TIAA’s Early Talent team is intentional about pairing the more than 200 Summer Associates with senior business leaders across the enterprise for mentorship opportunities and career advice and provide them with the tools, resources and courses to help them navigate the 10-week experience, giving them the confidence to collaborate with their team members and engage with senior leaders. Other programs include financial literacy webinars and professional development events, a competitive innovation challenge and opportunities to hear from our president and CEO, Thasunda Brown Duckett.
Ensure Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility Are Front and Center
Diverse talent breeds creativity. Employees expect more of their employers. Show them you are a company they want to work for — and one that is committed to their career path, whether it’s with your organization or another.
Involve Senior Leaders
A company is successful when senior leaders buy in and promote its programs. TIAA’s Summer Associate program would not be successful without the full support of our executive leadership team, who are deeply ingrained into the program and make a conscious effort to connect with the Summer Associates.
Every company has room for improvement. Periodic feedback can help a company enhance its programs and services for its clients and employees. For example, TIAA’s Early Talent team heard that the Summer Associates of 2020 felt they lacked a sense of community in the virtual environment. We took this feedback, sprang into action and created a cohort model designed to provide smaller groups of Summer Associates the opportunity to connect, discuss and support their fellow cohorts.
There’s no doubt that today’s market is full of promising opportunities for early talent. Taking these steps can help ensure the pipeline is full, maintaining an organization’s competitive advantage.
About the author:
Angie Wesley is TIAA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Global Talent Acquisition and Workforce Strategies Officer. TIAA ranked No. 9 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.