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Many of my clients are concerned with the talent pool of younger employees for their entry level roles. Part of this concern stems from their experience with the young employees they’ve hired.

Common concerns include poor work ethic, complaining, lack of loyalty, creating drama and generational slights. I’m not a fan of generational mythology, because an employer has many tactics to deploy to find and select the right employees.

The Harvard Business Review recently highlighted their conversation with Bobby Duffy, a professor and the author of The Generation Myth: Why When You’re Born Matters Less Than You Think, agrees. “We like stories about who we are and who we’re not, and we like to categorize everything into what it is and what it’s not,” he told us. These stories are appealing, especially when they’re vivid and memorable, with labels and anecdotes behind them. “And that’s certainly what’s happened with generational labels.”

Eight tactics to consider when hiring an employee of any generation.

  1. Grit Index
  2. Former Athletes
  3. Military Children
  4. Military Personnel
  5. Create a Successful Exit
  6. Set Standards High at the Outset
  7. Extend the Selection Process for the First Few Months
  8. Create Top Performer Profiles

Seven of these tactics are free, you can implement today. Try one or a combination to improve your selection hit rate and your organization’s success today.

  • Angela Duckworth wrote the book, Grit, The Power of Passion, and Perseverance. On her website, you can download her Grit Scale assessment. This assessment, as part of the preselection process, is a valuable tool to begin your assessment of the potential Grit of your perspective employees.
  • Target candidates that are used to being coached and receiving feedback! I recently attended a seminar where Pat Casey, Oregon State University National Champion Baseball Coach, where he set the tone with his players’ by sharing that at OSU-Baseball, “We practice, to fail.” This simple statement sets the stage that the coach is there to push for higher and better performance. Would your company benefit from sharing with employees, your leader, is going to provide you with constant feedback to improve your performance?
  • Ask the candidate: How does that make you feel? Candidates that grew up playing athletics will likely be more adept at being receptive in this environment than other candidates. Enterprise Rental Car company, in fact, targets former athletes for this reason.
  • Search for candidates that grew up in military families. Here’s a great quote from

“My children are resilient. They withstand every separation or move, we recover as a reunited family, and they grow by experiencing these challenges firsthand. Their ability to bounce back is truly inspiring. As military children they get to travel the world while their civilian friends may not. My children have seen and done more in their childhood than I ever did. I understand that it’s difficult for children to see beyond the next week, but growing up in a changing environment and understanding that flexibility is key, will serve them greatly as they grow older.”

  • Ask candidates: We’d like to get to know you beyond what you’ve shared in your application materials: Please share with me information about where you grew up, and what are the things or activities you are most interested in. If they mention being a “military brat” the follow up here is: wow, that is an interesting life experience, what did you have to learn as you moved around the country/world?
  • Recruit former military personnel. Military personnel are used to feedback, engaging in teamwork to complete difficult tasks, and understand that knowledge and skill acquisition is key to promotion and success of the organization. Moreover, they take their role and contribution seriously.

Next step: complete a web search for “Veterans Transition Services” in your area to discover a reservoir of former military talent.

  • Set the stage for honest employment and development relationship: In your recruiting materials and onboarding process share with the prospective/new employee that it is your company’s job to help them improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and you recognize that working for your company is not likely a long-term endeavor. This helps an employee consider “what comes next” after this specific employment relationship. Simply sharing that you care, and you are here to help with your long-term career aspirations goes a long way to building a trusting relationship, and the employee doesn’t feel disloyal when they leave your employment.
  • Share with candidates what behavioral excellence looks like at the beginning of the employment relationship and ask for their reaction. Most employers simply pray that the new hire will show “some” potential. There are many studies that find that if you set high standards, people will surprise you by – well – achieving them.
  • Ask for a commitment to work for your organization for one month. Share that at the end of the month the employee will receive feedback and be expected to provide feedback about their experience. At this juncture, both parties will make decisions about whether the employee will continue in their role. Review the High Potential Employee standards you’ve established. If they continue, ask them to commit to working for two more months. Repeat the evaluation conversation.
  • Our goal here, as many of us are aware, is a job sample test – the best assessment tool!
  • Create a Top Performer Profile: The Core Values Index (CVI) is a psychometric assessment tool designed to measure an individual’s core values, which can provide valuable insights for companies when creating top performer profiles. Here’s how the CVI can help in this process:
    • Identify Ideal Core Values: The CVI assesses four primary core value energies – Builder, Merchant, Innovator, and Banker. By analyzing the CVI results of your current top performers, you can identify which core values are most prevalent among them.


    • Customized Job Fit: Different roles within a company may require different core value energies. By understanding the core values that align best with specific positions, you can create more targeted job descriptions and match candidates with the right core values to excel in those roles.


    • Creating a Top Performer Profilefor each role empowers organizations to understand the core values that drive success within their specific context and allows you to make more informed hiring and talent management decisions to build a high-performing workforce.

In a world often preoccupied with generational stereotypes and myths, it’s crucial to remember that the right talent for your organization can come from any generation. Bobby Duffy’s insights remind us that categorizing individuals based on when they were born leads to biased judgments. Instead, focusing on essential qualities like grit, receptiveness to coaching, setting high standards, and implementing job sample tests can help you find the ideal employees, regardless of their age. By embracing these tactics, you can build a diverse and dynamic team that’s ready to excel, proving that talent knows no generational bounds.

Furthermore, the Core Values Index (CVI) offers a groundbreaking approach to understanding your workforce’s core values. By identifying and aligning core values with specific roles, you can unlock the potential of hourly team members, ensuring they are not only the right fit for their positions but also for the company’s culture and mission. With the CVI, you can create tailored top performer profiles, fostering a more engaged and high-performing workforce.

Remember, the key to success lies in recognizing that talent is not bound by age or generational labels but by the core values and qualities that truly matter. By implementing these selection tactics and embracing the insights from the CVI, you’re well on your way to unleashing the full potential of your hourly team members, setting the stage for success and growth in your organization.

Contact KBD Consulting if you are interested in guidance and building a plan to execute these tactics.

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