During PRINTING United, Jackie Wang of Summit Inks led “Developing the Next Generation in Talent” where she facilitated a discussion on how industry leaders can better prepare the next generation.
Many employers find that younger people are often not properly trained in the graphics arts field. Employers then not only have to teach students about the industry, but also train them in skills they thought they already had.
Wang explained the discrepancy between the skills students want to get out of a specific graphic communications program, and the skills these students actually get. Students often go into the field with a genuine interest in graphic design or graphic communication, and aren’t taught everything they need to know. The responsibility then lands on the employer, explained Wang, to bridge the gap between students and the workforce.
When looking for students with special skills, speaking at universities, trade schools, and technical schools, explaining what the industry needs from their employees can help filter out unqualified students.
Hiring young professionals goes beyond mechanical and technical aptitude. Employers need a method of interviewing that allows them to evaluate the candidate’s cultural fit. These employers can benefit from a quantitative measure of assessment, which can also assess how a prospective employee functions, deals with conflict, and interacts with others.
Beyond hiring, managing the next generation requires a new approach. Wang said that young employees want feedback and check-ins, and their employers’ trust. This generation of employees is looking to be challenged as well as supported, and they’re looking for their employers to give them more accountability and responsibility.
The younger generation of employees is moving away from corporate positions, and are more likely to join smaller companies with an open environment where they feel their opinions matter. A big part of that, according to Wang, is feedback. Feedback between employees and employers, where both people feel comfortable expressing concerns, can provide a more supportive environment.