Flicking through some Instagram fitness posts I came across a progress photo, where the user was giving themselves a pat on the back for all the perseverance, hard work and sacrifice she put into her body. What was surprising, however, was the occasion for posting this progress photo: she was turning 30 the next day which only added momentum to the self-congratulatory tone of voice.
I was taken aback. Having turned 30 last year, I don't feel much different than a couple of years ago, nor do I feel any adverse effects of aging as yet. Still, what one can witness on social media is that a) 30 is a milestone that 40 once was and b) it is an occasion to take the time out and reevaluate your life as well as recognize your achievements.
This aspect of achievement at what is generally perceived as quite a young age is further fueled by magazine features such as Top 30 Under 30, where you see a stride of very successful people that have several degrees under their belts and have risen to top ranks of their company or have their own hot startups. The likes of Elizabeth Holmes, Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker made their mark on the world at a very young age, setting the bar higher for younger generations. Not only that, but by the time they got to their 30s, they were already thinking about their legacy, the world they will leave to their children and how they can contribute to the common good. Even if most 30-year-olds have not had their success, the've adopted the thinking - we want to do well, but we also want to do good.
As we keep on reading, Millennials will not stick around in the same, safe job for their whole career. Even the term 'career' is becoming extinct as we see more and more 'slashers' appear (people who combine their passions, such as DJ/Barrista/Designer for example) and the lines between the personal and the professional spheres of life becoming blurred.
What does this mean for companies looking to attract talented 30-something year olds?
You have to woo them. Yes, woo them, just like you would a senior executive. Except it's not with money and the big corner office, but with your vision and mission, their exact contribution, the experience and exposure they will get, the soft perks and the people they will work with. If the right thing comes along, those that really know what they want will be willing to take a pay cut just to do it. But, don't be fooled, the battle is still very much on - young talent is highly sought after, but the hard work is actually getting them to stick around and being able to accommodate their growth and goals.
You have to be flexible. Regardless of their education and professional experience so far, most 30 year-olds will have some sort of a passion side project that they do out of work. These are not to be overlooked - they contribute to them being a rounded individual, or good at their main job. Whether it is fitness, playing an instrument or coding, don't dismiss it as just a 'hobby' - these are the thing that might be competing with your own company as their main source of employment one day.
You have to touch base frequently. We keep on hearing about the fast-paced world we live in because of the development of technology and the internet, yet some HR practices such as annual or biannual performance reviews simply do not reflect that. Quicker, more frequent and informal catch ups will go a long way to anticipating or preventing any potential issues and will allow you to plan for any eventualities. As the landscape we work in changes, so do we - and if you wait around for the scheduled performance review - you might just be late to the party.