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How to attract and retain young professionals in a competitive economy

By Whitney Griffin
President and Board Member, Detroit Young Professionals

Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is the premier networking organization for young professionals and entrepreneurs in metro Detroit. DYP provides opportunities for young professionals and entrepreneurs to grow personally and professionally, connect with each other, and give back to the community. DYP is dedicated to making metro Detroit a better place and developing this region’s next generation of leaders. Started in 2007 as a grassroots organization to attract and retain top talent in a climate of serious brain drain, DYP has remained a mainstay amongst young professionals as the premier networking and development organization for millennials.

Since inception, DYP has evolved into a 501(c)3 organization with a focus on providing personal and professional development opportunities through events-based programming and has amassed a highly engaged digital following of over 35,000 individuals. DYP has also increased its member base by 400% within the past 3 years. This level of engagement has been obtained through a series of initiatives that cater to young professionals and entrepreneurs, including an inclusive business model.

If you’re looking to attract and retain young professionals in this competitive economy, here are three tips to assist you in doing so:

Leverage access to thought-leadersBecause young professionals are career oriented and primed to invest in furthering their professional pursuits, DYP created opportunities to interface with locally (and sometimes globally) renowned thought leaders to provide insight on their journey. Historically, this was accomplished through DYP’s Behind the Scenes: Speaker Series and, more recently, through relevant panel discussions. Such events provided DYP’s network with unrivaled access to leaders to direct questions or source council on burning career questions. Companies can host a series of events, that provide similar access through “lunch and learns” or their own “Behind the Scenes: Speaker Series” with company executives or appropriate partners.

Recognize their efforts and create a platform for spotlightWhile most young professionals do not strive for awards to validate their achievements, many admit that it still feels amazing when being recognized for their efforts. DYP regularly honors outstanding metro Detroit young professionals and entrepreneurs who are excelling in their respective fields at our annual Vanguard Awards ceremony. Honorees are collected through a peer-nominated process and are ultimately finalized internally. DYP Members are also recognized through the Member Spotlight initiative, which highlights an outstanding member on DYP’s blog, social media, and newsletter. Executive Team Members have also been spotlighted for their professional achievements and attributed a deeper appreciation for the organization for such recognition. Regularly recognizing their achievements provides young professionals with a sense of purpose, which is often cited as one of their core attributes in job satisfaction.

Foster opportunities for personal innovationYoung professionals are constantly seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth and will invest time and resources in their enrichment. Upon discovering a gap in available opportunities, DYP moved to produce programming that fostered personal and professional innovation. Moreover, DYP’s brand attracts a pool of career-driven members who are more than happy to connect with like-minded individuals. To retain young professionals, look for ways to foster professional and personal growth. Suggestions include: mentoring, guided 1:1 sessions, relevant workshops, and access to resources for continuing education. Survey your network to discover desired areas of growth and build programming that fills reported gaps to attract and retain young professional talent.

If you’re interested in growing personally and professionally or would like to enrich your employees, we encourage you to join us on Wednesday, March 8 for Networking 101: The Art of Relationship Building with Dale Carnegie Training.

Detroit Young Professionals is a promotional partner for the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference. Register for the Conference today.