Attracting talented young people as employees or getting them involved as members of industry service organisations (ISOs) is crucial for businesses and industries to thrive. However, a common grumble from industries, at least in agriculture, is that young people are not as involved, engaged or interested as they were back in the day.
The tone is often that they ‘should’ be.
You too may have watched the incredulous look on a graduate’s face when someone is trying to explain the traditional industry branch/regional/state/national policy committee process to set industry policy priorities. Plus, the rules of debate, meeting procedure and the time involved to reach consensus as measured in weeks, months or years.
Their eyes soon glaze and they reach for their smartphone.
Closer scrutiny will usually reveal that it’s not simply young people turning away from traditional industry institutions. In fact, business engagement is low and declining for many ISO’s.
The conventional approach to attract new people is by promotion, pushing information about how great the industry or organisation is. However, people tend to believe and act on what they see (behaviours) and their experience rather than what is said.
There is an alternative or complementary strategy for responding – you can prioritise the quality of the experience people and businesses have in dealing with your organisation. Here, the message is that ‘we’ might need to change.
The quality of customer/member experience is shaped by factors such as: immediacy, people and businesses can interact anywhere at any time; whether information is deployed in ways that create value; is the experience personalised to their needs; and whether the interactions are easy and fast.
A classic McKinsey & Company article on the (then) emerging era of ‘on-demand’ marketing (April 2013) was prophetic about how digital capabilities would allow personalising of consumer experience in real time and almost everywhere. They explained that customer experience matters profoundly and drives two-thirds of the decision’s customers make!
The point is that customer experience was found to be more important than price with decisions. Perhaps the same logic extends to young people engaging with industry institutions.
If you want young people to be involved in your organisation, then it must be a good experience – for them. Are you offering young people the experience of a past era, or the speed, tailored value and ease of today?
Perhaps it’s time to re-design your customer experience.