Developing a coaching and mentoring culture can support SME’s with staff recruitment and retention.


Developing a coaching and mentoring culture can support SME’s with staff recruitment and retention.



One of the biggest challenges my clients face today is the difficulty in recruiting and retaining good quality staff that will help them to grow their businesses.

It’s  difficult for SMEs to recruit and retain staff when they have to compete with larger organisations that are able to offer higher wages and more incentives.

Traditionally these larger firms have been able to take the pick of the university graduates with competitive salaries and exciting benefits to woo the best talent no matter what their degree subject was.

And things may well be getting even tougher with the appearance, at college and, in the workforce, of the new Generation Z.  This new generation, born in the mid/late 90s, have different motivations from their predecessors in Generation Y, (born between 1977 and 1994) according to a new survey.

Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm, and Randstad, the third-largest HR services and staffing company in the United States, conducted the first worldwide study to focus on the workplace preferences of both Generation Y (ages 21 to 32) and Generation Z (ages 16 to 20).

Key takeaways from the findings show:

  • Gen Z has more of an entrepreneurial spirit – 17% of Gen Z vs. 11% of Gen Y wants to start a business and hire others.
  • For Gen Z, it’s not about the money – only 28% of Gen Z said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer, as opposed to 42% of Gen Y.
  • Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication over technology – Gen Z grew up with technology, yet 53% percent prefer in-person communication over tools like instant messaging and video conferencing.

Entitled “Gen Y vs. Gen Z Workplace Expectations,” the study queried approximately 1,000 individuals from each generation across 10 countries: the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

According to Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, the study reveals other attributes that distinguish Gen Z and Gen Y employees.

“Gen Z has a clear advantage over Gen Y because they appear to be more realistic instead of optimistic, are likely to be more career-minded, and can quickly adapt to new technology to work more effectively,” Schawbel said.

“Additionally, since Gen Z has seen how much Gen Y has struggled in the recession, they come to the workplace better prepared, less entitled and more equipped to succeed.”

One of the priorities for Generation Z is career advancement and personal development and here is where SMEs can do something to combat the larger enterprises taking all the best graduates.

Coaching for SMEs

SMEs who can offer employees mentorship opportunities, personal coaching and skills workshops which develop their professional abilities and provide them with the skills they need to rise through the ranks within your business can mean your business can fight with the big corporate companies to employ quality graduates and other Generation Z member entering the workplace.

Companies that also take advantage of Generation Z’s entrepreneurial spirit will also be more likely to stay in front of the latest trends and be more competitive in their industry. Focus on providing opportunities for this new generation to integrate their entrepreneurial spirit into their job. Talk to them about their ideas for growth and their thoughts about where your business or company can go and this lets them know you value their contributions and their initiative.

Coaching and mentoring for SMEs provided through either in-house coaches or mentors or from a professional expert coach – can help support the adoption of a different mind-set to the traditional “top down autocratic manager” style employed by many organisations – it is an obvious route into recruiting from Generation Z.

Adopting a coaching and mentoring culture from the top down helps all employees unlock their potential to maximise their own performance, it “helps them to learn” rather than “teaching them”.

So it is with interest that I consider how the CPD workshop that is being presented by Sheila Stokes-White on “The Ethical Mentor -Creating and developing the ethical environment” may support our local organisations with one of the major challenges our SME’s face with recruiting and retaining staff. How might the issues being raised  by Sheila support your recruitment approach?

The workshop has been developed around her own reflections and experience of work with many organisations together with the thoughts and observations of other highly successful leaders. It draws on the view that clear ethics and principles are indeed at the heart of successful organisations and an environment can be created which encourages decision-making at all levels based on those ethics and principles.

I feel sure that recruitment will be high on the list of areas where a mentoring and coaching culture can add value to your organisation and hope we might see some of you there.

With just a week to go before the EMCC Thames Valley group meeting at Daf Trucks, check out the event at:



Tim Anderson


Coaching, Personal Development, SMEs, Uncategorised
About Tim Anderson
Tim has over thirty years’ experience within the sales environment as a sales person, a sales manager, a sales director and as a mentor and coach. He has run sales teams as a sales director within the IT sector as a direct re seller, a VAR and as an MSP. He has developed and exited from two IT businesses and supported three training and development organisations to grow their businesses by supporting their commercial offering. He has taken these teams through change initiatives . Tim continues to develop himself as a coach and has successfully taken his coaching into executive and leadership coaching. He has combined coaching with management and leadership development and regularly supports senior managers to take their next step upward in their careers. He is a qualified coach and a Chartered Manager and also holds a degree in professional consulting.

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