The global pandemic has changed the talent playing field in many ways. Beyond the lack of available talent, organizations also need talent that can adapt to an uncertain future.

A co-op student or intern program is an excellent talent recruitment strategy to get top talent into your organization during a competitive market. Research shows that interns and co-op students who are hired into permanent roles stay longer at a company than employees that did not start through a student program.

Five benefits of hiring early talent

By 2025, Millennials and Generation Z will make up 58 per cent of the workforce. Recruiting and retaining them can benefit your organization. Here’s how:

  1. Increased productivity. Early talent, like students, make real contributions to productivity.
    They help full-time staff avoid becoming overburdened by side projects and free them up to accomplish tasks that require high-level expertise.
  2. Enhanced perspective. Co-op students bring more to the table than an extra set of hands.
    They bring innovative perspectives, specialized strengths and advanced digital skills. This includes tech expertise in cloud computing, data and analytics, data modelling, business analysis, cybersecurity and front-end software development.
  3. Preview potential full-time talent. An internship program is a year-round recruitment tool.
    It can be an opportunity to test potential full-time hires and a low-risk chance to see whether that person will be a good fit.
  4. Foster leadership skills in current employees. As current employees mentor students,
    they’ll gain valuable leadership skills. This can be great training for an employee who may occupy a management position in the future.
  5. Build your reputation. Nothing sells a company like a happy employee, and no one is more active on social media or adept at personal branding than Gen Z. Talent coming out of universities today will drive what happens tomorrow and onwards.

Future of work and talent recruitment

Remote work, whether it’s fully remote or hybrid, is here to stay. How you onboard remote talent may be the reason they stay. Our Work-Learn-Institute's (WxL) research highlights effective ways companies are engaging new talent remotely:

  • Welcome messages. An email, letter or call from the manager or senior leaders can go a long way to making new employees feel welcome. A public announcement to the team welcoming the newest addition can help them to feel like part of the team.
  • Scheduled meetings. Managers who book a one-on-one with the new employee can use the time for goal-setting and specific task training while getting to know new team members.
  • Introductory sessions. Whether it is a company-wide orientation, or a scheduled session with team members, human resources, or senior leaders, introductory meetings help remote workers understand their role and build camaraderie.
  • Resources. Sharing resources like names and contact information lists, schedules for the first few weeks of work, training manuals or intranet sites for employees all help new talent to familiarize themselves with the organization.

What matters to Gen Z?

In today’s marketplace organizations offer competitive pay, perks, remote-first policies and unlimited vacation days. There are other ways to compete for Gen Z talent. Our research on student’s remote work experience found three core priorities for Gen Z talent and tips for things you can do to meet these priorities:

Remote video URL

How to get started with next gen talent

It's never been a better time to hire students! You may be eligible to access up to $7,000 in wage subsidies per student that you hire for four-month work terms.

Gain insights on:

  • Why hire a co-op student
  • What sets Waterloo co-op apart
  • How to hire a student
  • Best practices and tips for recruitment & onboarding
  • Funding opportunities
  • How we can help