Both business and military must attract young talent to replace retiring experience.

They both need a steady stream of incoming young people. Young people have many choices on what to do with their lives. Attracting them, and keeping them, is no easy matter.

It seems that every generation laments the difficulty of attracting smart, hard-working, young people with good character with growth potential. At the same time, it seems that every new generation of young people laments how difficult it is to be given a chance, to find good role models, and to have meaningful opportunities.

In the Marine Corps, I spent a number of years developing young adults to realize their potential. I learned that the most important factor in attracting and developing young people is giving them inspiring role models. Young people yearn for role models. They learn best by watching a role model and following their example.

In fact, the military understands this phenomenon very well. They know that having good, upright, inspiring, smart, capable role models for young people to follow is the lynchpin to developing the kind of workforce capable of meeting all the MARCY challenges. Let me give you some examples from the military to demonstrate the quality and experiences of their workforce at different grade levels.

19-22 year old operating a highly technical piece of equipment, leading small, diverse teams, and producing outcomes impacting their system or team at a total compensation of only $22,000 to $36,000 a year? Many of these young people are barely old enough to drink.

24-29 year olds leading scores of the former, managing multiple complex systems worth tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, and producing outcomes impacting their whole organization at a total compensation package of $40,000 to $84,000 a year? How many of YOU had this kind of responsibility and experience as a 25 year old?

32-40 year olds having led hundreds to thousands of people, managing multiple complex organizations with equipment worth hundreds of millions to billions of dollars, and producing outcomes with national impacts at a total compensation package of $102,000 to $125,000 a year? How many of you in your 30’s or 40’s can say you’ve led thousands of people, made life and death decisions, and managed assets worth billions of dollars?

Oh by the way, there is no “overtime pay”. Everyone works long hours, weekends, holidays, and travels extensively. AND… despite the relatively low salary, high tempo, and very high expectations, the organization is able to retain a high level of talent.

What organization can boast such a talented, hard-working, dedicated work force as I just described aside from the U.S. military?

How many private sector organizations today actually retain their talent for 20-30 years?

Yes, they are out there, and there aren’t that many anymore. Turnover is expensive, yet turnover is very high in a lot of companies because they can’t figure out how to retain their talent.

Interestingly, many civilian organizations don’t believe they could ever achieve the kind of quality workforce the military has.

I’m here to tell you that you can, once you know the seven military secrets to workforce development.

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