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With the new football season underway, Arsenal has chosen to build the youngest team in the premier league. Why, you ask? Energy and enthusiasm? Perhaps. Although it feels like something greater, to drive cultural change and ultimately, to perform.

Arsène Wenger led the team for 22 years and now new manager Unai Emery has taken the reins, selling 19 players and bringing new talent on board in an attempt to create a positive culture.

In business, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to attract new talent and with three generations often in one workplace at one time, it’s so important to understand how to keep your team members engaged. You need to allow for change to attract and retain young talent, and build a culture that feeds into the success of your business.

Pick the right squad

Let’s face it, there’s a talent war with millennials who have flipped the switch on recruitment. It’s no longer about putting candidates through their paces; it’s about selling yourself as a business and explaining why people should come and work for you – what makes you different and do your values align?

Some business owners haven’t got this right just yet and are struggling to get to grips with the changing face of recruitment, but by accepting this shift and changing your recruitment strategy, your luck might come in. Focus on building a team with people who not only have the right skills and behaviours, but those who want to work for you and are prepared to put in the work.

Create a social playing field

Traditional offices used to be seen as no more than a space in which to work, whilst modern workplaces are built for millennials – thinking pods, standing desks and open plan spaces, to name a few futuristic features. Quirks aside, younger members of the team just want to have the opportunity to be social, and not necessarily talking about what pub quiz they went to the night before – about that document they need your approval on, or to sound out an idea.

It’s about creating more channels of communication and flexibility to allow for agility and empowerment.

Build a team of coaches vs managers

Whilst I believe the annual appraisal still has its place, it’s certainly disappearing as a key feedback opportunity with younger team members. Millennials require feedback, and lots of it. If they don’t get enough feedback, including praise, they may assume they’re not doing a great job, which is completely different to the ‘no news is good news’ approach many are used to.

With an open plan workplace, it’s easy to give feedback quickly, which complements the millennial mindset; by training people with a ‘coach’ mindset instead of a ‘manager’ mindset, your team will stay engaged which will undoubtedly impact their performance and the length of their service and loyalty to your business.

We all need to have a strategy for business success and by future-proofing your recruitment, workplace design and leadership strategies, you can build a solid team that not only scores goals, but thrives on its culture.

Read more like this:

 How to manage a team   by Darren Holdway

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About the author

Matt Perry

Matt’s focus is on helping owners and their management teams on all aspects of structure, strategy, growth and the potential realisation of value from their businesses.

He has particular expertise in supporting owners who are running businesses that are rapidly increasing in complexity. He works closely with these owners to scale their operations, address management and leadership issues and obtain funding for investment and growth.

Matt brings a keen understanding of the broader commercial issues that impact growing business, including governance, risk, succession and protecting personal wealth.


I enjoy becoming an integral part of a business’s journey and draw on my own experience in managing a fast growing company. There are so many angles to consider when a business starts to scale up. There’s nothing better for me than setting some long term goals with a business owner, supporting them through that growth and ultimately seeing them achieve their ambitions.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be: selling.

Favourite Sports Team: Arsenal.

Dream Location: Sicily.

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