Onboarding a new graduate is something all employers need to get right. Many graduates have only limited experience in full time work. As such, getting them up to speed is a little different from what you might do with someone who’s been in the workforce for some time. You need to take a long-term view, with the goal of not only settling them into the routines of your work environment, but also providing reasons for them to commit to your organisation, longer term.
Engage them early
As early as is possible in the onboarding process, you want to show your graduate employee that their work will be engaging. Millennials are the least engaged of all the generations currently in the workforce, according to a Gallup report, with only 29 per cent being emotionally and behaviourally connected to their job. If you leave this push for engagement too late, you run the risk of souring their perspective of the company and their job
The reasons for this disengagement are not entirely clear, but there are some suspects. For one, if graduates feel like they’re not having their skills utilised, they may be more likely to be disengaged. The 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey found that 28.2 per cent of recent graduates working full time felt their job didn’t give them the opportunities to fully utilise their skills. Showing graduates that they’ll have the chance to use their hard-earned knowledge is key to getting them on board.
Have strong training and mentoring programs
Graduates come out of university with a great deal of knowledge, but if they’ve never worked full time before, their workplace skills may be relatively weak. A survey conducted by Payscale asked hiring managers to outline the skills they felt recent graduates were most in need of developing. For example, below are some of the skills in question, alongside the percentage of hiring managers that felt graduates could develop them further:
- Critical thinking and problem solving – 60 per cent,
- Attention to detail – 56 per cent,
- Communication – 46 per cent.
The common lack of full time work experience can mean graduates are a little green when it comes to these kinds of skills. In their research on millennials at work*, Jennifer Deal and her co-authors point out that there is some discrepancy between the general work-skills knowledge young people bring into the workplace and what employers expect of them. As such, onboarding practices that prioritise these work skills, alongside career development programs and mentoring, will help graduates build out the required skill sets.
When you onboard a graduate successfully, they can fast become some of your best employees. For more information on how Monash Talent can help you find excellent graduate candidates, contact a member of the team today.
* Deal, J. J., Altman D. G., Rogelberg, S. G. (2010) Millennials at Work: What We Know and What We Need to Do (If Anything). Journal of Business and Psychology. 25 (2). pp. 191-199.