Yesterday students are a new generation requiring some effort to be led efficiently along their working path
There are multiple benefits of hiring recent graduates: they take along great energy, thirst for learning, and refreshing ideas to bring to the boardroom table. This young cohort is an important labour force segment – moreover, this working group has been recently growing in numbers. For example, the annual UK Prospects report “What graduates do?” showed that in 2018 unemployment among recent graduates was at its lowest level in 39 years: of the 254,495 UK-domiciled first-degree graduates, 74.3% were in employment 6 months after graduating.
Obviously, not all of them have a relevant work experience before being hired. This means, they need to go through a quick transition from a student into a worker, and as an HR manager you should accompany them in this process, finding the right management strategies and nurturing their potential. However, it is sometimes complicated to understand how to bring out the best in your entry-level employees.
Here are some strategies you can implement to create a stimulating working atmosphere and effectively support your newly hired recent graduates:
- Treat them as equals and don’t undervalue their skills
Just because fresh graduates are young and have entry-level positions, that does not mean they should be discounted in comparison with the employees with higher levels of responsibility. Be aware that sometimes you may even underestimate their qualification: the Guardian cites the data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stating that “31% of graduates had more education than was required for the work”.
Thus, view them as an integral part of your team. Prove that their common fear of corporate ageism is not relevant for your company. Get to know their skills, professional priorities, and consequently adjust their work activity in connection with their interests. Don’t hesitate to suggest your managers giving them more tasks and responsibility, stimulate the graduates with the trust you give – and don’t forget to reward every bit of progress.
- Set clear objectives, define a career path
Embracing fresh graduates in your company should be a well-thought HR process: you need to have a general understanding of their next career steps and know how to lead them up the professional ladder. It’s best to have a set of timeline markers of possible promotions and new assignments – it will keep the young employees informed about your vision and motivated to stick to the benchmarks plan. Remember that fresh graduates could be confused at first – having specific goals can guide them through the corporate realm. Moving along the career plan, check in with each other regularly to eventually modify the objectives and establish new professional benchmarks.
- Promote regular feedback
Fresh graduates of the coming years are representatives of the so-called Generation Z. They have a certain set of behaviours and professional expectations – including the need for receiving regular feedback that confirms they are on the right track. Praise has also a great importance for the Generation Z. If left alone, without touching base regularly, they may stumble at some point. As an HR manager, encourage your older employees to check in often, providing the graduates with meaningful feedback sessions.
- Pay attention to flexibility and work-life balance
Gen Z puts the work-life harmony on the top of their priorities’ list. Therefore, get rid of the rigid working hours scheme – fresh graduates appreciate flexibility in the office. If you want to retain them and fuel their engagement, shape your workplace into an inspiring environment where the core focus is on the accomplished goals rather than on the hours’ formalities. Trust your employees and their enthusiasm, and they will use their time in the most efficient way for the sake of getting things done faster.
- Invest in their professional development
Recognizing graduates’ talents and hiring them is just the first step. The second one is to take these skills on the new level – by dedicating enough resources to the young employees’ development. This may include mentorship, training programmes, sponsorship of participation in thematic conferences and networking events. Encouraging learning and growth will prove your seriousness as an employer and reassure graduates about their work stability – something very important for the Generation Z.
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