10 Secrets to Graduate Employee Success
Graduates have a lot to offer businesses beyond what’s listed on their resume. They can offer fresh perspectives on technology, industry trends, office culture and problem solving; what’s more, graduates taking their first professional roles want to prove their worth – and stand out in an increasingly competitive job market. Having a degree is the tip of the iceberg for millennial graduates, with internships and extra-curricular development considered essential in order to secure a graduate job in the first place.
Taking steps to ensure you offer a happy, productive and fulfilling work environment for graduate employees means you will reap the rewards from an energized, creative workforce, who may have the talent to develop your company more than you first thought.
Here are ten secrets to graduate employee success:
1. Make time to talk
As an employee settles into his or her new role, it’s important to keep channels of communication
wide open, with regular catch-ups, performance reviews and opportunities for questions to be answered. Not only does this offer managers the chance to guide a graduate employee in their work, it also creates a forum where staff can raise issues, suggest solutions to common problems and share ideas.
2. Break from tradition
The rise of hot-desking, remote working and flexible hours mean the days of 9-5 office culture are numbered. Being flexible about working hours (for example, adjusting shifts to allow for staff to attend medical appointments or other working-hours commitments) is appreciated by staff trying to balance their professional responsibilities with the demands of their personal lives or families. Remote working, whilst once seen as a way for employees to avoid the watchful eye of management and enjoy a duvet day, can now boost productivity, especially if an employee has a significant solo project that would benefit from the calm and quiet of their own home. Hot-desking can complement this – allowing employees to have a base in the office when needed.
3. Share strategy
Ambitious graduates will want to know where their job role sits in terms of the company’s structure
and future goals – making this transparent and allowing for conversations about progression and their overall contribution to the firm will ensure new employees feel appreciated and supported right from their first day, fostering loyalty to their employer. Setting individual goals for employees helps monitor their progress, especially if they have a say in where they want to be within six months/ a year/ five years – and long-term goals are an effective way of encouraging staff loyalty and development.
4. Let there be light
Tired-looking offices with flaking beige paint, heavily divided workspaces and a kettle that takes 20 minutes to boil for a coffee round will only produce tired, slow employees. Modern universities are light, airy and sleekly-designed because these environments are naturally energizing, and prevent the eyestrain or headaches poor lighting can cause. Make the most of natural light (don’t cover your huge bay windows with suffocating blinds!) or if you can’t, ensure artificial lighting is bright across the whole office (illuminate those dark corners).
5. Create great experiences
Many modern media and technology companies, like Google and Facebook, foster ‘fun’ work
environments to boost employee productivity. Creating a fun workplace does not mean allowing workers to shirk off but simply make the most of their daily downtime and prevent burning out over the course of a working day. Foosball in the breakroom, comfortable seating in the kitchen or occasional in-work treats like cupcakes or pizza make staff feel valued and offers them the chance to unwind – preserving their enthusiasm for their work.
6. Get social
After the whirlwind of student life, graduate employees are well-versed in nurturing friendships and enjoying busy social lives – so why should it stop in the professional arena? Casual gatherings like post-work drinks on a Friday, occasional team lunches off site or more formal events like Christmas parties or team-building days give employees the chance to connect outside the office. Employees with positive relationships outside of work are more likely to collaborate productively and professionally, resulting in natural teamwork.
7. Reward achievements
If a graduate employee (or any employee for that matter) performs well, shout about it. Whether it’s as simple as a congratulatory office-wide email, a one-on-one chat to show your appreciation or their picture on an ‘employee of the month’ board, small tokens of gratitude can go a long way in making staff feel like their hard work has an impact and is appreciated.
8. There’s no I in team
While most roles have individual responsibilities, giving staff opportunities to work together can encourage faster problem-solving and the transfer of acquired skills. Allowing team-wide brainstorming sessions on large projects helps everyone feel involved (and useful) in shaping the company’s work; while putting two employees together with complementary skill sets means
quality work with all bases covered. As they say, two heads are better than one.
9. Make it count
While the graduate job market remains competitive, the continued “war for talent” has created an employees, not employers, job market, meaning it’s foolish to assume skilled staff will remain loyal to a job where they are not adequately rewarded for their skills. Ensure salaries are equal to the qualifications and talents required for the role – and make pay grades and progression transparent. Talented graduates who feel their pay packet has stagnated won’t hesitate in
looking for new opportunities with higher pay.
10. Encourage individuality
Graduate workers don’t fall off a production line: academic focus and work experience can vary wildly, with travel, internships and other pursuits resulting in wide-ranging skill sets. Rather than shaping young staff into traditional roles, make the most of their unique skills and experiences where it can prove beneficial to both employer and employee. Ever hired someone with considerable social media experience? Allow them to develop existing brand pages and look at new platforms for company promotion. Got a new staff member fluent in three languages? Why not explore if their tri-lingual talent can open the door to new trade opportunities.
Graduate employees can offer a lot to any firm – but ensuring they are engaged and challenged is key to ensuring staff retention and progression. Taking a few simple steps to foster a culture of innovation, communication and modern working can go a long way in shaping a workforce that’s loyal to the brand and keen to apply a fresh perspective on working patterns.
See every graduate employee as a fresh pair of eyes for your organization. What will you learn from the next generation?