3 Unexpected Ways to Set Up Recent Grad Employees for Success

In today’s modern workplace, employers are looking to cut costs in a variety of creative ways.  And while putting a lock on the office supplies cabinet will certainly lower immediate expenditures, focusing on creative workforce staffing is often a more effective choice.

Hiring interns, recent grads, and other newly minted employees is a great way to reduce overhead and can also reap other benefits such as the ability to train individuals in company culture.  The drawback, however, is that recent grads don’t come with a great deal of work or life experience and often need coaxing and extra training to help them become solid contributors. School is a great place to pick up a degree and specialized knowledge but isn’t that great at teaching real-world lessons about what it takes to be an employee or even the basics of what it takes to make it in the office.  

To get the most out of recent employees, employers should provide on the job coaching.  Interested in learning more? Here are three unexpected ways to set up recent grad employees for success.  

Share the Big Picture

No, we’re not talking diagrams and spreadsheets here.  Recent grads can often benefit greatly from a high-level overview of goals, plans and the like.  Having most recently spent time in the world of academia, newly minted workers are used to learning for the sake of it and often have been immersed in the process for some time.  Getting them out of that box and into thinking about the future will benefit both their careers and your bottom line.

Start by sharing your long-term plans for a specific project, department or even the company.  You may also want to swap ideas about how you see their specific position evolving or where there may be room for moving up in the company.  Another big-picture approach would be to share how the individual task or their role specifically integrate into the larger company. Both of these items will start the intern or new employee well on their way towards being dynamic team players.

Encourage Questions

You know how young children seem to have a million questions about everything from who made the grass green to why dogs bark instead of meow?  While further along in their mental development, recent graduates should be encouraged to expand their knowledge in much the same way. As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.  New employees will often find themselves delving headfirst into a problem of a project and headed towards hidden landmines or inefficiencies through no fault of their own.

Encourage recent graduates to ask questions both directly and by your actions.  Let them know that your door is always open and that no question is silly or stupid.  In addition, when the employee inevitably comes to you with a query, thank and praise them and offer plenty of explanations, being sure to take advantage of the educational opportunity.  You may need to do some outreach in the area as newer teammates often are nervous or self-conscious and have a desire to impress on the job. If you run into an intern that isn’t reaching out, go out of your way to make the first contact and actively engage on a regular basis.

Provide Frequent Feedback

In school students often receive real-time, relatable feedback in the form of markups on individual assignments or grades at the end of the quarter and semester.  Once out in the workforce, the standard for feedback becomes the yearly review. While this is a great opportunity to let someone know how they measure up around bonus time, young interns and employees often benefit from feedback given along the way to help them make quick adjustments as they integrate into a career.

Managers should schedule monthly or even weekly check-ins with new graduate interns and employees.  A half-hour session on a scheduled basis can help keep everyone on track and will provide an opportunity for education and constructive criticism.  Waiting a whole year to find out just how you’re doing well or not can be frustrating when just starting out. Providing feedback to your young employees will produce a better work product and increase confidence in your staff.

Many employers are hesitant to hire recent graduates or interns thinking they will be more work or will produce lower output.  With a little bit of management, however, younger employees can provide a wealth of fresh ideas and energy to a business. Engage with your interns and recent graduates to show them the big picture, encourage questions and provide feedback, and you’ll see a noticeable uptick in performance plus have the opportunity to mold the individual into the model employee to boot!

Article Updated from April 14, 2018