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How to successfully induct a new graduate

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Student - Photo Central Audiovisual Library, European Commission

Richard Phillips at MaST International outlines the key elements that make graduate inductions successful.

The first year of a graduate recruit is one of the most crucial periods of time for organisations and the graduates they employ. It is the first in-depth experience most graduates will have of their new employer. Most businesses will expect a return on their investment after the first 12 months, which highlights the importance of ensuring that at the end of this period, graduates have the necessary skills, behaviours and knowledge to contribute to business
success.

The following guidelines can help to ensure that graduate inductions are successful.

* Appoint a senior executive within the organisation to sponsor the induction programme, and to attend some of the sessions. This will emphasise the firm’s commitment to inducting and developing new graduates and sends a positive message about their value to the organisation.

* Be clear in your mind about what should be covered during the induction and when. Some information (e.g. health and safety) will need to be communicated immediately. Other information can be disseminated over a longer period of time, e.g. understanding the different business functions, developing leadership skills.

* Allow time for graduates to network. This enables them to build relationships with each other, and to appreciate and take advantage of the diversity of the group, for example, working styles, culture, problem solving skills. Graduates also need the opportunity to network with others in the organisation – graduates who build strong relationships throughout the business are more likely to stay in the long term.

* Use unusual and interesting methods to deliver information – a series of talking heads will not be as memorable as activities that involve graduate participation. Quizzes work well, as does giving responsibility to graduates to educate each other. For example, assign an area of the business to them to research. Then ask them to present back to each other in a creative and memorable way. This highlights the importance of initiative as well as managing their own development and career. It can send a clear message that the organisation values proactivity and creativity.

* Assign a ‘buddy’ to each graduate, who can support the new recruit. They can assist them in overcoming day-to-day challenges and can help them to quickly get to grips with some of the basics of the job, for example, how the computer systems work, who to contact in payroll, what clubs they can join. The buddy also plays an important role in helping graduates understand and embed the organisation’s culture.

* Ask all graduates to complete an assessment on the induction programme, so that it can be changed and improved for the following year. Encourage them to help shape the following year’s induction and/or to come and talk on ‘how to get the best out of your first year in the business’.

* Finally, ensure that all graduates have a defined personal
development and training programme to follow, after the induction period has finished. This will maintain momentum and enthusiasm as they begin to perform in their role. As a recent study by the Institute for Employment Studies shows, employers who cannot, or do not, offer visible opportunities
are likely to lose new graduate staff.

Top tips

1. Don’t follow a formulaic induction programme – make sure it is tailored and developed from one year to the next.

2. Ensure the induction isn’t just a one-way communication – graduates need opportunities to question and challenge.

3. Don’t promise activities that may not happen – e.g. if the CEO cancels his briefing session for new graduates, this sends the wrong message about the priority the business places on its graduates.

For more information about graduate inductions, please contact the Training Team on 0800 316 9090 or mailto:[email protected]

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Graduate recruitment

One Response

  1. Challenges!
    As a (relatively) recent graduate I think it is important to challenge graduate. I think most graduates look to be challenged but too many companies see graduates as nothing more than admin. Unfortantly this is likely to achieve nothing more than making them leave and look for more challenging employement else where. The ones who stay, in these situations, are the ones who want an easy life!

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