Beyond the Org Chart
Whether making the transition from an undergraduate or a graduate program, new hires must be prepared to undergo a shift in mindset when going from student to employee and must address the psychological factors that can inhibit a successful transition. New hire training for recent graduates must go beyond introducing the employee to an organizations mission, vision, and structure, and beyond even the hire’s functional role and ability to execute according to the job description. New recent graduate hires transitioning from the classroom to the workplace must learn to develop new approaches to:
- Time management and control
- Meeting management
- Negotiation of objectives/deliverables and deadlines
- Setting priorities
- Dealing with the unpredictable
- Taking initiative (learning by doing)
- Increased complexity
- Performing for “results”
- Competitiveness and collaboration
- Getting and giving feedback
- Protocols, policies, and practices
- Managing expectations
- Being paid vs. paying to be there
According to onboarding expert and Global Dynamics Senior Associate Neil Currie, the first step organizations must take when embarking on training for newly graduated hires is to recognize the favored medium of your audience. “Most likely, that will be a blended solution, including social media, but check your assumptions about the target population,” says Currie.
According to Currie, training programs must help new graduates develop strategies to:
- Make a clean break—prepare for adjustments
- Know your company, department, product, people, etc.
- Establish your personal brand
- Set realistic expectations, earn respect, strive to excel
- Avoid comparisons
- Have a stress management strategy
- Listen and avoid snap judgments
- Set priorities
- Adapt business communications for impact
- Get to know key stakeholders
- Cultivate relationships with a “buddy,” “mentors,” and recent graduates
- Ask for help and learn from experience
TIPS FOR TRAINING NEWLY HIRED GRADUATES
- Consider new hires’ previous work and/or internship experience when designing the training.
- Utilize peer relationships. Peers can be matched with counterparts demonstrating complementing areas of strength. Currie suggests pairing the new hires with peers who made the transition from university fairly recently and can share “what I wish I had known” pointers. He also adds that the selected peers should u n dergo their own training to become successful peer coaches.
- Ensure the trainee is really ready to learn before starting the training. This means beginning the training when the new employee is motivated and ready to learn, as well as ensuring that all technical and administrative needs have been met, so as not to be a distraction to the learning.
- Illustrate the “big picture” to new hires. Showing how their contribution fits into that overall mission may help to prevent a lack of motivation that can be common for new graduates who may feel they are doing an unexpected amount of“grunt work” earlyin their careers.
- Make the training interactive. This not only keeps the learning interesting but has the added benefit of transitioning the learner from student (one-way communication) to the role of a contributing employee.
- Incorporate stress management into the transition training.
- Bring a group of geographically dispersed new hires together at one point if at all possible.
- The training should culminate with each learner building a personal plan that reflects his or her own areas of need.
Please share your tips or best practices for preparing new graduates for today’s workforce with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may explore them in a future article.
Neal Goodman, Ph.D., is president of Global Dynamics, Inc., a training and development firm specializing in globalization, cultural intelligence, effective virtual workplaces, and diversity and inclusion. He can be reached at 305.682.7883 and at ngoodman@globaldynamics. com. For more information, visit http://www.global-dynamics.com.