You’ve Hired a New Graduate…Now What?

Organizations need to have a dedicated onboarding system that engages workers from day one.

College graduation season is upon us. Between the caps and gowns, and photo opportunities are an estimated 1,855,000 students graduating at the Bachelor’s degree level looking to enter the workforce. Lucky for them, NACE’s Job Outlook survey indicates employers expect to hire more new college graduates now than they did in 2014. Specifically, they’re looking for employees who can communicate effectively, process and retain information, and analyze data, among other things.

Once companies find the right candidate, how can they be sure these newly hired individuals will be lasting employees? A recent case study found that, of the 100 to 150 new college graduates that an unnamed global financial services company hires each year, approximately 35 percent do not stay longer than two to three years. The data demonstrates the need for organizations to have a dedicated onboarding system that engages workers from day one.

The responsibility goes to human resource (HR) and training teams, to implement inventive practices that support new hires. It is these practices that improve workplace performance and boost morale, which ultimately retains talent.

Welcome Aboard

Post-orientation comes the onboarding process and the first opportunity for companies to truly engage employees. However, according to Allied HR services, one-third of companies spend zero dollars on onboarding, which results in one-third of employees failing to meet company expectations in relation to productivity. The latter statistic suggests that a little investment in onboarding can go a long way toward grooming a future executive.

So, how can companies successfully onboard new hires? Start with technology, and video in particular. New graduates, who are typically somewhere in their early 20s, are accustomed to processing video content. With the rise of on-demand content, YouTube, and the use of the flipped classroom model in higher education, Millennials are no stranger to consuming video as a way of learning. Since video is something familiar, it’ll be a welcome tactic for efficiently providing information on company culture, internal hierarchy, and any office how-tos.

Video is a great partner for trainers to help graduates get up to speed, but at their own pace. This is because it can be paused, rewound, and re-watched until it sticks. Plus, video eases the typical confusion that often comes with written communication and new terminology.

However, as these onboarding phases begin to diminish, it’s important for HR and training programs to continue to be active.

Keeping the Momentum

Once new graduates have moved through the onboarding phase, organizations need to remain active in offering training programs. Whether it’s bi-monthly or every quarter, graduates need to be constantly challenged to trigger growth.

Online portals or LMSs are great resources to further training practices. These are an easy hub for companies to host documents, videos, and relevant links, as well as encourage collaboration among all employees. If a new employee raises a question on a topic, it should be simple for a veteran employee who is familiar with the topic to jump in and provide guidance. Even if training programs are a constant fixture, they become irrelevant if employees aren’t given the day-to-day resources to ask questions and seek clarification.

A Sense of Belonging

Onboarding and training are essential solutions, but it’s also important for organizations to implement programs that make these new graduates feel like part of the company community.

If a new graduate takes an internship versus an entry-level job, it’s important to have programs in place that give interns real-world and practical experience, but also help them determine if the company they are at is the right match. Mentors are important figures for new graduates, but also important for interns. Providing interns with a mentor—likely someone in a role they soon could hold—is helpful to showcase the job responsibilities. These programs not only help interns acclimate to their department, but the company as a whole.

Staying Put

Companies should not expect the new graduates they hire to be lifetime employees. But they should strive to do what they can to retain these individuals and foster their growth and development. Employees who receive effective and engaging onboarding and training ultimately feel like a valued part of the company, and are better positioned to make a long-term difference.

Matt Pierce is Customer Engagement manager at TechSmith Corp., a software company that provides practical business and academic solutions that change how people communicate and collaborate across devices. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training and user assistance teams for TechSmith, and also has run its visual communication Web show, The Forge, interviewing guests from around the world discussing the use of visuals, video, and technology in education, training, marketing, and more. Teach him something @piercemr.

Amy Casciotti is the Human Resources director at TechSmith Corp. A graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Casciotti has more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources. Her expertise includes employee relations management, recruitment, hiring, policies, and organizational development.