New hire orientation advice for recent grads
As millennials and Gen Z take over the workforce, it’s critical for employers and hiring managers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of these recent graduates. After all, the success of your business is closely tied to their success.
According to a survey by McGraw-Hill Education, one of the primary areas where this group needs some extra help is interpersonal skills. When employers were asked about recent graduates’ career readiness, fewer than half said they seemed prepared in terms of professionalism and communication, and only 56% thought their critical thinking skills were up to par.
This comes as no surprise to Brad Karsh, president of the career consulting firm JobBound. “The millennial generation, which includes new hires, has lived a very structured life. They have had teachers, coaches, tutors, nannies, instructors and more to guide them every second, telling them exactly what to do from day one.” Karsh believes this background is the root cause for why younger workers sometimes have trouble thinking independently, which can contribute to workplace conflict.
Armed with this information, one of the ways employers can help bridge the gap is by emphasizing certain points during new hire orientations. Below are some words of advice from career experts.
1. Get ready — you’ve got a lot coming your way
“Employers should explain the importance of getting the little things,” says Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire and workplace contributor to Good Morning America. “Warn new grads that a ton of info will be thrown at them all at once — and to carry around a small pad to jot down key items.” In situations where a new hire is nodding along to every statement and explanation, Johnson says to stop and encourage the new hire to take notes, pay attention to the details, and understand the importance of asking smart questions. “Since it’s annoying to have to explain the same basics over and over,” says Johnson, “new hires need to know that colleagues will lose patience and trust when they doubt they’re grasping the little things.”
2. It’s not always going to be rosy
Lilith Christiansen, author of Successful Onboarding: A Strategy to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization, says when conducting new hire orientation and talking to recent grads about your company culture, it’s good to be honest. “While all of us want to showcase the best of our companies and the way we like to operate, it is more important for new hires to understand the reality.” Christiansen recommends that employers distinguish between the aspirational culture of their organization and the current culture. “In doing so,” she says, “you may find that you have not only helped them succeed in being more effective today, but you’ve created a group of change agents that can help the company move closer to that aspiration.”
3. Learn to deal like a mature professional
“In their first jobs, twenty-somethings meet a lot of people who are important to their future success,” says Alexandra Levit, author of MillennialTweet: 140 Bite Sized Ideas for Managing the Millennials. “In order to make the most of these interactions, they must develop a strong work persona — of the mature and competent face they project to the organization.” Levit recommends that employers help new hires achieve a higher level of “executive presence” by providing new hire orientation and employee training on appropriate dress and appearance, effective on-the-job communication, social behavior, and attitude management.
She also stresses that new hires be taught to de-emphasize the importance of getting more responsibility as soon as possible. Rather, employers should teach grads to “focus on making the most of their first jobs by setting short and long-term career goals that will be useful no matter where they go or what they do.”
4. See the bigger picture
“I always coach managers to understand that when giving critical feedback to a new college hire, it’s important to explain to them how their actions are negatively impacting three areas,” says J.T. O’Donnell, President of Careerealism.com, “the business, their co-workers, and most importantly, their own career.” O’Donnell says many seasoned managers only explain the first — which can come across as insensitive. She also believes newbies should be given extra time to appreciate how their behaviors impact the organization as a whole because “they simply haven’t learned their way around the office yet.”
5. Now is your time to stand out and move up!
Sammi Rosin Lewis, Assistant Director for the Florida International University College of Business works with undergrads every day to help them transition into the workforce successfully. She believes that employers should be very clear during a new hire’s orientation that the employee’s first few years in the workforce are a unique window to prove themselves. “They shouldn’t be afraid to initially invest in their career first and social life second,” she says. “If they do it right, the results in five to ten years will be exponential.”
Hire top talent from the get-go
One way to ease your new hire orientation efforts is to recruit candidates with exceptional hard and soft skills. This can be easier said than done, especially when your target pool includes recent college grads. Signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions’ expert recruiting advice and current hiring trends can help you source, hire, and manage a quality team.