Organisations regularly dedicate significant resources to finding the best graduates to join them each year. It’s therefore imperative that they ensure these talented new employees get the best start to their careers – frequently achieved by placing them on a structured development programme.
Graduate development is different to other development activities for a number of reasons, including:
- Their relative lack of work experience
- The significant personal adjustments graduates need to make
- The volume of contextual information they need to take on board
This represents the shift from “learning how to learn” to “learning how to work” – to best use their talents and skills in the organisational environment, as well as learning how to navigate the frequently ambiguous and challenging world of work.
The contrasts between the university campus and the typical office environment are obvious when we think about it. But it can be tempting to assume that great exam results and a relevant degree will ensure a smooth transition for our fresh-faced grads. This isn’t always the case and a supportive and practical development programme can support graduates to apply the knowledge and skills attained at university in your organisation.
Consider how much they need to know in terms of working with others, planning their career, dealing with ambiguity, addressing conflicting priorities and (whether or not you admit it) surviving with the inevitable office politics. With a recent report underlining the importance of “soft skills” in the workplace, it makes more sense than ever to ensure your newest and brightest recruits get a head-start in this area.
Consider also what personal adjustments they will need to make and how you can best support this transition. If your executives had to physically relocate, development a completely new network and adjust to a new workplace culture and countless processes after three or four years of stability, you’d be sure to provide them with the personalised support they need.