5 steps for helping new grads transition to the workplace

5 steps for helping new grads transition to the workplace

There are plenty of benefits to hiring a recent college graduate, with many fresh-out-of-school recruits bringing an abundance of energy and new ideas to the (boardroom) table.

There are, however, some “cons” to consider, too — issues grads themselves admit to facing upon entry into the work world.

In a survey by Accountemps, more than half of accounting and finance professionals polled felt only somewhat prepared for their first job after college, with 14 percent saying they did not feel ready at all.

Among their top concerns: an inability to handle office politics, inadequate technology or software skills, and a lack of the soft skills like industry awareness, flexibility and time management.

While there are many things students can (and should!) do to prepare for their first jobs out of school, there are also steps employers may want to take to ease the transition after a new grad has been hired.

Start with these five tips:

1. Extend a warm welcome

Making recent college graduates feel welcome at your workplace — even before their start date — can really pay off. From the time of their hire, encourage them to stay in touch by phone or email with any questions, and consider creating a Facebook group to help them keep up with company news and further familiarize themselves with your culture. Hosting special events is also a good idea; a first day on the job can be far less intimidating for newbies who’ve already mixed and mingled with members of their team.

2. Nurture new talent

A new graduate stands a better chance of succeeding in his or her role with the right support. Ensure you have more tenured staff members available to assist post-college employees in transitioning to working full time, and set up appropriate orientation and training programs to bring your new hires up to speed. From mentorships to job shadowing to hands-on training, well-executed onboarding measures will prove to be invaluable to your long-term investment in new graduates — particularly those who see themselves as lifelong learners (and many of them do).

3. Meet them halfway on communication preferences

There’s no denying that today’s college grads keep in touch differently than previous generations, thanks to new modes of communication like email and texting. While traditional oral and written communication is taught in school, recent graduates may still need guidance. By the same token, as an employer, it may be necessary for you and members of your team to adapt to a post-college hire’s style of communication. In other words, the key to success here is compromise.

4. Nip issues in the bud

If you see an attitude or behavior that needs to be corrected, address it immediately. For example, while it may seem obvious to a seasoned professional that proper business attire is required upon meeting a client, a new graduate may not have received the (often-unwritten) memo. Hopefully, he or she will only need to be reminded once before you see a change.

5. Promote collaboration

Professionals fresh from graduation like the freedom to accomplish their tasks, but they also favor collaborating with their colleagues as a team, according to recent Accountemps research on members of “Generation Z.” The survey showed that 64 percent of Gen Z respondents prefer working collaboratively with a small group in an office setting, versus working offsite.

Companies that embrace new college graduates and step up their retention efforts when it comes to these hires will reap the benefits. They will be better able to capitalize on this generation’s good ideas and passionate engagement.