Individuals who have recently left full time education bring a lot to the workplace, but they also need some help to make the transition. Here’s how to bridge the gap from education to employment.
Graduates, apprentices and young employees bring creative ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn when they join a workplace for the first time. There are plentiful benefits to businesses when employing those just leaving education, but they may not have had the opportunity to develop core skills that are crucial to the workplace.
Here’s how to make the transition from education to employment a smooth one, helping these young employees reach their potential.
1. Relate how performance is measured
When new employees are joining directly from an education setting, they are used to being assessed in a particular way, when success ultimately comes down to achieving particular grades. The role of teachers and mentors in an education setting is often to promote individualism within well-defined parameters. When these new recruits join your workplace, you can use these ideas as a foundation to explain the similarities and differences of how success is measured in the workplace. You can also set measurable objectives to help them progress along a clear pathway. Defining goals and sharing personal development review criteria will help new employees understand what is expected of them in terms of performance, while highlighting the importance of teamwork and collaboration will show them how they can thrive in the company.
2. Boost confidence to collaborate
New graduates and apprentices can feel unsure about collaborating with others while they are getting used to a completely new environment. Find ways to boost their confidence so they feel their input is valid. A great way of doing this is asking them to apply one of the skills, strengths or areas of expertise they gained during their education, and applying it directly to a project. Giving them a specific purpose on a piece of work for the team will give them an immediate confidence boost.
3. Promote business awareness
Some young new recruits need a little help understanding their place and how their role fits into a team and the wider organisation. Having early conversations about how the team works together and what others are responsible for can show new recruits what is expected of them and how they slot in. Helping these new employees see what impact their role will have on the wider company creates business awareness as well as a sense of value and purpose too.
4. Promote self-awareness
Give them an opportunity to develop their self-awareness. By using experiential learning in group sessions they will have the opportunity to explore their personal impact. Identifying successes and areas for personal development should take place in a fun yet safe environment. The greater the depth of self-awareness and personal impact they have on others, the more empathy and understanding for their colleagues they will have. This is essential to help them fit in quickly and get the most out of themselves and those around them.
5. Communication skills
Many graduates and apprentices haven’t had the opportunity to learn core skills in a way that is applicable to the workplace. Communication is one of the most important areas they need to understand, so this is an area worth investing in early on, which could include elements of training and mentorship. Focusing on verbal and written communication is key, and in particular how adapting communication styles depending on the person they are communicating with can maximise the impact of workplace interactions.
6. Induction process
Having a well thought-through induction programme is one of the best ways to bridge the gap between education and employment. Give new recruits exposure to people and processes in different parts of the business, ensure they understand the company’s vision, mission and values, and provide opportunities for interaction with a multitude of colleagues. Soaking up the culture of the workplace in this way will help them slot right in.
Take the time to integrate graduates and apprentices into the workplace in a bespoke way to help both the business and the individuals get the most out of their employment.