5 Ways to Set New Graduates up for Success on the Job

June 27, 2016 in HR Best Practices


This time each year, a new wave of graduates hits the job market. This year’s grads–congrats, class of 2016!–herald the end of the Millennial era and the beginning of the next generation of workers: Generation Z. But regardless of their generational status, graduating classes have a lot in common as they start looking for their first post-college jobs. Namely, they’re new to the game.

They may have held internships or worked part-time during school, but they likely aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of the workplace yet. As an HR professional or hiring manager, you have the power to prepare them with knowledge and skills that can empower their future professional success. So if you’re hiring a graduate this year, help their transition from the classroom to the office go smoothly with these simple insights.

Spell everything out. Since you don’t know everything about your new hire’s previous job experiences, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to explain the office dress code (and how it changes for casual Fridays), the expected length of lunch breaks, and special perks and team traditions the new team member should be privy to. Also, offer to schedule a meeting between the recent graduate and an HR representative, so they can get an in-depth explanation of the healthcare plan, retirement options, and other benefits–and ask questions if they don’t understand.

Get ready for their arrival. This is important for any new hire, but for graduates especially. Set up a workstation with their laptop and phone and write a team welcome card to leave on their desk. Being prepared for the new hire’s arrival sets a tone of excitement for the collaboration and great work ahead, and makes the difference between a timid and confused first day and a happy, organized one.

Involve the team. Going from school to work is rough–especially since new grads are wondering how to foster work friendships. Jump-start their positive relationships with the team by encouraging team members to grab coffee or lunch with the new hire during their first week. Play an icebreaker at the first meeting the recent grad attends, and walk them around to meet the department. Plus, connect them with other new hires in the organization who are also learning the ropes. They’ll be making friends–and boosting productivity and engagement–in no time.

Lead a tour. It’s a classic for a reason–you’ve got to show the new hire around the campus. After all, nothing is worse than forgetting where the conference room is and running in to your first meeting late, flustered and embarrassed. After you give the requisite campus tour, show the recent grad some cool lunch spots your team enjoys. And if they’re from out of town, consider taking the initiative to show them some local sights on a Friday afternoon. They’ll appreciate you took the time and initiative, and feel even more comfortable in their new environment.

Show some appreciation. From the first day welcome card to the first assignment they hit out of the park, all the way through their one-month mark, be sure to express your appreciation for your recent graduates’ new hire. As their manager setting an example of frequent meaningful recognition, you will impact their professional lives for decades to come. Educate them on why recognition is important and how to deliver it to make an impact, and your whole team will benefit from your new hire’s newfound skill.

This blog appeared in our parent company’s e-newsletter, HR Insights. It was written by Elena Todorova, a recent college graduate and content specialist at O.C. Tanner.