Hiring graduates and young apprentices should be an exciting time for businesses. Their talent, ideas and mindset can offer a refreshing addition to an existing team.
Sadly however, things can occasionally go wrong and both parties can be left feeling disappointed – “It wasn’t what I was promised”, or “They didn’t do what they said they would”. This breakdown of communication can be caused by a change in personal circumstances, a clash of personalities or a change in what people are looking for but more often than not it is the result of a lack of planning and time.
As their manager, you have the ability to make it a success. By following a few key steps, you can forge a strong long-term partnership from day one.
1. Have clear expectations –before you consider hiring an apprentice or graduate it is vital to identify what it is you want them to do – not just on the day they arrive or for the first few months but longer term. What will their role be and where do you see this person fitting in the team for the long term? On the flip side, what are you promising to give to this new team member? Clear expectations work both ways so it is important they know what to expect from you too.
2. Allocate them a buddy/mentor figure – having a go to person to talk to is a great way of helping the new person settle in a team. It gives them support and encourages open dialogue within the team. Likewise, it allows the buddy to see how the new person is REALLY getting on rather than just what the manager presumes is the case.
3. Proper onboarding process – it’s a simple essential step to a successful new hire. Have the computer, email, workstation all set up and ready for the day the new team member starts. It is not a surprise they have started so make them feel you are prepared and in control. Have a clear plan for the first day, first week and first month. What is happening when – people like to know. This is the opportunity for you to continue sharing what their expectations are and also your expectations as their manager.
4. Give them your time –Don’t fall into the “I’m too busy to train them” trap, it is vital to set aside time for your team member. Daily or weekly, it doesn’t matter, but set this time aside and let them know the plan. By giving up time at this stage of the hiring process, you will save yourself masses of time in the months ahead. Diarise regular ‘touch points’ throughout the first six months so the new employee knows they are not being dropped straight away, six monthly probations and annual appraisals seem like a lifetime away.
5. Training – what training needs to be offered and when does it need to be completed. Set a plan, share it with your new employee and stick to it. This then makes both of you accountable.
As with any successful project delivery, planning, implementation and communication are central and guaranteed to make the hiring of a graduate/apprentice a positive and successful experience for both of you.
This guest blog was written by Charlotte Sykes and Tally Taylor of CWR Career Workshops and Recruitment. Charlotte and Tally have extensive experience delivering dynamic career training and coaching to young adults in the education sector.