Recent grads can be a golden goose of employment potential. Their minds are fresh, their spirits high, and they're eager to apply their talents. Many such individuals flood the workforce through entry level positions, a little rough around the edges but ready for refinement and hungry for experience.
However, the rawness of recent grads can come with its fair share of challenges. Not all of them have had internships or legitimate experience in the workforce before, which can make understanding the shift from an academic career to a professional career a tricky transition.
As an employer, it's in your interest to effectively manage employees and cultivate their potential. Investing time and effort into your management practices, especially with employees who have so much to learn from you, is a great way to lead inspired, productive employees. Here are three ways you can get started and effectively manage recent grads.
1. Set Clear Goals
This seems like it should be obvious, but many employers make the mistake of being too vague or broad in their communication of goals to entry level employees. While many employees are certainly self-motivated enough to keep an eye on goals and track their own performance, it helps to be more direct and specific with recent grads. Less in the interest of micro-management than it is clear guidance, discussing and determining goals collaboratively with recent grads is a way of setting up strong employee performance.
Determining short-term and long-term goals with entry level employees sets them up for success and puts a broader picture of accomplishment in place. It also combats employee stagnancy, because the employee is able to see how smaller, daily tasks are contributing to a larger outcome. Take some time to strategize with your recent grad hires and come up with common goals for them to focus on. Moving forward, check in with each other to stay focused on those goals and develop new benchmarks along the way.
2. Establish Regular Communication
Lack of communication between management and employees is the death of productivity and, in some cases, satisfaction. As human beings, communication is imperative for the success of any group. That need for communication is exceptionally important in work settings, where brands and businesses are constantly competing against one another. Without efficient and positive internal communication, the fluidity of communicating messages, ideas, products, and promotions from within an organization to a wider audience will suffer.
To establish habits of regular communication, try setting up a scheduled time to meet and discuss projects, goals, and other relevant subjects. It's a natural way of staying on the same page with your fresher employees, and maintains a consistent check-in point. Regular communication will also make the professional relationship between management and new employees more comfortable, which is particularly helpful when you have to deliver criticism to or reprimand a recent grad. Regular communication will make problem solving and staying focused clearer for all parties involved, and it will give younger employees the point of accountability they need to excel.
3. Give Feedback Often
Again, this is something that seems obvious for employee management but is often overlooked. The importance of giving employees feedback cannot be understated, especially when it comes to new hires that have recently graduated and are just entering the professional world. Part of effective management is relaying specific, guided feedback. That means explaining in detail what the employee is doing that works, what isn't working, areas that can be improved, and many other aspects that come with early career development.
It's in the interest of all managers and businesses to give constructive feedback often, as it pushes employees in the direction you expect them to progress them. To facilitate regular feedback, many employers complete performance evaluations quarterly or annually. While that's certainly a great practice, it also doesn't hurt to make feedback more common. Sending an email of instruction or encouragement, or offering a little recognition for a job well done is an excellent way to deliver feedback.
It's important to remember that while all of these tips are management no-brainers, they are also practices of extra importance when it comes to the management of recent graduates/entry level employees. How you manage an individual in the earliest stages of their career can set the tone for how they approach work for years to come, so committing to these simple practices is as much in their interest as it is in yours.