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Let Ambition Soar - Trusting Your Graduates

8 Jul 2014

Entitled, self-possessed, low attention spans – there is a lot of negativity surrounding today’s graduates. These preconceptions, or should we say misconceptions, mean that many Millennial graduates have their work cut out when it comes to being taken seriously. Let’s break down the myths. Trusting your graduates could be the best thing to ever happen to your office, and here’s why.

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Recession mentality 

Throughout their later years of school and entire University career, many graduates were acutely aware of the recessional impact on their career prospects. They were warned of the lack of jobs, particularly compared to the number of applicants. In order to get one they would need to make themselves stand out like never before, and were advised above all against complacency, and towards competitiveness. Thankfully, the employment market is showing signs of significant improvement, but these ideas have become ingrained and will stand your company in good stead if they are embraced. Those who were determined have already accrued a useful amount of experience, even if it had to be largely unpaid. They have been incredibly entrepreneurial in their efforts to differentiate themselves, be it through jobs, education or skill development.

Determination, enthusiasm, experience – great qualities that can bring strength and ingenuity to your organisational activities.


Portfolio careers

The recession mentality has led to a self-reliance out of necessity for many graduates. In having to think creatively and trust their abilities in order to earn money and experience, this in turn has sparked a popularity of the phenomenon that is known as the portfolio career. Developing multiple career channels may seem unproductive, particularly in terms of dedication to a company, and this is partially right – recent research by the London Business School has shown that of this generation, 37% would stay no longer than two years with a company. There can be myriad benefits to a company that nurtures those with portfolio careers, however, rather than deeming them unworthy of support due to their supposed lack of commitment. Providing extra time or facilities for them to pursue their extra-curricular passions and goals, or simply being interested in what they do can be all it takes to encourage them to stay longer or dedicate themselves more to your cause. In return, you will get the benefit of their additional understanding, innovation and enthusiasm – a pretty great deal for any business that wants to thrive.


Culture shift

Supporting external pursuits will only go so far in the quest to recruit and retain graduates of the Millennial generation. As psychologist Barrie Hopson points out, Millennials are for more “values driven than previous generations”, meaning the traditional incentives such as promotions and salaries don’t quite cut it in terms of organisational culture and support. Fighting the tide can be an expensive mistake to make – instead, organisations must use this as an opportunity for some cultural spring cleaning. Incorporate a renewed focus on praise, respect and personal development within the company. From an external point of view, become a brand your graduate can be proud to say they work for because of what you stand for.

Google is a prime example of this – for those who work hard, the pay is handsome and promotion opportunities frequent, however these are taken as a given for the behemoth technology company. Where they excel is making graduates feel like a valued part of the team, having a focus on social good and an awareness of the role the company plays within the world. They nurture personal goals, capitalise on the innovation a graduate can bring to the company, and encourage learning within the organisation, all of which make for a high cultural fit with today’s graduates. According to a survey carried out by Millennial Branding and The Career Network, cultural fit is the main deciding factor for graduates when choosing to remain with an organisation, so it’s a key point to take on board.


Letting your graduates' ambitions soar within the workplace will help to ensure the survival of your company. How will you embrace the generational change? Tell us in the comments below.

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