According to the National Center for Education Statistics, by the end of the 2015-2016 school year, colleges will award 1.8 million bachelor degrees. That is 1.8 million new prospects entering the job market. While the competition is tough, recent grads have the best hiring prospects since 2007. CareerBuilder released a new survey that reported 65 percent of employers plan on hiring recent college grads this year, compared to 57 percent last year.
With those numbers, chances are that your company will be seeing some fresh college faces in the office eventually. But, is managing recent college grads any different than a seasoned worker? Yes and no. There are some definite pros and cons to hiring (and managing) new workers. In this article we'll lay out a few of the pros and cons before providing some useful tips for navigating the management of a recent college grad.
What do they lack?
Just because companies are more willing to hire recent grads recently does not meant they don't still harbor some fears. One in four employers worries about the workplace competency of graduates, according to CareerBuilder.
There still exists a very real fear that college grads aren't really quite ready for real world jobs, as 46 percent of CareerBuilder's respondents are concerned that colleges have prepped potential prospects with more book skills than real-life skills. When polled on what skills they believed college grads lacked, the major concerns involved a lack of interpersonal/people skills.
"New college hires can bring high levels of productivity to the workplace."
What do they have?
With all those negatives why would a company ever bother hiring any recent college graduates? Well, because it is actually not all bad – in fact, there are a lot of advantages to adding a fresh, new worker into your office.
The obvious reasons have a lot to do with being eager and ambitious. While all new employees have a level of startup ambition, college graduates bring that to a whole new level (most will be beyond grateful for even being hired in the first place). DirectEmployers, a talent acquisition company, affirmed this notion, adding that new college hires can bring high levels of productivity to the workplace.
FastCompany writer Amit Chauhan noted that companies can snag promising potential for their businesses by hiring workers right out of college. The new workers in the field today will be the CEOs of tomorrow, wrote Chauhan, allowing these new employees to flourish within your company could set your business up for success in the long run.
Both DirectEmployers and Chauhan believe that the ability to mold recent college grads is one of the best advantages of hiring them. There is no need to fix bad habits picked up by other employers, and more often than not, these new hires are highly receptive to shaping their work styles to fit the pre-existing company culture.
What do you do?
We have you sold! Recent college graduates are clearly the best employees in the history of anything (why didn't you think of this sooner?!). So, how do you manage them?
Honestly, the major difference in management lies in the hand-holding period. Recent college graduates might require a little more breaking in than other (more seasoned) hires. Daniel Goleman, author of "The Executive Edge: An Insider's Guide to Outstanding Leadership," argues that there a few key ways to equip these new grads with the interpersonal and real-life skills employers fear they may lack.
For starters, if your company is planning on hiring a handful of recent grads, it might be worth your time to set up a mentor program. This type of program can ensure that there is at least one person in the company that your new hires can feel comfortable asking questions. It also has the added bonus of exercising interpersonal communication skills.
Another option is to tweak your existing training program. Most companies have a training program in place for new hires, but it might be useful to add extra teaching components into this system for college-hires. Goleman cited the fact that all skills that may be missing from these fresh hires can be easily learned. If you implement key skills into your training program, hires can learn what is needed from them at an early stage.
Create a comfortable environment. Try to introduce your existing employees (and yourself) in a casual and friendly manner. The more comfortable a new hire feels, the more likely it will be that they will thrive. If their fellow staff members and bosses seem approachable, these college grads will be more likely to ask questions and communicate concerns.
Recent college grads can truly be an asset to any company. However, as with any new hire, the way you manage and train them has a lot to do with how successful they will be. Try to encourage their growth and be relatively patient as they learn. Who knows? You could be handing them the keys to the company someday.