An engaging, connection-fueled program for onboarding graduates could be the competitive edge you need in a tight labor market.
Businesses are increasingly hiring recent college grads to fill out their workforces, with hiring projections for this group up nearly 15% from last year. But making the hire doesn’t mean your work is over — in fact, that’s just the beginning.
One-third of graduates who accepted a job offer are still actively applying to other roles, and one-third don’t plan on staying with their first employer for more than one year, according to research from The LaSalle Network. To keep your graduate talent happy, you need to engage and support them before they start — and throughout their tenure with you.
That’s why graduate recruitment and onboarding are pivotal for retaining recent college graduates. Showcasing a positive work experience and delivering on that promise — even before a new hire’s first day — demonstrates the authenticity and connection many young people crave.
We’re here to help: Check out our top five tips for recruiting and onboarding college graduates in an engaging, human-centric way.
Provide a glimpse into work experiences and opportunities 🗣️
Most candidates won’t take a chance on a job if they don’t know what to expect from the employee experience — your values, whether your culture is inclusive, or whether people like working for you. Help candidates answer these questions by building out your recruitment marketing with details about team dynamics, company culture, career development opportunities, and other elements of day-to-day work life.
Another way to demonstrate your commitment is by highlighting stories from recent grads who are successful in your organization. Seeing how their peers have moved from entry-level hire to thriving line manager can be highly encouraging for young talent.
Additionally, newly graduated talent are looking for career opportunities where they can apply their degrees. Showcase some of your team members’ educational backgrounds so potential candidates can see where and how they might fit into your workforce.
Engage new hires before their first day 🤝
Design your recent grad onboarding program to engage new hires before their first day — starting at the moment they accept your offer. The most successful onboarding programs “preboard” new hires with immediate communication and engagement. At the most basic level, this includes new-hire paperwork and setting them up in your tech systems. The less time they spend on busywork on their first day, the sooner they can make connections with colleagues and start to learn the business.
That’s only the surface of preboarding. Use the time before a new hire starts to find out more about them so you can create a truly personalized welcome package for their first day, set up meet-and-greets, and other tailored experiences. Consistency in interactions ahead of their start date reduces the likelihood they’ll regret or renege on their acceptance — and gets them excited to start contributing from day one.
Foster connection and friendships at work
Connections manifest in many ways at work. These include intentional interactions with other new hires, getting paired with a career coach, and learning about the company's mission and goals. This is where technology helps: Use your workflow tools – like Enboarder® – to prompt workers to make connections, deliver educational content, and connect the new hire’s role to company goals.
Businesses can foster friendships at work by creating a positive and inclusive work atmosphere. New grads have just left a place where they formed some of their strongest relationships, and they’re looking for a work environment that encourages connection and friendship. Offering voluntary social opportunities and shared experiences can go a long way toward making grads feel at home.
Fostering intentional connections is especially important for roles where employees will be working from home full time. Help them develop a sense of belonging to ward off the chances of them feeling isolated and alone.
Create a memorable and meaningful onboarding experience 📜
An effective onboarding process helps recent grads quickly learn about their job, build trust with their colleagues, and connect to the company’s mission and culture. You can make that process more memorable and meaningful for recent graduates by providing an intentional, tailored experience.
Employee workflow management software can help. Many recent grads and younger employees consume content in smaller bites, and new hires of all ages benefit from a more controlled flow of information. Instead of overwhelming new hires with everything about your company in one day, develop drip campaigns to gradually welcome new employees into your culture. For example, deliver content about company values when new hires have a chance to apply them in the flow of work.
Connect graduate hires with buddies and mentors 😎
Starting a new job can be overwhelming, especially if it’s a recent grad’s first full-time role. Help your new employees by pairing them with buddies and mentors. Buddies are experienced employees who can introduce new hires to the company, and mentors can be sounding boards who help recent grads think about professional growth.
A buddy system at work gives new grads a resource for advice, guidance, support, and camaraderie. Invite passionate, engaged employees to participate as buddies in your program.
An effective mentoring program, meanwhile, helps new hires understand the company culture and values while providing insight into growth opportunities within the company and industry.
Enlist Enboarder’s help recruiting and onboarding graduates
Recruiting and onboarding college graduates can be a challenge for any organization, but with the help of the right partners and resources (this e-book is a great place to start), you can set your new-grad hires up for success.
Enboarder’s Human Connection Platform® empowers you to smoothly transition graduate talent from the college experience to a long-term career within your company. Book a demo today to find out how we can support you and your college graduate onboarding experience.