Employer Branding

Common Mistakes Managers Make With Graduates

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies plan to increase their recent graduate hiring by 11% in 2016.  For many hiring managers and recruiters, significant benefits come from recruiting fresh blood. Paying lower salaries, off-setting pending retirements, diversifying the age range within the office and the allure of molding new talent into future leadership are just a few motivators for actively recruiting entry-level personnel. However, statistics tell us that entry-level hiring is often plagued with turnovers and frustration, with some research highlighting graduates carrying a turnover rate exceeding 50%.

Who is to blame?  It doesn’t matter, because each circumstance is different. What matters is strategizing how to best lower the new graduate turnover rate.  This begins with a fundamental understanding of the common leadership mistakes managers make with entry-level employees.

Failure to build self-confidence from the get-go

Self-confidence in many younger individuals is much lower than many employers believe it to be.  In order to help recent graduates produce to their fullest capacity, it’s imperative that a manager leads them via highlighting and convincing the individuals of their potential. Often, a manager will see the potential in a younger employee, however their opinion is meaningless if the person isn’t made to feel proud and supported in their abilities.  When managers fail to build confidence in younger staff, the recent graduate often focuses on the negatives; why work can’t be done, why a task is impossible, why it’s too difficult to finish. The pessimistic mindset hinders performance and, after a while, management finds themselves with an employee who had potential but has now given up.

Failure to convey overarching company goals

Every strong leader sets a goal and does whatever it takes to make it happen.  They openly inform others as to what those goals are, which allows recent graduates to feel as if their work is meaningful. Expecting younger employees to figure out the overall vision is a common leadership miscalculation that often leads to lackluster performance on the part of recent graduates. Belief that their work has heavy impact and meaning is highly important to young professionals today.  Without this, their ambition and focus suffers tremendously.

Failure to provide formal training and on-going education

According to a report released by Accenture, along with low salaries, recent graduates often complain about a lack of education. Due to ever-increasing schedule demand from employers, this aspect of personal growth is often overlooked.  Inability to educate is viewed differently by graduates than it has been by past generations. Often, recent graduates view a lack of continuing education as a sign that advancement is not possible.  At the same time, managers sometimes view the need for continual education as a sign of lacking autonomy.   It doesn’t matter who is right.  What matters is that the disconnect and lack of continued growth results in withdrawn, unproductive and often resentful workers.

In the End

Recent graduates view the work environment differently to their parents, or even their older cousins.  The graduates entering the workforce this summer will look to their managers to instil in them a sense of purpose and forward movement. Rather than brushing off that desire as generational or beside the point of a functioning company, hiring managers would do well to look at their own methods and see where they can make adjustments to help their new employees rise to the top.

Top image: Shutterstock

By Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.