Attracting Top Graduates Will Carry Weight
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can gain a great deal by hiring graduates. The problem is that top grads tend to prefer larger companies, though this trend has changed somewhat due to the increased unemployment status graduates are facing nowadays. However, since many graduates decide to take jobs in smaller and medium-sized businesses in order to gain work experience, the trick is not only how to attract these grads, but also how will you be able to retain them in the future.
There are a number of ways you can both attract and retain grads, but for simplicity's sake, SMEs should follow these tips:
Be competitive: It is natural for the majority of graduates to want to work in their own field. While that may be a priority, they are looking for more than pleasure in their work; they also want to earn a decent salary. Therefore, it is critical to pay a competitive salary, as you will be far more likely to retain their services. Also, you might be wise to offer some form of bonuses – a company mobile phone, a vacation or financial support if the grad wants to continue his or her education.
Offer a chance for promotion: Most successful graduates have above average expectations about their professional careers. While they likely understand they won't be given the top jobs within the company directly, it is important that they know there is a chance of promotion to a higher position if they perform their jobs well. Without that hope, they are far more likely to quit the company as soon as a better offer presents itself elsewhere.
Ensure the work environment stimulates and motivates: A decent salary alone isn't always adequate to retain the best and most qualified graduates. Since we spend most of our days working, it is essential to enjoy your working environment. Be sure to provide your employees with all the requisite tools and equipment they need to do their jobs, and allow them to express their opinions freely, without fretting about any possible repercussions. If your employees feel truly appreciated for the jobs they do, they are less likely to jump ship for another company, even if that firm is offering a better salary.
Ultimately, it is the personal decision of every individual as to whether or not he or she takes a job or stays on with a particular company. But utilizing some of these tools I have suggested may help retain those graduates that you would really like to stay with your company. One other option, if your firm is able to offer it, would be to offer an employee part-time work or the opportunity to work from home part-time. There are some circumstances – recovery from an illness, a new baby – where this option would be the best for all parties concerned.
There are a number of funding programs to help offset the costs of hiring and training graduates that I will cover in a future blog.