With so much money and time invested in recruiting graduates, it’s no wonder that many companies find it highly demanding. To make things worse, retaining graduates appears to be an even bigger challenge. Almost 16% of employers say they lose between 51-100% of all grad hires within 24 months.

Yet, graduate programmes are a great way for you to amass young talent that can positively impact your bottom line. Thus, to benefit from that vast talent pool, tune in to what graduates expect from employers and retain them effectively!

#1. Onboarding

It’s more than likely that graduate candidates you hire will begin their professional careers with you. Having little to no work experience, they will likely be uncertain about what you expect from them and how to manoeuvre in the workplace.

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To ensure their initial confusion doesn’t turn into dissatisfaction, you need to provide young talent with a solid onboarding from day one. Not only is it a smart move on your part, but it also aligns with graduates’ expectations.

According to a Workforce Institute report, junior employees expect:

  • Hands-on training (44%)
  • Day-one orientation (43%)
  • Getting to know all details about the job upfront (33%)

On average, it takes around six months for a junior hire to start having a meaningful impact on your business. Therefore, there’s no need to try to speed up the process. Use that time to give graduate employees a good understanding of how your business works, what their daily tasks will look like, and what you expect from them.

That way, your fresh talent will feel better prepared and taken care of. And, as a result, you’ll retain graduates more easily long-term.

#2. Communication

A healthy employee-boss relationship cannot exist without good communication. Time and time again, we hear about employees quitting for communication-related issues, as reported by 62% of people.

The narrative seems to be similar among young talent. Looking at a report, a strong preference for a good communication flow is generally present.

  • 25% want regular check-ins with a manager during the first month at the job
  • 43% prefer receiving feedback in real-time rather than during a performance review
  • 75% prefer getting feedback in person rather than through e-mail or phone
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Although younger generations are digital natives, it’s overwhelmingly apparent that the value of the good, old face-to-face interaction was not lost on the way. Make sure you openly express your opinions, provide advice, and don’t forget about the importance of constructive feedback.

Where’s the benefit for you in that? 32% of Gen Zers, your primary graduate audience in the nearest future, say they’re motivated to stay longer and work harder at a company when they have a supportive manager.

Thus, delivering on that crucial need expressed by young people helps you retain graduates and boosts their performance!

#3. Flexibility

To successfully convince employees to stay with you, they need to enjoy your workplace rules. And while older generations are used to clocking in and out at the same time every day, it’s not the case with the younger workforce.

To retain graduates, you need to offer them flexibility regarding when they should carry out their tasks. 33% of the polled Gen Zers responded that they’d never tolerate an employer fully imposing their work schedule on them.

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Instead of the classic nine-to-five, let graduates regulate their work time – as long as they keep the deadlines. It gives them a sense of freedom they seek and helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance.

If you want graduate employees to be even more satisfied with you, go a step further and allow remote work – a perk that’s become highly appreciated in the past two years.

Based on a UK survey, 40% of current students admit they expect to work from home after graduation. Considering how many employers offer working from home at the moment, you risk losing potentially valuable talent that won’t shy away from pursuing companies that align with their needs.

#4. Discuss & Provide Development Opportunities

Graduates want to develop. They didn’t sacrifice years of their life on getting a degree to walk into a job without a future. Young talent is dead-set on advancing their careers – and they expect you to help them with that.

What is your target talent pool expecting from you?

How can you satisfy their needs?

  • Openly talk about promotion opportunities and how they can earn them (based on hard work!) – challenge them rather than force
  • Use performance reviews to let them know how they’re doing, what can be improved and where they’re shining – they’ll see you value them as a team member
  • Be open about giving graduates a chance to change a career path within your organisation if they (and you) think they’d perform better in a different position – it’s all about finding the right path for them!
  • Support their development by offering courses to improve or learn new skills

To retain graduates (all employees, in fact), you need to show them they’re important to your organisation. The best way of doing that is by giving them chances to grow professionally – with you.

After all, if your employer believes in you ‘making it’, why would you leave?

#5. Offer More Than Money

Money is usually a deciding factor when taking a job, but it’s no longer the only one that matters. Think about it. A salary is what every employee has to offer, whether it’s a local grocery store or Apple.

And although an extra amount on a monthly paycheck can be tempting, sometimes it’s the things you offer in addition to the money that may be the difference between keeping or losing young talent to the competition.

So, what benefits can help you retain graduates?

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The trend is apparent. Money is no longer your strongest currency in retaining valuable employees. Especially considering that 51% of Gen Zers say that it’s doing what they love that motivates them the most.

If you’d like to learn about recruitment methods that help you put the right candidates in the right positions to ensure they enjoy the work they do – give it a read!

Retain Graduates Like a Pro!

In times when recruiters report having skill shortages, any source of talent can be your lifeboat. Graduate programmes can be your way of securing a skilled workforce before the competition catches on.

But to do that, you need to make sure you not only attract and hire the best young talent but also convince them to stay long-term. Luckily, there’s enough data on what young people expect from employers that you can use to create a solid action plan. So, tune in to their needs and retain graduates like a pro!

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