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Employee engagement and retention strategies for graduates 

July 26, 2023

Your recently graduated staff need to be nurtured. They will have spent the greatest majority of their lives in formal education, being set a schedule and consistently evaluated and supported. They may be finding the leap into employment to be a greater challenge than they expected, and without the support of an understanding employer, they could struggle to achieve their full potential.

Employee engagement and retention are critical aspects of any HR function and essential to business success. Without a strong strategy for recruiting and retaining staff, it is impossible to create a desirable business culture, to achieve milestones and KPIs and to deliver a profit at the end of each year.

Businesses across every industry sector realise that the most effective engagement and retention strategies cannot be static, but must instead flex and adapt to meet the particular needs of its workforce, and in no context is this more important than with graduates.

This is where investing in the best employee engagement software can make the difference.

Benefits of an engaged workforce

  1. Positive work culture. When a workforce is engaged and committed to achieving joint goals, they develop a positive work culture. This breeds success, which creates a virtuous circle of positivity, allowing that success to permeate into every aspect of the business.
  2. Enhanced productivity. Recruitment, training, absenteeism and employee disengagement are estimated to cost UK industry in the region of £340Bn [1] per year. This shocking figure demonstrates just how financially significant a disengaged workforce really is, and how important it is to prioritise engagement to secure productivity.
  3. Reduced turnover. When a workforce is happily engaged, recognised and rewarded, they have no reason to seek employment elsewhere, leading to a reduced turnover rate, greater stability and reduced recruitment costs.

Why strategies need to be tailored for graduates

Graduates will be keen to put their theoretical knowledge into practice and will actively seek out growth opportunities. In order for them to thrive, they require a supportive work environment and to be given a sense of purpose in their role.

They will require more regular feedback than embedded employees who are comfortable in their roles and can work with greater autonomy, although graduates will not wish to be micromanaged. It is essential to balance the need to support them with empowering them to deliver.

By helping your graduate workforce to feel valued and trusted, they are more likely to commit themselves to their new role, deliver their best effort and build loyalty to the organisation that employs them.

Ideas for employee engagement

1. Use an appropriate employee engagement platform.

Your graduate workforce are likely to be highly tech-literate, having grown up in the digital age. They will not be impressed by traditional benefits approaches and will instead yearn for data at the touch of a button.

Provide them with the best employee engagement software that you can access, allowing them 24/7 remote connectivity to your employee engagement platform. Allow them to manage, personalise and engage with the system to keep them involved and motivated.

2. Personalise their onboarding experience.

Create a comprehensive onboarding process that immerses graduates into the company's values, mission and objectives. Help them to understand the significance of their role in achieving the business' strategic vision.

Use your employee engagement platform to provide access to personalised onboarding and training materials to ease their transition into the organisation. Create an outline career plan that helps them to picture a long-term future with the company, aligned with their career plan and interests. Encourage them to engage with this tool to record achievements and aspirations.

3. Provide achievable challenges.

Your employee engagement platform can do more than record progress against a plan. It can create friendly competitions and challenges to promote team bonding and allow your graduates to showcase their skills. Doing this within a virtual environment can deliver a real confidence boost and encourage continued engagement.

4. Provide regular real-time feedback.

Graduates often need more regular feedback than established employees, so use your employee engagement platform to provide real-time feedback and recognition, to praise their achievements and share progress updates with their managers and peers. Regular recognition can motivate improved performance and reinforce their sense of belonging.

5. Encourage social connections.

Graduates may feel lonely within a diverse workplace, having come from educational facilities where they were grouped according to age, interest and skill level. You can create a sense of belonging by facilitating their involvement in social networking functions, encouraging them to interact, develop connections and collaborate across departments. You can even use your employee engagement platform to host virtual team building events.

Hopefully, these ideas for employee engagement will help you to enhance your employee engagement and retention statistics, create more collaborative communities and foster loyalty from your graduate community. With a little effort, your graduates can become brand ambassadors, attracting their peers to your workplace.

If you are considering an employee engagement platform that will fulfil all of the functions described above, and more, please contact Terryberry today.