With college commencements fast approaching, there’s an abundance of advice articles for new grads entering the workforce.
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But what about the hiring manager? After all, it is a two-way street for that working relationship to actually work, well!
What do new grads most want in a workplace and a boss? Here are five success tips for making that perfect connection based on poll data from 2013 graduates of the Dulye Leadership Experience (DLE), a professional development / leadership program for college juniors and seniors that I’ve established with my alma mater, Syracuse University.
No. 1: Explain your expectations and how you operate.
Know your management style and know how to describe it to others. Nearly 70% of DLE students polled indicated that getting to know their boss’s management style mattered most in adjusting to that first job after graduation. This is important information to share during several conversations (not emails) upon your new grad’s arrival.
Get it known from the start—let the rookie know how you operate, communicate, evaluate. What sets you off, in laughter or disappointment? If you need help defining your key personality traits seek help from a close colleague, who will provide an honest assessment.
No. 2: Talk about culture.
Just as new grads need to understand and adapt to your management style, they need to fit in with the overall company culture. Culture comes alive in how people act, speak and interact. You can see it. You can hear it. But a new grad joining your company isn’t tuned in to the personality of your workplace. She has been navigating a college culture with dramatically different ground rules.
Provide periodic coaching about how to successfully operate in support of the values, mission, ethics, goals and work environment that comprise your company’s culture. Extend that assignment to another member of your team who can be a trusted guide for everyday questions that arise about everything from meeting protocol to presentation format, and the best break room to use.
No. 3: Sharpen your listening skills.
That’s a daunting task given the demands of meetings, managing and multi-tasking. Focus and interest are what new grads want in a boss, and the best way to demonstrate both is by engaging in conversation—either face-to-face or by phone.
The majority of polled DLE students said that a boss who cares shows it by asking follow-up questions during a conversation. Other vote-getters: making good eye contact and putting away his or her mobile phone. Incidentally, the dividends on active listening are great: 80% of students said having a boss who is a good listener would motivate them to a great extent to perform their job.
No. 4: Foster connections.
Make the effort to introduce your new grad to others in your company. Connect them with your contacts on site and in remote locations. Open doors for them to meet senior leaders, shift workers, administrative assistants and associates from other departments.
Go external as well with introductions to customers, suppliers and colleagues in professional organizations. Networks matter to new grads. DLE students rated it as the factor that will most fuel their career growth.
No. 5: Say thank you, and mean it.
When asked, “What motivates you on the job?” students’ top response was, “verbal recognition from their direct boss.” Sincere words of appreciation for a job well done exceeded monetary rewards by a two-to-one margin.
Know how to recognize with a message that identifies specific accomplishments and how they’ve benefited a customer or work team. Know where to recognize by stepping out of your office and meeting your new hire in his work area. Know when to recognize so that you keep things lively and lasting. A firm hand-shake and “thank you” prior to a big meeting with a customer or associate can become an instant adrenalin and confidence rush.
Make the most of the talents and perspective of your new grad – every day. The majority of students expect to change companies and jobs at least twice by the time they are 30. But meaningful work and respect on the job will keep their performance level high, while you have them. See all results of the DLE new grad poll at http://dulye.com/dulye-leadership-experience-poll)
Linda Dulye is internationally recognized for helping many companies go spectator free. A former communications leader for GE and Allied Signal, Linda established Dulye & Co with a practical, process-driven approach for improving communications and collaboration through an engaged workforce— a formidable competitive advantage, that she calls a Spectator-Free Workplace™. In 2008, she founded the Dulye Leadership Experience at her alma mater, Syracuse University, to help college students swiftly and successfully transition into the workplace.