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Helping your entry-level talent succeed

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

As Human Resources, you wear many hats: Teacher, Administrator, Payroll activist and even the Occasional therapist. While all of these contribute significantly to organizational health, talent management takes the cake. Your duty, as you have chosen to accept it, often entails having to recall how intimidating your first day at work was and to make it easier for those who come after you. This is also known as, streamlining the onboarding system.

The onboarding process, especially at an entry-level needs to be handled with care in order to ensure employee retention and productivity in the long run. It requires attention to detail and effort toward the candidate feeling welcome, connecting with their colleagues and being clear about their duties, responsibilities, and overall company culture. Whether or not you succeed at this stage will determine your employee retention and growth rate. That being said, what exactly can you do to ensure you succeed in your onboarding journey and maximize entry-level retention? In this section, I will explore it by highlighting and discussing the following in detail:

Role clarity

This one is clear, no?

It is important that your new hire has a clear understanding of the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of their position. This could mean having an orientation week where the to do’s include: taking the candidate through the intricate details of their job description and contract, highlighting the health and safety requirements and giving them an overall feel of the company culture and key working relationships. Having a clear understanding of what their role is, increases their capacity to meet expectations and perform at their most optimum.

Here are some of the other ways your organization could benefit from having role clarity.

Work Talent Assessment

Given their limited work experience, it is a common assumption that most entry-level talent has little to no idea what they want career-wise. However, it is important to note that most university graduates have a broad idea of what they would like to do and how they would like to work, going in. It is your job to understand this and come up with ways to assess their interests and tailor some of the jobs you give to them accordingly. Their interests could range from, interacting with people, working quietly by themselves, writing, compiling statistics, working with numbers etc

The sooner you find out what your new hire’s interests are the sooner you are able to come up with new and fun ways to work together.

Learning & Development

Driving your new hire’s learning initiatives is a sure way to kick start your onboarding journey on a positive note. Helping your new hire get on the road to achieving their professional and personal goals shows that you are invested in their growth journey long-term.

Once you identify what your entry-level talent likes to do, take it a step further by creating an environment in which they can foster their interests. This includes but is not limited to, paying for networking events, online classes for self-directed learning, mentorship, seminars, company retreats, informal training, creating learning plans etc. Facilitating this shows a commitment toward their long-term career growth and eventually boosts engagement and overall performance.

Goal Clarity

Whether it’s week one, month one or 90 days into it. Your employees require both short- and long-term goals to keep things in perspective. During the first few weeks of their employment, giving them easy, short term goals gives you a clearer view of their skills and also helps them feel like they are contributing to the organization. A simple day one goal could be filling out a welcome day checklist as they get familiar with their duties and colleagues. A week one goal could entail familiarizing themselves with the company software and I.T Department. After the first month, it could be important to assess more on-the-job knowledge hence, a small on-the-job goal can be set and assessed. It is crucial to avoid giving bulky goals to new hires as it takes quite a while to fully acquainted with a new business. Start small then build up.

Employee Engagement

To reduce instances where employees feel out of place it is important to ensure that most (if not all) the employees get some time with them. This is beneficial not only for training purposes but to build rapport and set expectations. Given the current atmosphere, this can easily be done through a series of zoom meetings. Time slots can be allotted, and the new hire can get to hear from every employee during the first week of orientation. Later on, an informal lunch or company get together can be organized where they can get the chance to chat and learn more about each other and how they can function as a team. This helps increase work efficiency as rapport is built and everyone is able to understand what is expected of them and how to remain accountable.

Avoiding stereotypical thinking

Do not let any generalized assumptions you have of a particular generation impact how you interact and onboard your new hire. Nothing kills a new employee’s motivation like generalizing their behaviour patterns, thoughts, and opinions. Stereotypes could be positive e.g. All millennials are quick learners and hence do not need much training, or they could be negative; Most Gen z have a tendency toward laziness. Regardless of whether or not they are positive, it is important to treat each employee as an individual. Get to learn them, their likes, dislikes and how they take on their work as uniquely. This not only motivates them but sends the message that you value their unique capabilities.

Creating an amazing onboarding journey for your entry-level talent not only saves you the time and money it would take to replace them if not done correctly but is also an investment into the future of the company. Understanding your employee’s top talents, helping them achieve their goals and supporting them in their career growth journey gives you productive, loyal and resilient employees in the long run.

Author : Abed Naima

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