When students graduate, the supporting environment they’re used to often disappears, only to be replaced by economic and social pressures of the real working world. How do we as employers help them to keep the dream alive?


1. Stop big company bureaucracy

 If you run a larger, longstanding company, you may have set up a number of rules along the way. More often than not these rules and regulations will appear to be set in stone, which can dishearten employees. From team meetings to AGM’s, it’s important to encourage your staff to have a voice. If they don’t think certain ideas are working, listen to them.

2. Ensure your graduates are working on projects they enjoy

Although new to the workforce, graduates should not be lumbered with the paperwork alone. In order to blossom, grow and learn new skills, it’s imperative you ensure new staff enjoy what they are doing. Working on projects they are extremely interested in will help the company, as they’re bound to push themselves harder, as they will want to see the finished product as much as you will.

3. Discuss future growth and career goals

 Whether you meet monthly, quarterly or yearly, it’s important to discuss your employees’ career development. Asking them where they want to be in five years and how they expect to get there is a good start. Companies should be doing their all to engage with their staff about their future. Annual performance reviews are a great way to let your staff know how they are doing, what they are excelling in and areas they need to focus on. Congratulating employees on certain successes is a must if you wish to retain them too.

4. Make HR visible

Increasing HR presence ‘out in the business’ is another engagement must-have if you wish to retain existing employees. Embracing deceptively simple communication methods like marker boards in communal areas is one way to do this.

 To retain graduate talent, you must ensure your employees are happy; if you wish to do this without causing confrontation to others – ask for anonymous feedback. If something is troubling your staff, they may be reluctant to speak out. However, if you allow them to voice their opinions anonymously, you can come up with solutions to solve any underlying issues. Other ways to keep your employees happy include offering them a bonus. According to Career Builder, IT workers are in line for the biggest bonuses with 29% of employers in the sector saying they are giving superior bonuses when compared to 12 months ago. If you want to hang on to your graduate talent, you’d be wise to follow suit.

5. Time

 New graduates may take a little time to learn the ropes of working in the real world and this is perfectly acceptable. The worst thing you can do is rush your employees, which is why it’s important to give them enough time to deliver projects and deadlines.

6. Provide a mentor

 If a new graduate gets stuck, it’s important someone is there to answer his or her questions. Appointing them a mentor (preferably someone that was once in their shoes) is a great option. Instead of struggling with a task and walking out the door, they can learn from those experienced in the field.

7. Lack of open-mindedness

 If your company has a set vision or strategy in mind, it may be a good idea to loosen the reins on this. All employees have a voice and if they’re unable to use it, it’s likely they’ll move on pretty quickly. Listening to other people’s points of view and being a team player is a must in the working world, regardless of what level you’re at.

8. Promote a great team

 More often than not, skilled graduates want to be surrounded by other skilled graduates. Don’t employ individuals for the sake of it; employ them because they’re good at their job – if not, you may lose talented members of staff quite simply because they’re not surrounded by talented colleagues.

9. Be exciting

 No one wants to work in a mundane office. Having a vision (an exciting vision) is a great way to hold on to your graduate employees. If they’re excited to come to work, they’ll never want to leave.

10. Offer training and promotions

 Graduates want to grow. They didn’t spend years at University to walk into a dead-end job. By offering training and promotions, you will find you’ll be able to retain your staff much longer. They’ll not only be adding to their skill base, but your company’s too. From out-of-hours courses to webinars and lunch and learns, there are a number of ways to show your staff you want them to excel in their field. Offering employers a wage increase will only make them work harder in their field. With UK workers set to receive a wage increase of 2.3% next year, the highest since 2008, it’s important to ensure your company is offering such an increase. If not, graduates will likely hunt for other companies that are.