Given the increasingly challenging times that most Australian businesses are finding themselves in, many would argue that now is not the time to be investing in new HR programs, especially those that are not seen as essential.  However, many of these same businesses are also finding that their workforce is beginning to look like a microcosm of Australia’s population – that is, aging, and fast.  As such, organisations big and small, are finding that it’s time to invest in new programs to redress their age imbalance – and what better program to do this with than a Graduate Program.

Organisations who haven’t had a Graduate Program before may not realise just how many benefits they can provide: graduates bring fresh ideas, bountiful enthusiasm, and let’s face it – they’re cheap.  But if you’re seriously thinking of starting a Graduate Program in your organisation, how do you convince senior management that it’s worth it? What basic plans do you need to put in place to show that it can work? The best way to prove the worth of a Graduate Program is by putting together a robust business case, which can be done like so:

Be specific about your organisation’s ROI

Although the only return on investment that many organisations expect from graduates is the fact that they are, at least for a few years, cheap local labour, it is advisable to be more precise than this when building a business case for a program.  Questions to answer in your business case that will show that a Graduate Program indeed has a positive ROI include:

  • Will the salary savings from having graduates far outweigh the costs of training?
  • What value can the graduates add from an innovation perspective?
  • Will graduates be able to travel/relocate more easily?
  • Will our current leadership team be able to benefit from reverse mentoring?

In a nutshell, if you can show that the Graduate Program may indeed save your organisation money in the long run, through innovation, ease of travel/relocation for its incumbents, and by providing a benefit to your current employees/managers, it will be seen as far more worthwhile for your organisation.

 

Show that you have a recruitment plan

Even if you can show that your Graduate Program is a worthwhile investment, senior management will definitely want to know that you can execute it if it goes ahead! So as part of your Graduate Program business plan, it is important to show that you at least have a handle on graduate recruitment.

Graduate recruitment can be very different from experienced hire recruitment in that it is often done on a volume basis, and organisations are usually required to advertise on specific job boards, for example gradconnection.com or graduateopportunities.com, in order to reach students.  Graduates are also hired approximately a year before they graduate, so if you want to attract the best graduates, it is best to advertise well in advance of when they will actually finish their courses.  These, and many other factors need to be considered when putting together a graduate recruitment plan.  

Nail the training plan

Finally, it is one thing to attract graduates, but another altogether to seamlessly integrate them into your organisation, and provide them with the training they need.  A good Graduate Program business case will always include a basic plan for graduate training, including an Induction, soft skills training, on-the-job training, and technical training when required.  When devising a plan for training, it is of paramount importance that you tailor both the training, and the delivery medium, to the needs of the graduates, and use an innovative platform such as the one by Teazl to get the best results.  

So, if your organisation is, like most, dominated by an aging workforce, be sure to start putting together your Graduate Program business case ASAP to reap the maximum benefits of young, enthusiastic, and innovative new graduates.  

Author: Janine Cahill

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