If executed correctly, your Graduate Program has the potential to be the cornerstone of your talent pipeline – an unparalleled opportunity to mould young and enthusiastic talent seamlessly into your organisation.  If executed incorrectly, however, the program can waste valuable resources, and can also damage employee engagement, as well as your organisation’s employment brand, for years to come.  So how do you know if your Graduate Program is the former, or the latter? Here are 4 tell-tale signs that it’s the latter, and that you need to act quickly to rescue it:

You have a heavy reliance on Instructor Led Training (ILT) or boring E-learning

There is little doubt that your graduates, who are Generation Y, if not Generation Z, are extremely technologically savvy.  But does being technologically savvy mean you want 3 hour linear E-learning modules? Absolutely not. Research shows that organisations must make a near never-ending effort to keep Gen Y engaged in learning, and must be constantly reinventing their training repertoire to include experiential, blended learning solutions – just like the ones offered by Teazl.   Gen Y are best engaged with visual imagery, creative thinking, social learning, and engaging, gamified activities, so if your Graduate Program is relying on ILT or boring E-learning – there’s a high likelihood your program will be failing.  

Your turnover is too high

Although Generation Y graduates have been labelled a ‘generation of quitters’,  most graduates these days realise that, even if they don’t love their role or organisation, they should at least stick it out for a couple of years.  They also realise that if they don’t stick it out with their current organisation, that with youth unemployment at an all-time high, their chances of finding another role are fairly slim.  So, if even after these two realisations, your Graduate Program still has a high turnover, it is definitely time to make some changes.  

Your Managers don’t have time for the graduates

Regardless of what learning methodology you subscribe to, there is no doubt that any Graduate Program should include a substantial amount of on-the-job training.  And although many individuals should be involved in that training, from the graduate’s mentor and buddy, to their immediate team members and other subject matter experts, there really is no replacement for the help, guidance and wisdom that the graduate’s (Line) Manager can provide.  The Line Managers in your organisation should endeavour to be available to their graduate as frequently as possible, and should actively seek feedback from them on how things are going.  If the managers in your organisation aren’t doing this, it’s a sure fire sign that your program is failing, as your graduates will be lacking direction and leadership.

Your graduates aren’t getting promoted

Most organisations recruit graduates for the express purpose of organically growing future leaders.  Even if that isn’t the ultimate goal for your organisation (although it should be), Generation Y are notorious for wanting to get promoted faster than any previous generation, and are unlikely to hang around in an entry level role for years on end.  So if your graduates aren’t getting promoted beyond the role they entered into after 2 or 3 years, you will know that your program will be doomed to fail as you will either start to lose your best graduates, or your leadership development objective will not have been met.

Remember – a sign of a healthy Graduate Program is one that incorporates engaging online and blended learning, has a relatively low turnover rate, is supported by your Line Managers, and sees graduates promoted ASAP.

Author: Janine Cahill

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